Sun Rolls Out New Network Computing Systems

Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's executive vice president of software, says new systems will move away from the complexity of the server.

SAN FRANCISCO—There are massive and epic changes taking place at Sun Microsystems Inc., underscored Tuesday by the companys announcement that it had consolidated 225 of its products into just six new systems in the Sun Java System family, Jonathan Schwartz, Suns executive vice president of software, said on Tuesday.

In his keynote here at the Sun Network conference on Tuesday, Schwartz told the hundreds of delegates that the six new systems announced today will move away from the complexity of the server.

As reported by eWEEK earlier, the six new systems are the Sun Java Enterprise System, formerly known as Project Orion; the Sun Java Desktop System, formerly known as Project Mad Hatter; Java Studio, designed for developers; Sun Java Mobility System; the Sun Java Card System; and Sun N1 for dynamic and utility computing, which retains its name and branding.

Schwartz said that the current software delivery, pricing and licensing industry models posed a customer nightmare, but that Project Orion will change all of this. It will be open and integrateable, with updates shipping once a quarter on a single DVD.

"This is a radical simplification in how we deliver software as you will receive just one DVD. Simplicity yields quality, and quality enhances security. You will now have more quality and safer systems," he said.

Pricing for the Java Enterprise System will be $100-per-employee-per-year, based on figures reported to the SEC. "Why did we take the $100 number? Because even I can do the math in my head," Schwartz quipped.

The $100 cost includes some assistance in migration, training and support. "The landmark change that we will make in software is the notion of infinite customers, and the services can be deployed to all their customers at no additional charge," Schwartz said.

Sun is targeting "companies who are moving toward shared network services, and that includes the entire planet. Enterprises like Starbucks Coffee, General Motors, Target and General Electric are already all using Java card technology.

"Starbucks has 11 million card holders who store $24 on each card on average a month. The card also gets you through the line 4 seconds faster and allows Starbucks to track your preferences anonymously," Schwartz said.

Mark Dickelman, the CTO of Bank Ones Anexsys business unit, also took the stage, telling the audience that its customers are looking for high-security systems. Bank One processes about $800 billion worth of commerce transactions a year, and its systems run on Trusted Solaris. "We want to provide business solutions over the Internet that eliminate complexity for our customers," he said.

Turning to Suns Java Desktop System, or Mad Hatter, Schwartz said this is an efficient, low-cost and effective replacement to Microsofts Windows desktop solution. "We are completely interoperable, and the user interface is familiar as are the commands and functions.

Giving a demonstration of the interoperability and familiarity of the desktop, Schwartz said customers want a familiar and engaging and functional desktop. "Were talking about interoperability where everything is open to you. You can use Microsoft PowerPoint as a default file format. The number of things you can do is pretty startling," he said.

By being authenticated to the network, anonymity is removed and people are less likely to be mischievous. "Anonymity breeds mischief," he said.

The Sun Java Desktop System, at $100 per user per year, costs between 60 and 80 percent less than the $719 cost for a similar Microsoft offering, said Schwartz. "Is this price compelling? I think so. If you are price and security insensitive, then this is not the product for you," he said.

Sun partner, Kim Stevenson of EDS, told the audience that worker needs have changed and that the software and services delivered on the desktop needs to be targeted to that. "There are hundreds of millions of desktops that are over-provisioned and over-complex and not in tune with the needs of their users," she said.

Turning to the intellectual property controversy swirling around Linux and open source and the $3 billion lawsuit The SCO Group has filed against IBM, Schwartz said the largest patent litigator in the world [IBM] would not indemnify its customers and the products it delivered.

"The IT industry needs to stand behind the products it delivers and indemnify its customers. We do, all the way. You should hold every one of your IT suppliers to this standard. We indemnify our customers," said Schartz.

In conclusion, Schwartz said Sun has redefined the software industry and reignited the desktop. "Innovation is certainly possible and most certainly on the desktop. With technology like StarOffice 7.0 and the outstanding interoperability of our systems, we are changing the way we deliver the desktop to you and how you use it. And the best of all is that all this technology is built on Java," he said.

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