Sun: RFID Deal with SeeBeyond Puts It Way Ahead

Sun Microsystems officials say a retail reference architecture being co-developed with SeeBeyond puts the company far ahead of IBM, HP and Microsoft in the retail RFID race.

As part of an anticipated string of RFID pacts, Sun Microsystems has begun working with SeeBeyond on an RFID middleware solution targeted at the retail market—an industry long a strong suit for Sun archrival IBM.

The upcoming retail solution is one of several RFID (radio frequency identification) reference architectures that Sun is eyeing for vertical and horizontal markets, Roger Nolan, senior director of Web services integration at Sun Microsystems Inc., said in an interview with

"Sun will also be teaming up with many other partners on [the RFID reference architectures]," Nolan said.

Known so far only as Suns "joint RFID solution," the co-created retail reference architecture will be implemented among retail stores by Sun and SeeBeyond, as well as by SeeBeyonds third-party SI (systems integration) allies. SeeBeyond Technology Corp. and some of its outside SIs are highly experienced in retail deployments, Nolan said.

Like other reference architectures under way at Sun, the new solution complies with emerging EPC standards from the EPCglobal group, Nolan said. The EPC specs are being implemented by retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target and Albertsons as well as by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The retail solution will combine Suns directory management and identity management services with SeeBeyonds capabilities in areas ranging from BPM (business process management) to back-end Web services integration.

"More and more all the time, RFID is about identity management," Nolan told

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