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Sun Closing on High-Availability App Sever, Missing J2EE 1.4.

By Gavin Clarke

Sun Microsystems Inc hopes to get an edge over application server rivals next month, with an enterprise-level product the company claims can scale into hundreds of CPUs.

The long-awaited Sun One Application Server 7, Enterprise Edition will launch at September's Networks event following a major overhaul of the former iPlanet application server, integrating multiple code bases and achieving high-availability.

However, the launch comes as the company's plans for an application server based on the soon-to-be completed Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) 1.4 have slipped into 2004, from the end of 2003. Like Sun One Application Server 7, Platform and Standard Editions, Enterprise Edition is based on the existing J2EE 1.3 specification.

Joe Keller, Sun vice president of Java web services marketing, said yesterday Sun would start "productizing" J2EE 1.4 after the specification's expected final publication this fall. "Next year the 8.0 series will rollout," he said.

In February this year, though, the company had promised a J2EE 1.4-compliant application server and application development tools by the 2003. A factor in the delay is believed to be the knock-on effects of a hold-up to the J2EE 1.4 specification.

J2EE 1.4 hit a delay because it was put in lock-step with the Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) organization's Basic Profile 1.0. The Basic Profile was delayed from June to August after an early implementation was sent back to the working group, after it was vetoed by an unnamed WS-I board member.

Keller promised, though, Sun would be first-to market with a J2EE 1.4-compliant application server thanks to the makeover of the application server product's code base. "We have the application server in such as way, we just have to turn the crank," Keller said.

Sun is not the only J2EE vendor preparing an imminent major product launch rather than hold off until J2EE 1.4 is completed later this year. The next edition of Oracle Corp's application server, also due in September, will use J2EE 1.3.

Instead, Sun hopes to gain an edge on companies like Oracle through integration of software from Clustra Systems Inc, a specialist in clustered high-availability databases acquired by Sun last year. Keller claimed the Enterprise Edition of Sun's application server could scale to "hundreds of CPUs".

Keller added integration of Clustra in a high-availability architecture formed a part of Sun's attempt to distinguish itself from rivals, in a market regarded as commoditized and dominated by BEA Systems Inc and IBM Corp. The integrated Culstra's technology has been re-named High Availability Database (HADB).

The Enterprise Edition version follows Platform and Standard Edition's, already available, providing web server, simple installation and Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) 1.3 compliance.

Sun's application server strategy is to sell customers a modular architecture based on the official J2EE Reference Implementation (RI), so customers can theoretically move J2EE-compliant applications up from Platform via Standard and onto Enterprise Edition as they grow. By being aligned closely to the official J2EE RI, Sun believes it can also attract those downloading Java code for the first time.

Keller claimed Sun has won customers from BEA, for example, which he said had only wanted a web server but were sold a full application server product instead.

Sun One Application Server 7, Enterprise Edition will be priced $10,000 per CPU and will initially be launched for Sun's Sparc Solaris paltform.
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Title Annotation:Sun One Application Server 7, Enterprise Edition
Publication:Computergram International
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 26, 2003
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