Sun teams-up for secure ID, portal

Sun Microsystems of Canada Inc. is staking out its Web services territory, recently announcing a deal with Burntsand Inc. to develop products in that space.

The Sun ONE software platform and network environment will form the underpinnings of the jointly developed Web services offerings, according to Burntsand, a Toronto-based systems integrator.

The first of two initial offerings is an Employee Community Portal that will give internal users access to work-related knowledge, which Sun says will drive the adoption of a company’s organizational goals, and could increase employee effectiveness.

The second, iDentity Management, is software that targets Web services standards by providing customers with a means to achieve single, secure sign-on capabilites, Sun said. In part, the iDentity aspect of the Web services announcement ties in with Sun’s N1 initiative – the idea of a heterogeneous architecture and network resources on the fly, said Brad Keates, vice-president, marketing and partnering at Sun in Markham, Ont.

The partners will also help customer design, customize and test their solutions.

While the two companies do have a past working history, Keates said the approach taken by Sun represents a shift from how the vendor has engaged in partnerships in the past as Burntsand is providing the integration based on Sun’s technology.

“We’re basically acting as the prime contractor for all of these skills. It’s an interesting angle for us,” Keates said.

But a question still lingers: is the market ready for the adoption of Web services? According to IDC Canada, current adoption is around five to seven per cent in North America. Approximately 70 per cent of businesses surveyed said they were evaluating, planning or already had Web services projects under way.

“Our research does show that it is gaining traction in the market. Web services are not anything like a panacea for issues of heterogeneous [environments] and interoperability, but it certainly is a huge step in the right direction,” said Alister Sutherland, director of software research at IDC in Toronto.

He added that there is interest and uptake coming from companies across Canada.

Keates said the company expects Web services to be an important marketplace, and that for the next calendar year, “it would be one of the few growth areas for IT in general.”