Network Computing at Heart of New Sun Wares

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2003-12-03

Network Computing at Heart of New Sun Wares

At its fourth quarterly SunNetwork 2003 Conference in Berlin, Sun Microsystems Inc. announced more than 20 new products and technologies to an audience of more than 5,000 European customers and 200 partners.

"Were jazzed up this is going to be a big event for us. Were going to have 6,000 people here, and it will be the largest SunNetwork Conference yet," said Mark Tolliver, Suns chief strategy officer and executive vice president.

The Unix systems maker made a slew of hardware and software announcements, further establishing its image as a systems company.

"Were in the metal-wrapped software business," Tolliver said. "It is all about network computing. We dont do any products that dont fall directly into the concept of network computing."

Among its key new product announcements, Sun announced an early test cycle for the technology it has up to now called Project Rave, an easy-to-use tool for creating Java applications. At the conference, Sun announced a new name for the technology, Java Studio Creator, and also announced the launch of the technical preview of the product. Java Studio Creator is targeted as an alternative to Microsoft Corp.s Visual Basic .Net for corporate developers.

Joe Keller, vice president of Java Web services and tools at Sun, said Sun has set up a Web site for developers to go to and register for the technical preview to be able to test the product and offer feedback to Sun.

"Weve targeted general availability for the summer of 2004, and well probably have a couple more early access releases between now and then," he said.

Sun also announced Java Web Services Developer Pack 1.3, which includes technologies that enable Java developers to build Web services that comply with the various specifications from standards bodies and supports Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) 1.4.

In addition, Sun announced an early access program for Sun Studio 8, its latest version of the integrated development environment (IDE) for Solaris developers building C, C++ and FORTRAN applications, Keller said.

"Version 8 is a new version of the Sun Studio tool based on NetBeans," Suns open-source development framework, Keller said.

Sun also announced the shipment of Sun Java Studio Standard 5 Update 1. Keller said the IDE has been synched with the Sun Java Enterprise System.

"It has been released and shipped as an IDE-only product and can be purchased as an addition or bought separately," Keller said. Java Studio 5 Update 1 includes the Java System Application Framework, formerly known by the code name JATO, Keller said.

Next page: Suns NetBeans plans.

NetBeans Future

Sun at the conference gave a preview of the future direction of NetBeans. The company announced NetBeans 3.5 over the summer and plans to deliver NetBeans 3.6 in the first half of 2004 and NetBeans 4.0 in the second half, Keller said. NetBeans 3.6 will include a revamped user interface, and NetBeans 4.0 will include new developer-focused enhancements such as support for refactoring and code folding, he said.

Keller added that the popularity of NetBeans continues to grow, claiming that developers have made 1.3 million downloads of the technology in 120 days since midsummer.

"We have an interesting portfolio of products being announced," Tolliver said, noting that Sun has new hardware announcements featuring Advanced Micro Devices Inc. technology and other things.

"We will continue to drive our low-cost grid computing message," Tolliver said.

Sun announced its Sun Fire B100x, a single-processor, x86 blade server based on the AMD Mobile Athlon XP 1800 processor. Sun will also deliver high-performance x86 systems in its Sun Fire V65x and V60x systems that will use Intel Corp.s Xeon 3.2GHz processors and early next year, Sun will ship new systems based on AMDs Opteron processors, the company said.

"We have a couple of servers coming out to appeal to our largest industry segment, the telecommunications industry," Tolliver said.

Sun also announced its new Netra 240 server and its Netra CT820 server running Solaris and UltraSPARC technology and targeting the telecommunications market.

Sun also announced some high performance visualization and technical computing solutions, including the Sun Blade 2500 workstation, the Sun Fire Visualization Grid System, the Sun XVR-600 graphics accelerator card and the SX1500 and SX2500 boards.

And Sun announced new reference architectures, including the Secure Web Server Reference Architecture, Enhanced Communications Services Reference Architecture, and Web Applications Firewall Reference Architecture.

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For more on Suns hardware announcements, read "Sun Serves Another Round of Low-End Servers."

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