Sun bets business on Web portal vision

Sun bets business on Web portal vision

Desperate not to be pigeon-holed as just a hardware vendor, Sun Microsystems has launched a new business strategy that revolves around the technology of its new acquisition, NetDynamics.

According to Sun, this technology saviour is NetDynamics 5, an applications server that is designed to leverage a customer's existing technology infrastructure to deliver e-commerce solutions and provide high-volume business transactions.

Application servers are designed to run key parts of applications on powerful servers, interconnecting the Web with back-end databases, host transaction systems and enterprise applications.

The key thrust to Sun's vision is the "portal", a concept that allows organisations to broadcast company-specific information such as inventory details and ordering requests both internally and to partners.

And it's the portal that Sun is betting its entire business on, according to John Halliwell, the former 3Com boss and now Sun's managing director, Asia-Pacific, for software and technology.

"Sun and its channel partners have to be cognisant to their customers' investments in other environments and be willing to reproduce them on the Web," Halliwell explained last week.

For Sanjay Sarathy, platform marketing group manager for Sun's NetDynamics subsidiary, integrators and resellers can educate their customers by urging them to leverage their existing technology investments.

"The key is maintaining a customer's investments in ERP and mainframes and concurrently connecting them with partners that may have differing infrastructures," Sarathy said.

To facilitate this strategy Sun has developed Platform Adapter Components (PACs), a series of packaged offerings that allow resellers, developers and integrators to connect multi-vendor environments. For example, there are PACs that allow NetDynamics 5 to be integrated with CA Unicenter, HP OpenView and Microsoft SQL Server.

The new release also includes a set of ready-to-use interfaces to various back-end data-bases and applications, along with a development kit for building custom interfaces. Sun has forged links with a battery of third-party software development tools that can now work more closely with NetDynamics Studio.

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