Sun's Project Kitty Hawk sails

Sun Microsystems is developing SOA (service-oriented architecture) technology being called "Project Kitty Hawk," Sun officials said at the 2004 JavaOne conference here on Monday.

The effort will involve enhancing the basic Sun Java Enterprise System server-based middleware platform to more seamlessly integrate Web services into SOAs, according to Jonathan Schwartz, president and COO of Sun. SOAs generally involve loosely coupling applications and data through the use of Web services, allowing for easily modifiable IT architectures.

Project Kitty Hawk will be delivered during an 18-month time period, beginning with a professional services component being unveiled Monday, said John Loiacono, Sun executive vice president for software. Called SOA Readiness Assessment, the professional services offering involves assessing where a customer stands with SOA technology and needs to go to accommodate it, according to Loiacono.

The SOA effort will come to fruition in the timeframe of the fourth release of Java Enterprise System, according to Sun. Java Enterprise System currently is in its second release. Also part of Kitty Hawk is Sun Java Studio Creator, which a new visual development for Java released on Monday, the Java Studio Enterprise developer tool, and a visual Web services designer.

As part of Kitty Hawk, Java Enterprise System is intended to simplify administration, management, security, and provisioning of services in an SOA. For example, a Java Enterprise System registry will provide centralized control of services, versioning, metadata management, services registration, and lookup, according to Sun. Featured components in Java Enterprise System are identity services, Web and application services, portal, communication and collaboration, availability services, and security.

Business integration infrastructure will be featured in Kitty Hawk through Java Business Integration, which is technology based on Java Specification Request 208, for providing standardized integration capabilities.

Also at JavaOne on Monday, Sun officials attempted to explain how the company can make money off of its ubiquitous Java technology and defended Sun's decision to not join the Eclipse open source tools initiative.

By enabling the proliferation of Java-based smartphones, for example, Sun has an opportunity to sell high-scale network infrastructure to carriers, Schwartz said. Presumably, this would mean Sun hardware such as its servers, although Schwartz was not specific about which infrastructure products Sun could sell to the carriers.

Schwartz also defended Sun's decision to not join Eclipse. Eclipse, he contended, is not as open as it has been portrayed, saying it has risks. "You write to SWT (Standard Widget Toolkit in Eclipse). Guess what? It doesn't run on a Mac," Schwartz said.

But analyst Rikki Kirzner, research director at IDC, downplayed this notion. "It's not as much of a problem as you guys are making it out to be," with conversion routines available for SWT, she said.

Schwartz also stressed that the open source paradigm for software is not applicable in all situations. "There is no one hammer for all nails," Schwartz said. Not everyone wants open source, he said.

Sun will be offering its Solaris OS and 3D interface technology, Project Looking Glass, under an open source paradigm. But the company has resisted calls to offer Java under open source, citing concerns about maintaining compatability.

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