Sun, e-commerce vendor ATG bolster alliance

Sun Microsystems Inc. and customer management and e-commerce vendor Art Technology Group Inc. (ATG) Wednesday announced a deepening of their partnership from a "co-selling tactical relationship to really a strategic alliance."

The multimillion-dollar global alliance is intended to expand the companies' worldwide sales, marketing, support, and collaborative engineering.

ATG and Sun executives said that the enhanced relationship would provide more comprehensive global support for the companies' 650 mutual customers, including AT&T Corp., Target Corp., General Motors Corp., and Procter & Gamble Co., that run ATG's e-commerce software on the Sun platform.

In addition, ATG and Sun are establishing a joint competency center at ATG's facilities in Cambridge, Mass. The companies expect the center to help customers perform prototyping for scalability, speeding up the time required for implementation.

"Investments such as the competency center enable our implementation partners to be more efficient and take time out of the process for our customers," said Doug Kaewert, vice president of the Sun Developer Network Group, during a conference call announcing the alliance. "Our customers really value understanding the scalability characteristics of our joint solutions."

Kaewert said that a substantial part of the multimillion-dollar investment made by both companies in the alliance will go towards personnel.

"This doesn't replace anybody in either of our organizations," Kaewert said. "This will be an overlay organization that is tightly integrated with our direct and indirect selling activities. We are not specifying how many people, but it is significant."

ATG and Sun also announced that ATG had earned Sun's SunTone Program Certification following "unprecedented benchmark results" for the ATG Dynamo e-Business Platform running on Sun Enterprise 10000 servers.

Scalability tests were designed to encompass fully dynamic personalized e-commerce Web applications producing as many as 582 pages per second or more than 50 million pages per day.

In practice, company executives point to the success of Sony's Web site, which experiences 16 million hits per day.

"Sony exemplifies the importance of the scalability ATG and Sun have achieved both in laboratory and in active business environments," said ATG co-founder and CTO Joe Chung in a statement.

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