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Software // Enterprise Applications

Sun Readies Next Version Of Java Enterprise Server

The new release of the Java-based software stack will include enhancements for easier installation as well as support for deployment of applications built on JES over various wireless access protocols.

Though the first version of the Java Enterprise System (JES) has been generally available for two months, Sun Microsystems is already readying the second release of the Java-based software stack.

In its quarterly launch Tuesday, Sun is expected to introduce enhancements to JES Release 2, including the integration of the Sun Java System Portal Server Mobile Access, now available as a separate product, said John Fanelli, a marketing director at Sun.

The software, an add-on to Sun's portal server, supports the deployment of applications built on JES over various wireless access protocols, such as WAP. The new version of Mobile Access in Release 2 adds new support for voice access to Internet applications and services through a phone or IVR connection, Fanelli said.

JES Release 2 also will include enhancements to installation, allowing all the software to be installed at once in a seamless fashion, said Larry Singer, senior vice president of global markets and strategies at Sun, Santa Clara, Calif. Though Sun executives have boasted that single install was a key value of JES, Singer admitted the installation process of the first version of JES was "a bit cumbersome."

New features in JES Release 2 make the installation and the user interface more user-friendly, he said. "It was an engineer's interface and now it's a user's interface," Singer said.

What won't be included in JES Release 2 is what many think is crucial to the success of any Java-based software stack--an integration server. Sun executives continue to assert that Sun is building a next-generation integration server based on J2EE and Java Business Integration, also known as Java Specification Request 208 in the Java Community Process, which creates Java standards. However, they will not give a time frame for that product's release.

Some solution providers said support of the standards Java Connector Architecture (JCA) in an application server and Java Message Service (JMS) in a messaging server eliminate the need for a proprietary integration server because applications can be integrated through APIs rather than run through proprietary integration software.

"The JCA/JMS is huge," said Doug Nassaur, president and CEO of True North Technology, a solution provider based in Alpharetta, Ga. "It precludes a need for an integration server. You can do everything the middleware does with open standards."

Sun supports JCA 1.0 in its application server and JMS in its Message Queue product. Both are part of the current release of JES, said Roger Nolan, a senior marketing director at Sun.

JES Release 2 is scheduled to ship next quarter concurrently with an upcoming update to Solaris, the Solaris 9 4/04 release.

As for the current version of JES, which still is available only in a version for Sun's Unix-based Solaris platform, Singer said Sun plans to make available a Linux release concurrent with the release of its new Opteron servers, which will be generally available March 26. JES will support Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS 2.1, the version Sun is distributing with its x86 servers, he said. However, Red Hat's current version of Linux is 3.0.

Sun's open-source based desktop operating system, the Sun Java Desktop System (JDS), also will get some tweaks in its next version, due out mid-year. JDS will be updated with management features such as central control and policy enforcement, Singer said. These features are missing from the current version of JDS, which is available now.

In other software news Tuesday, Sun also is unveiling the availability of Java System Application Server, Platform Edition 8, a free version of its app server. The product is J2EE 1.4 compliant and will be available in JES Release 2.

And as previously reported, Sun also plans to ship the developer tools for JES, the Java Studio Enterprise, in the second quarter, and will ship its Java Studio Creator rapid application development tool in the second half of 2004. Java Studio Creator will ship on Linux, Windows and Solaris, and Java Studio Enterprise will ship on Linux and Solaris.

Java Studio Enterprise includes the runtimes for all of the software in JES, including Sun's application server, portal and messaging server products, said Rick Schultz, director of Java Web services at Sun. Java Studio Creator is designed to help developers rapidly assemble Java applications through drag-and-drop interfaces.

Tuesday's launch also will introduce five more reference architectures, or blueprints that help solution providers implement solutions using Sun's software. The new reference architectures are Sun Reference Solution for Secure Network Access Platform, Sun Messaging Reference Architecture for Oracle Collaboration Suite, Sun Spare Parts Planner Reference Architecture, Sun Enterprise Data Warehouse Reference Architecture and Sun Reference Solution for Enterprise Messaging Consolidation.

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