The latest tidbits on Sun deals and product news
The acquisition of Boulder, CO's Redcape is meant to bolster Sun's StoreEdge product line. Sun plans incorporate Redcape's Java-based automated policy software, which automates storage operations that would otherwise be done manually.
In a statement, Sun's director of Software Marketing, Scott Hansbury, says the combination of Redcape Policy Framework and Sun StorEdge software will make storage management easier by making user- and application-based decisions possible. Sun hopes this will result in reduced overhead, increased efficiency and few errors for its customers.
Sun's acquisition of Dakota Scientific Software (DSS) follows a three-year-long partnership between the two companies. DSS is a supplier of high performance software components for scientific and engineering applications. For Sun, DSS provides the Sun Performance Library which is a part of Sun's Performance WorkShop Fortran product line. Sun hopes the acquisition will improve the Solaris operating environment for high-performance computing applications.
Financial details of both the Redcape and DSS acquisitions have not been disclosed.
On a related note, Sun announced this week that Sun's HPC 10000 Starfire server is the leading installed system in Netlib's top 500 list of the world's most powerful supercomputers.
--Stephanie Steenbergen, SunWorld
Long a seller of Solaris machines running on Sun's SPARC processor, Toshiba will launch its first Intel-based Solaris machines in the fourth quarter of this year. The servers will be marketed under Toshiba's recently launched global brand Magnia, officials said.
Toshiba is the latest vendor to consolidate its Unix server offerings around Sun's Solaris operating system in preparation for the launch of Intel Corp.'s IA-64 architecture -- code named Merced -- expected in 2000.
Earlier this year, vendors including Fujitsu Ltd., NCR Corp. and Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG said they too will unite around Solaris after years of selling machines based on different flavors of the Unix operating system.
"We'll continue to sell SPARC servers to the existing marketplace, and on top of that, we'll introduce Intel-Solaris servers from later this year," a Toshiba official said.
The servers will be optimized for Oracle Corp.'s Oracle8 database, and Toshiba will incorporate homegrown technologies into the servers including DNCWARE, a clustering technology, as well as transaction processing and disk array technologies, officials said.
Following other partners in the Solaris camp, Toshiba will also join Sun's Solaris System Partners Business Council, officials added.
--Rob Guth, IDG News Service
Sun Chief Operating Officer Ed Zander said Sun's UltraSPARC 3, shipping from October of next year, will offer users increased performance before Merced makes it to market. Intel announced late last month that its 64-bit chip would be released in the middle of 2000, about six months later than originally planned.
"I believe we have at least a two to three year advantage over any NT-Merced products," Zander said, referring to Merced-powered servers that will run Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT 5.0 operating system.
Zander, who was speaking at a press conference in Tokyo today, reminded his audience here that Sun is porting its Solaris Unix operating system to the Merced chip. The key reason, he explained, is that several systems vendors realize that Windows NT does not yet have the necessary mettle to handle high-end enterprise use.
The vendors, including NCR Corp. and Amdahl Corp. "understand that NT does not provide the (same) scalability and functionality as the Solaris environment," he said.
In addition, Zander questioned the stability of the next version of Windows NT -- release 5.0 -- which is written in 30 million lines of code, more than half of which will be newly written for the new version of the Microsoft OS, he said.
"Would you bet your business on 16 million lines of new code?" he asked. By contrast, the Solaris 2.6 operating system uses about 13 million lines of code, he said.
Rolling through a number of criticisms of Microsoft, Zander predicted that users in coming years will begin to reject the Redmond, Washington-based software giant's "bully tactics," marking a change in the historical opinion among IT managers toward the company, he said.
"The big story over the next two to three years is the (change) in public opinion in the eyes and minds of IT managers," as regards Microsoft, he added.
Zander said the current U.S. antitrust suit against Microsoft should be left to the courts.
"The Department of Justice is doing their work -- that's what we pay them for -- we'll have to wait and see how it comes out," he said.
Most important for Sun, is to focus on competing in the old fashioned way, Zander said. "You have to win in the marketplace on products; you have to win on selection."
--Rob Guth, IDG News Service
The software runs on more than 75,000 desktops used by hotels, airlines, and other businesses to record reservations, cargo management, and airline check-in information. Sabre Group counts among its customers more than 40 airlines worldwide, including American Airlines, British Airways, and Cathay Pacific.
Sun has been helping Sabre rewrite its entire family of Qik-Access software in its Java programming language, and will offer support services as Sabre rolls out the new software products over the next three years, Sun said.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Sabre's relationship with Sun began last year when the travel firm decided to rewrite its software applications in Java. Because Java is platform-independent, it allowed Sabre Group to write a single version of its new Qik-Access programs that would run on its customers' Windows, Unix, and OS/2 systems, spokeswoman Sara Thigpen said.
Meanwhile, some of Sabre Group's customers said they were interested in replacing their desktop PCs with network computers, which according to Sun are less costly to buy and maintain and easier to manage than PCs. Sabre decided to expand its relationship with Sun and offer JavaStations as an option to its customers, Thigpen said.
"Obviously some of our customers are going to continue using their PCs," Thigpen said. "That's partly why we chose Java, to allow our customers to choose which systems they want to use."
The arrangement breathes some life into the NC movement, which has failed to attract the level of support Sun and other proponents said it would when the first NCs were unveiled about two years ago.
--James Niccolai, IDG News Service
When he wasn't touting the wonders of Java and its myriad applications, McNealy was making thinly disguised and undisguised jabs at rival Microsoft Corp. Sun has filed suit against Microsoft alleging that the software competitor violated terms of its Java licensing agreement.
Take a cup of coffee and add three drops of poison, McNealy said, "and what have you got? Windows."
In between similar barbs, which drew appreciative laughter from the crowd of academics and IT professionals, McNealy predicted that Java is fast becoming the language of choice in computers that operate vehicles, consumer appliances, and smart cards, which store monetary values allowing consumers to buy goods without carrying around cash or credit cards.
These consumer computers will become the network computer prototype of the future, McNealy said. Unlike Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison who yesterday continued his ongoing -- though occasionally changing -- message about the likely spread of network computers, McNealy doesn't believe that those thin clients will become the desktop rage.
Instead, network computers that retrieve data and applications from servers as needed, will be widely used in kiosks, for points-of-sale terminals, and as the means to operate increasingly smarter cellular telephones, set-top boxes, and other consumer devices, McNealy said.
"The last place you will see it is on your desktop at work," McNealy said. "For some reason, CEOs enjoy giving you 10 million lines of fiddle-around code and watching you reboot or whatever."
McNealy was armed with a cellular phone and a desk phone with a built-in screen as examples. But he also had on a "Java ring," which he passed to spectators in the front row of the theater. The ring can be used to allow access to work sites or computers that traditionally has been password protected. The same Java-enabled technology also will find its way into health care, used in plastic identification bracelets given to hospital patients, McNealy said.
When questioned by two Harvard University professors after his brief keynote remarks, McNealy strongly argued that there is only one Java programming language. And it belongs to Sun. Developers are welcome to contribute comments and thoughts regarding Java and its specifications, but Sun wants to keep the language pure.
"There's only one version of Java," McNealy said, "and that's the [Sun]-compatible version."
--By Nancy Weil, IDG News Service
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