Users Shrug Off Suns Move to WebLogic

Vendor affirms its commitment to Sun ONE, despite plan to bundle application server with Solaris 9.

Sun Microsystems Inc. is adamant that its decision to bundle BEA Systems Inc.s BEA WebLogic application server with Solaris 9 in no way signals a lack of commitment to its Sun ONE Application Server.

Some analysts and IT managers seem to agree.

At TransCanada PipeLines Ltd., IT managers are piloting Sun ONE Application Server 7 to run a suite of gas management applications developed internally. IT managers there said Suns move to bundle an evaluation version of WebLogic into Solaris 9 will not deter their decision to put the newest Sun ONE Application Server into production later this year.

"With the platform edition being part of the [operating system] and the application server [underpinning] the portal and identity servers, I have no reason to be concerned that Sun will stop development of its own application server," said Liza Yuen, manager of application engineering and innovation at TransCanada, in Calgary, Alberta. "It actually benefits us because Suns application server has to be in compliance with [the Java 2 Enterprise Edition] specification in order to stay competitive."

Last month, Sun announced plans to ship the Open Net Environment application server with Solaris 9, along with an evaluation version of BEAs WebLogic 7.0 with the Solaris 9 system administrators kit.

Suns move came as its application server market share had leveled out well behind BEAs and IBMs. In the $2 billion market for application servers, or the technology that runs e-business and Web site transactions, Sun had a 9 percent share in 2001, according to Gartner Dataquest, in San Jose, Calif.

"The Sun ONE Application Server is one of the primary components of our Sun ONE platform," said a spokeswoman at Sun, in Santa Clara, Calif. "Since we have always promoted Sun ONE as an integratable platform, this deal with BEA is consistent with our strategy to provide customers with choice."

In the increasingly competitive application server market, clearly defining its relationship with BEA was something Sun needed to do, said Jonathan Rymer, an analyst with Giga Information Group Inc., also in Santa Clara. For some customers, however, that relationship was already clear. TransCanada actually switched from WebLogic a year ago to Suns application server. Today, the company is a Sun ONE shop and is committed to the product line, TransCanadas Yuen said.

"We have about 80 percent of their product within our stack, and whether they bundle with BEA or not will not make a difference in our direction with Sun ONE," Yuen said. "We own Sun ONE Application Server licenses."

Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached at