Sun aims to advance app server

Focusing on high availability, Sun Microsystems Inc. is hoping to make a bold leap in the Java application server space with its upcoming Sun ONE Application Server 7 Enterprise Edition.

Having trailed companies such as BEA Systems Inc. and IBM Corp. in market share, Sun is looking to turn things around by focusing on a high-availability database layer in a product based on the technology garnered from its 2002 acquisition of Clustra Systems. Sun intends its high-availability technology to ensure 99.999 uptime for key applications such as e-commerce transactional systems, according to Sun officials.

“What we do is we create a high-availability layer, which allows us to store the information of, say, a shopping cart into this (data) store,” said Joe Keller, vice-president of marketing Java Web services and tools at Sun.

The high-availability database layer features transaction state information, and transactional loads can be shifted between application servers in the network as needed, Keller said.

The current Version 6.5 of the enterprise application server has had high-availability support, but Version 7’s support of the Clustra technology boosts real-time database functionality and scalability to 24 processors per system. Plus, Version 7, set to ship in September for US$10,000 per processor, is also compliant with the J2EE 1.3 Java specification. Sun will add J2EE 1.4 compliance to the application server, featuring conformity to Web services specifications, in 2004.

Load balancing in Version 7 will enable uptime when taking down an application server for maintenance. The high-availability layer also enables performance boosts through the addition of more processors, rather than having to add more application servers.