A Joint Advisory Committee
The two companies have also established a joint advisory committee of 10 shared large customers, which have given them a list of their needs in an order of priority, and single sign-on was at the top of that list. Other items that made the list included thin client access, certifying storage environments and manageability, McNealy said.Solaris and Windows have clearly emerged as "the two survivor and leading operating systems, though Im not quite sure whos in third place long-term," he said, adding that the operating system is essential as it touches everything. "We are not limiting choice, we are creating substitutionabilty and interoperability between them, and growing them," he said. So as to provide an enterprise customer perspective, Fred Killeen, the director of Systems Development and chief technology officer for General Motors Information Systems & Services, took the stage. He welcomed the moves toward cross-domain Web single sign-on, saying that "we expect it to help reduce complexity and cost for us, and we are going to look at how to implement this going forward and take full advantage of it." GM has more than a million users across the world and a very large installed base, so it is critical to bring the two technology sides that Microsoft and Sun provides together. "We are developing a proof on concept and a Microsoft desktop that will authenticate to Active Directory but then allow single sign-on to our Sun portal world, he said. Then, in a demo of cross-domain single sign-on at work, which the presenters dubbed "the most boring security demo you may ever see," following Ballmers earlier lead, they showed how identity solutions can be used together to provide browser-based and cross sign-on authentication. Later this year Microsoft will also allow federation, which lets companies to protect their data across the Internet to its partners and customers without them having to provide a different user sign-on and password across different platforms. McNealy also took several swipes at competitor IBM, in particular its global services division and its legacy mainframe computers, implying it was devolving into an "us against them" scenario and quipping, "anything but IBM Global Services." Next Page: Support from partners.
Looking ahead, moving this Services Oriented Architecture will be the next challenge, he said, pointing out that operating systems are critical.