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VNU Net: Sun outlines five-year vision

By John Leyden, VNU Net

Sun Microsystems will focus on three key areas during the next
five years – massive scalability, continuous real-time
availability, and an integrated hardware and software stack.

Ed Zander, chief operating officer at Sun, said today that the
company’s research and development efforts would be concentrated in
these areas until 2005.

Sun expects the research to lead to the development of servers
with between 100 to 200 processors, and improved configuration
features and clustering capabilities.

Philip Dawson, senior research analyst at Meta Group, said: “The
goals Sun has set itself are attainable, but I don’t know if
they’re as revolutionary as its last set of bets, which included
Java.”

“The ability to deliver a robust infrastructure will be a key
challenge for server vendors. The agility needed to respond to a
changing business market threatens robustness.”

Sun and IBM are developing a full set of products to realise
their goals, whereas Hewlett Packard is partnering with BEA, said
Dawson.

Zander said parts of the process to deliver a service-driven
network are already in place and would put Sun ahead of its
competitors.

“Solaris 8 is four to five years ahead of any Windows NT or
Linux type products and well ahead of other versions of Unix,” he
said, adding that previous ‘bets’ by Sun had reaped rich
rewards.

In 1995, Sun bet on networking technologies when “other than Al
Gore, no one was using the internet”, said Zander. Sun’s last big
bets, which were outlined in 1995, were on bandwidth, the net and
Java.

Patricia Sueltz, president of software products and services at
Sun, said the strategy emphasises storage, services and software,
as well as servers.

Sueltz said Sun’s key products include Java and XML in the
wireless market, integrated enterprise services, enterprise
application integration, and products in the storage market.