Sun ceases development of Domain Manager

Has Solstice Enterprise Manager come of age?

By Stephanie Steenbergen

November  1997
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San Francisco (November 14, 1997) -- Hoping to clarify the confusion surrounding its SunNet Manager/Domain Manager/Enterprise Manager troika of network management products, Sun Microsystems Inc. now says it has halted development of both SunNet Manager and Domain Manager. For customers, the message should be clear: Buy Enterprise Manager.

But are SunNet Manager customers ready?

John McFarlane, vice president and general manager of Sun's Network Software group claims, "My new investments are all going into Sun Enterprise Manager." McFarlane says that Domain Manager, previously billed as the next generation version of SunNet manager, is now being replaced by Enterprise Manager.

McFarlane says that Sun will continue to support the SunNet Manager and Domain Manager installed base.

Since its launch in 1995, Enterprise Manager has not been widely adopted by Sun's SunNet Manager installed base. It has been well received, however, as a development environment for telecos looking to do customized SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) network management applications.

This week, Sun announced the latest version of Enterprise Manager (EM), version 2.1.

According to Sun, Solstice EM 2.1 builds on the product's scalable and distributed architecture, by breaking out common management services into distributed components. Now customers can distribute the logging, SNMP, Common Management Information Protocol (CMIP), and Remote Procedure Call (RPC) services as separate processes in the network.

Sun says version 2.1 liberates network admins by allowing them to provide customers with highly secured access to management information through new object-level access control. 2.1 also provides improved persistent storage subsystems for improved transactional integrity, real-time performance, backup, and recovery.

Sun also plans to announce a Java-based API set and remote monitoring and service application for Solstice EM 2.1 that will be available in the first quarter of 1998. "In Q1 1998 we're going to provide a lot more packaged Java components that will allow you to customize look and feel," says McFarlane.

Qualcomm Incorporated, a company developing a low-Earth-orbiting satellite-based digital communications system is currently in the process of upgrading to EM 2.1. "It works especially well for us because of the fact that we have proprietary protocols and we have customers who want to see industry standard protocols given to them as their interface and for that purpose," said Vito Bica, project lead for the Globalstar project. "I don't know of any other product that...allows you to define protocol adaptors and then integrate them within the framework of the product," he said.

One EM user, who asked not to be identified, said, "One big issue is security. One of the things that we have to do with this is remote operator interface," the user said. "So ideally operators want to not be on-site. They want to be able to use the Q3 interface, which is the industry standard interface remote location."

The user continued, "There are problems in the industry standard protocol. They're not specifically Sun problems, but Sun could implement something proprietary if they wanted to perhaps. Security management is an issue. They know it and we're working on it with them."

"On the plus side," the user said, "they [Sun] listen to us and they understand what the needs are and why it makes sense to do those these things. It's more an issue of when they can do it [than] whether they'll do it. It's a product that's still undergoing a lot of development."


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