Sun One Application Server 7 Debuts

Sun Microsystems Monday launched a refresher of its application server platform geared toward leveraging the Java language into its product line for more fluid Web services deployment.

The Palo Alto, Calif. concern said Sun One Application Server 7 is J2EE 1.3 compliant and supports the Java Web Services Developer Pack to provide tools and platform for Web services such as SOAP and WSDL.

According to Rick Schultz, Grid Marketing Manager for Sun One Java Web Services, the release marks a new modular approach, complete with new codebase and architecture for Sun’s application server development.

Sun One Application Server 7 will unfold in three versions, including a platform and standard edition, which are available immediately, and an enterprise edition, slated for a March 2003 release.

The Sun One Application Server 7 Platform edition is free and will be tightly integrated into the company’s flagship operating system offering Solaris 9 in January, according to Schultz. Its architecture consists of J2EE 1.3, Web Services and an HTTP Server. This package is available in Solaris and Windows today; Linux within 60 days; and HP-UX and AIX in 90 days.

The standard addition, complete with remote managing capabilities and multi-tier deployment, will cost $2,000 per CPU. As the company’s fullest Web services software package yet, the enterprise edition will feature higher functionality through clustering features, courtesy of the company’s acquisition of Clustra Systems last March, as well as Web tier load balancing and advanced session replication.

Sun also said a new development kit — Sun ONE Studio for Java 4.1 — is ready. This pack includes support for JWSDP and enables bi-directional development of Java Web Services.

Schultz said Macromedia, Novell and HP are some of the firms supporting the release, and pledged more customer momentum for Sun ONE Java Web Services and Sun ONE App Server 7, as well as more product integration across the Sun ONE Java Web Services stack.

Sun faces heated competition in the application server market, where it battles the likes of Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and BEA to name a few. All of these firms’ app server upgrades come standard with boasts of faster performance than rivals’ products.

But does such jockeying for position in the market really matter right now? After all, some research firms have turned bearish about the promise of Web services following the hype of the last two years. IDC said that while Web services are being successfully deployed to unify heterogeneous environments, software-as-a-service is ten years away.

“…Most of the Web services vision is just pure speculation, with no real consideration of what is achievable and what it will cost to actually build out the vision for full use on the open Internet,” said Rikki Kirzner, research director for IDC’s Application Design and Construction Tools service.

Kirzner argued that Web services will have to be built primarily from software components and elements that must be identified, located, accessed, and dynamically assembled into turnkey applications. Unfortunately, she said, the reality is that this model cannot be implemented in its entirety using current technologies and application development methodologies.