Sun adding third-party support to JES

Sun Microsystems Inc. is extending support for its Java Enterprise System (JES) to third-party operating systems and hardware platforms in a move aimed at gaining more uptake for the server software and throwing more weight behind its pricing model, the company said Tuesday.

JES, which is a stack of enterprise software comprised of elements such as the company’s application, Web, directory, security and communication and collaboration offerings, is currently available only on Sun’s own Solaris operating system and Red Hat Inc.’s Linux.

The Santa Clara, Calif., company said that beginning in the first quarter of next year it will add support for the Hewlett-Packard Co.’s Unix operating system, HP-UX, on the PA-RISC architecture, and Microsoft Corp.’s Windows OS for x86-based hardware, including Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Opteron-based systems.

The move is aimed broadening JES’ reach, by giving customers wider operating system and hardware choices, Sun said. The company is also hoping to win converts to JES’ US$100 per employee, per year cost structure, which Sun has trumpeted as the way forward for more simple enterprise software pricing.

The pricing model is attractive because it allows companies to estimate a fixed cost, rather than buying software on a per seat or per-server basis, which can get complicated, said IDC research director Rob Hailstone.

“The pricing is a half-way house to open source because the technology itself is getting commoditized,” Hailstone said. “What people pay for now is support and the assurance that they can run their mission-critical applications.”

And with extended hardware and operating system support for JES, Sun will be able to woo customers who were previously holding out because of platform considerations, said RedMonk LLC analyst Stephen O’Grady.

“What they’ve done is remove one of the last barriers to adoption,” O’Grady said. “Sun will get invited to discussions that perhaps it wasn’t invited to before.”

Furthermore, the company is also looking to put more momentum behind JES through a promotion in which qualified customers who purchase the software receive a Sun Fire server running the Solaris 9 operating system, with a year of support. Additionally, it’s offering to upgrade JES customers to Solaris 10 for no additional cost.

It is also extending a previous offer until Dec. 31 in which small businesses with fewer than 100 employees are offered free JES software for a year.

With the offers, Sun is giving customers the opportunity to mix and match systems and reduce costs and complexity, John Loiacono, company executive vice-president of software, said in a statement released Tuesday.

Sun hopes the offers will also give them another entr

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