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Haven't heard about Sun's new JavaNFS and "Project Studio?" We give you the newly-revealed details...

Sun also hints at Java WorkShop licensing deal with a major competitor and RDI and Axil preview new products -- all at the Sun User Group West conference

March  1997
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San Francisco (March 10, 1997) -- Though last week's SUG West (Sun User Group) conference failed to attract as many attendees as anticipated, the show did have much to offer Sun enthusiasts including some new and cool products, a sneak peak at Sun's new Rapid Application Development (RAD) Java devlopment environment, a roadmap for the Network File System (NFS) protocol, and a few details on version 2.6 of Solaris (see our news story "Solaris 2.6 disclosure: We've got the goods on the new features.") If you couldn't make the show, here are a few of the highlights.

Sun readying JavaNFS
Sun now says it plans to have its NFS remote file access protocol in the upcoming version 1.2 of the Java Developers Kit (JDK) -- a technology SunSoft staff engineer Brent Callaghan calls it "JavaNFS." NFS for Java is a logical play, since Sun's new JavaStations are predicated on the idea of remote file access. Callaghan adds that Sun sees JDK licensing "as a vehicle for rapid deployment of NFS technology." Indeed, NFS support within Java's File class, combined with Netscape's recent decision to support WebNFS (the Internet-enabled version of NFS) in its client software (see our January 1997 news story), stands to make the protocol ubiquitous.

Callaghan says that WebNFS will evolve into NFS V.4, which should begin to make its way through the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standardization process this year. NFS V.4 will include such features as security negotiation, Unicode support, integrated file locking, and improved cross-platform support.

(WebNFS was the focus of Rawn Shah's August 1996 SunWorld Connectivity column,

Sun lets visual Java technology out of Studio
Hidden at the very back of the SUG West show floor was a demo version of Sun's Java Rapid Application Development (RAD) product, code-named Project Studio. The demo, apparently copied directly from a Sun engineer's desktop, featured a number of JavaBeans components, including a data feed, a splitter, a 2D and 3D grapher, and a 3D delta grapher. Applications are created with Studio by dragging and dropping components onto a palate and connecting them together like a flow chart. The demo could switch between development environment and the actual application seamlessly.

Since the recently-released JDK 1.1 was the first to support JavaBeans, there are currently few components available for Studio, but SunSoft's developer products vice president, Larry Weber says his group will "be aggressively recruiting third-party developers to create Beans components." Weber points out that applications created with Studio could be, themselves, JavaBeans components.

Studio will get its official product launch in the "near future," according to Weber, meaning within a month or two. The product is expected to ship sometime this summer with what Weber calls "a rich starter set" of JavaBeans components, including some third-party software. Database access, standard GUI and calculation engines, chat, whiteboard, audio, video, charting, graphing, and spreadsheet components are planned.

During his SUG West keynote, Weber hinted that "one of Sun's classical competitors will be announcing they have licensed Java WorkShop." SunWorld has learned that Hewlett-Packard will announce that it is licensing SunSoft's Java WorkShop at Internet World in Los Angeles this Wednesday.

The HP edition of Java WorkShop will allow the development and deployment of Java-based business applications on HP 9000 Enterprise workstations and servers and HP's Windows NT-based systems. HP already offers the Java Virtual Machine and JDK (Java Development Kit) and is currently enhancing both for the HP-UX operating system. The HP edition of Java WorkShop will sell for $99 per user license and is expected to ship in the second quarter this year.


EIS among first to ship Sun Microelectronics motherboard
EIS Computers Inc. was showing off its soon-to-ship Fusion Web server hardware, which it hopes to sell to those looking to run Solaris on low-cost boxes without going to Solaris X86. The machine on the show floor featured a brand-new, Sun Microelectronics-manufactured motherboard, with a 170-megahertz Ultra 1 CPU, 512-kilobyte cache, and 64 megabytes of DRAM. Fusion will ship in April for $6,800, which includes an EIDE 12x CD-ROM and 2.5-gigabyte hard drive and a Viewsonic V17GS Monitor. A 250-megahertz UltraSPARC II version will also ship in April, but EIS did not yet have pricing. EIS says Sun was just beginning its first production run of these motherboards the week of the show.

EIS computers is located at:

PowerLite to MAX drive capacity
SPARC laptop vendor RDI Computer Corporation says its PowerLite line of SPARC laptops will soon feature up to 21.8 gigabytes of hard disk storage, thanks to a new expansion unit called MAX (Maximum Peripheral Expansion Unit). MAX lets you add up to two 9.1-gigabyte hard drives to PowerLite's 3.6-gigabyte available hard disk capacity.

The MAX unit snaps snugly onto the bottom of the laptop, but RDI may want to consider renaming its product line. Weighing 7.4 pounds, MAX brings the total weight of a PowerLite unit to a hefty 15 pounds. MAX pricing varies from $4,000 for the empty unit to $16,000 for MAX with two 9.1-gigabyte drives. It will ship in April.

RDI is located at:

Syred to launch new controller
Tauton, MA's Technology Distributors, Inc. was showing off the soon-to-be-announced Syred PrestigePlus RAID controller on the SUG West show floor. Syred, the American spin-off of France's Advanced France Components, says it will launch PrestigePlus at next week's InfoStor'97 conference in San Jose, CA.

With a 100-megahertz Intel 486 processor, Syred claims the controller has been benchmarked at over 7000 IOPS with a 25-megabyte-per-second read and a 20 megabyte-per-second write at RAID 5. It supports RAID 0,1,0+,4, and 5. Syred's CEO, Simon Fridmann says that PrestigePlus's performance comes from tailoring alogrithms to the individual data block sizes rather than using the same algorithm to calculate parity for all blocks. PrestigePlus is available now and lists for $2,100.

Syred is located at:

Axil shipping eight-way NT system
Keynoting at SUG West, Axil Computer Inc. CEO Charles Wilson said his company, best known for its SPARC clones, is about to move into the NT space with a new eight-way Pentium Pro Windows NT server called the Northbridge NX 801. The box will support up to eight 200-megahertz Pentiums and 216 gigabytes of storage. Fully configured, the NX 801 will go for $150,000. It will be available on March 10.

Axil is located at:

The SUG East conference will be held in Boston June 3 and 4, 1997. Look for more information at

--Robert McMillan

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