Sun eyes network computing focus

Sun Microsystems at the JavaOne conference in San Francisco in June will focus on Java as a technology for network computing, keying in on the next major release of J2EE and the company's JINI network software, a company official said Wednesday.

The company also revealed that the much-delayed Enterprise Edition of its Sun ONE Application Server 7.0 will ship in Q3.

Sun's Mark Bauhaus, vice president for Java Web Services, on Wednesday offered insights as to what would be focused on at the event, being held June 10-13. Bauhaus spoke during a Sun Web Services "Chalk Talk" session Wednesday with members of the media inSan Francisco. "We'll talk about Java ecosystem and compatibility matters," Bauhaus said.

At JavaOne, the company will stress that "Java and Web services are coming together," he added. "This is good news for all but one company, I think," he said, citing Microsoft and its lack of support of Java.

Sun at JavaOne will announce a new round of beta testing for J2EE 1.4, (Java 2 Enterprise Edition), the next major release of the platform, which focuses on Web services support. J2EE 1.4 will support the Web Services Interoperability Organization's (WS-I) Basic Profile for implementing Web services, said Bauhaus. The Basic Profile is still in development, and no release date has been set for J2EE 1.4.

"What (the Basic Profile) does is create an open implementation of Web services," Bauhaus said. "We'll be the first to market across the industry with Java and Web services together supporting this basic profile," he pledged.

Sun is positioning its Sun ONE Application Server as part of a greater platform for Web services. Sun trails companies such as IBM and BEA Systems in the Java application server market. "The debate has moved from the application server. What's relevant is the complete Web services platform and what it provides and how integrated it is and whether it really is a complete Java Web services platform," said Bauhaus.

Key to Sun's Web services platform is Project Orion, to featureSun's infrastructure products such as the Sun ONE Web Server, Application Server and server management products along with Solaris. Project Orion ships this fall.

Sun ONE Application Server 7.0 Enterprise Edition is due out this fall, adding ease of use and features such as easier failover, according to Bauhaus. The Enterprise Edition is built for mission-critical applications. "We're going to keep driving our application server as being the most standards-compliant, platform-integrated application server in the industry," Bauhaus said.

Version 7.0 of the application server has 50 percent faster performance on SOAP Web service operations than the rival IBM WebSphere application server and eight to 10 times the messaging queuing over IBM, according to Bauhaus. The follow-up application server, Version 8, will feature J2EE 1.4 compliance.

Touting Java's business integration technology, Bauhaus said Sun is eyeing completion of JSR 208 (Java Specification Request), which would add to Java an engine and transformation process. Complementing JSR 208 is JSR 207, which adds transformation tags for developers, Bauhaus said.

"We think there's a big change afoot (with integration). IBM's got a lot to digest. We think that IBM's taking a proprietary route that's going to hurt them and their customers," Bauhaus said.

Specifically, Bauhaus criticized IBM's strategy of adding technologies such as the CrossWorlds supply chain management middleware to WebSphere. "We think the integration world's about to change radically and we think that what IBM is doing is retroactive," Bauhaus said. "They're having to integrate (other technologies) into whatever WebSphere actually is," at an exorbitant price, he said.

Sun at JavaOne will discuss its upcoming Jini 2 technology, which is now available in a beta release and features higher performance, security, ease of use and more tools for developers, Bauhaus said. Version 2 is targeted for release in early-June, a timeframe that coincides with JavaOne.

Jinioriginally was released in 1999 as technology enabling devices such as appliances to communicate over the Internet. This application of the technology, however, has not panned out. Sun is now positioning the technology for network discovery in systems. Jini, according to Bauhaus, is being used for applications such as management of blades in Dell servers and for Web services-based communications between Web services in medical imaging systems.

Sun on Thursday, meanwhile, plans to announce what it calls growing demand for Java-compatible and Java-verified products. According to Sun, 19 Java licensees are shipping J2EE 1.3-compatible products, an increase of 46 percent from January 2002. Companies such as Sun, BEA Systems Inc., Borland Software Corp., IBM Corp., Novell Inc., Oracle Corp. and SAS are offering J2EE 1.3-based technology, Sun said.

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