Sun extends Solaris to ISPs

Company also announces partnership with Lucent Technologies and Sun Internet Mail Server 3.5 and Sun Internet Calendar Server

By Stephanie Steenbergen

June  1998
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San Francisco (June 10, 1998) -- Rounding out the commitment Sun made two years ago to sell four modular extensions for Solaris, Sun yesterday announced Solaris for ISPs. The company has also inked a new service agreement deal with Lucent Technologies.

Solaris for ISPs is a tailored version of Solaris that Sun says will lower administration costs for ISPs and allow the ISPs to go after what they really want -- more money.

The Solaris for ISPs server software includes: Sun Internet Administrator, which allows for remote administration; Sun Internet Services Monitor, which is supposed to identify problems before users notice them; specialized ISP services such as Sun WebServer 2.0, Sun Internet News Server, and Sun Internet FTP server; and a browser-based control console. Sun also says the product will have "hardened" security.

Remy Malan, director of marketing for the business services group at Sun, explains what Sun means by "hardened" security: He compares corporations with intranets heavily buttressed by firewalls to being in the suburbs with white picket fences. "There are no hostile intrusions," he says. "Comparatively ISP servers are in the alley with the broken lights and spray painted graffitti on the walls. Most ISP servers are located outside their firewall." Malan says he's learned from ISPs that they have about a five-minute grace period when they introduce a new server before it becomes attacked, and the security Sun offers for ISPs is designed to help manage servers in this type of hostile environment.

Solaris for ISPs is the fourth piece of a decision Sun made in June 1996 to create modular extensions for Solaris. In August 1997, Sun announced Solaris for Intranets. In November 1997, Sun released Solaris for the Enterprise, which is a data center version of Solaris. Desktop Solaris was considered the first component.

Will Sun continue this trend and develop more specially customized versions of Solaris? Malan will not give specifics, but he says Sun will be "taking bundles we have and leveraging them." He says to expect "more cool stuff" in this area in the future.

A Lucent bundle
In a related deal, Lucent Technologies announced an alliance with Sun to offer an ISP service bundle. Sun and Lucent want to "reduce the complexity of delivering services," says Lucent president, Carly Fiorina.

The Sun/Lucent ISP bundle is custom configured, and prices are based on the needs of the ISP. Included in the ISP bundle are a Lucent-managed firewall and Solaris-based applications from Sun, including, Sun Internet Mail Server, Sun Internet Calendar Server, Sun Internet News Server, and Sun Internet FTP Server.

Sun Internet Mail Server 3.5 and Sun Internet Calendar Server are new products Sun also introduced yesterday. Sun Internet Mail Server 3.5 supports up to one million mailboxes per server, offers enhanced security and anti-spam capabilities, and works with mail clients including Microsoft Exchange and proprietary messaging systems like PROFS, cc:Mail, and MS Mail.

Sun Internet Calendar Server for group calendaring and scheduling is based on iCalendar standards from the Internet Engineering Task Force, and its multi-threaded architecture allows for more users per server. It can be accessed from any Internet-standard browser.

The ISP perspective
David Beckemeyer, vice president of engineering at an ISP called Earthlink Network Inc., says Earthlink is "rather conservative about IS upgrades," but the company currently uses Solaris and plans to upgrade to Solaris for ISPs.

Beckemeyer specifically likes Solaris because he is able to "modularize the OS by deciding which parts we don't need." He says other platforms don't allow for that, and Sun is quick to offer official patches for bugs he encounters.

Solaris for ISPs 1.0 will be offered in July starting at $5,995. Malan says customers who purchase Solaris for ISPs receive only one of the specialized server products offered (Sun WebServer 2.0, Sun Internet News Server, or Sun Internet FTP Server). Additional services can be ordered a la carte starting at $595.


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