Sun Software Chief Has Eye on Web Services

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2002-08-14

Sun Software Chief Has Eye on Web Services

Sun Microsystems Inc.s new head of software this week put his organization into place and is focusing on key markets while promoting Sun as a leader in the Web services arena.

Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president of software at Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun, said Suns software group is focused on three main audiences: system operators, as in IT shops; system "deployers"; and developers.

Schwartz said Sun is poised to take a leadership role in providing a standard platform for Web services and will continue to draw developer and customer support with new Linux offerings and open-source initiatives.

During a conference call this week where he took cue from Suns CEO, Scott McNealy, and took shots at Suns competition, Schwartz focused much of his attention on IBM Corp. and Microsoft Corp.

Schwartz alluded to the application server arena as a rich battleground for developers and singled out IBMs WebSphere for attack.

"For IBM, most of their revenue for WebSphere has been on Solaris," Schwartz said. "We see Microsoft here, but for smaller business."

Schwartz said that at the edge of the Web, Sun will promote a LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) solution to developers. LAMP, a generic open-source solution, is Suns Linux-based solution available on its newly released LX50 Intel-based machines running Linux or Solaris. Schwartz referred to Suns version as Sun LAMP. Apache is an open-source Web server, MySQL is an open-source database and PHP is an open-source language for creating middle-tier HTML applications.

"Our competition is Windows, but it will increasingly suffer from the economic model Linux will promote," Schwartz said.

While Sun will continue to drive large deployments to the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) infrastructure, the company will promote LAMP for less complex applications.

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"J2EE is for complex, distributed transactional applications," Schwartz said. "I dont think youll see a bank running on LAMP."

However, the LAMP opportunity represents even greater potential opportunities for Sun, Schwartz said.

"Every single LAMP application, if it grows to be an enterprise application" will require underlying infrastructure support, such as clustering and systems management and other functionality that Sun will be able to provide and charge for, Schwartz said.

"Were going to continue driving large Sun ONE deployments into the J2EE Web services infrastructure," he said. However, "were going to be driving this notion of LAMP very, very hard. We believe theres going to be a set of companies that will potentially see the impact of open source begin eroding their revenue streams. I think most interesting to me is the success of Postgres [an open-source database] and MySQL in the Linux marketplace. And I dont know why IBM or other database vendors believe that somehow Linux is going to be a discontinuity for everything except their businesses. I think the reality is the Linux and open-source marketplaces are a discontinuity" for the market in general.

Meanwhile, Schwartz said he did not see a problem with Sun being omitted from key Web services standards organizations.

"We will support UDDI (Universal, Description, Discovery and Integration) and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and some of the other basic standards as they emerge, Schwartz said. "I think IBM and Microsoft pairing up together to try to kind of move the world in their direction is not going to be particularly successful. Because even though you believe you have all the standards, if you have no platform through which you can deliver it…I think IBMs going to find themselves ultimately blunted by the marketplace. When a Sun ONE application server is available for free on every one of the systems on which theyve been expecting to harvest a $50,000 CPU, theyre just going to have an uphill battle even if theyve got the latest and greatest UDDI or SOAP. All of those technologies are going to be available to Sun. And given that it looks like they will all be available royalty-free, believe me well be there in force along with the open-source community driving them into the infrastructure.

Schwartzs software organization includes Anil Gadre as vice president of business and marketing operations; John Fowler as CTO; Barbara Gordon, vice president of Sun software sales; Steve Nathan, vice president of customer advocacy and solutions engineering; John Loiacono, vice president of operating platforms; Rich Green, vice president of Java community and Sun ONE tools; Mark Bauhaus, vice president of Sun ONE and Java Web services; Stephen Pelletier, vice president of network identity and communications; Curtis Sasaki, vice president of Sun ONE desktop; Alan Brenner, vice president of Sun ONE devices; Steve Mackay, vice president of N1 and management systems; and David Nelson-Gal, vice president of clustering and availability products.

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