Sun unties portal from apps server

Sun Microsystems Inc. this week is rolling out the latest version of its portal offering, heightening its identity management capabilities and freeing the portal from the Solaris environment and the Sun ONE application server. That means businesses interested in using Sun’s portal product won’t be limited by what application server they’re running.

It also means businesses can mix and match what server they use to run different portals, using the Sun ONE Web server for a customer-facing portal, for example, and IBM Corp. WebSphere for an employee portal. Sun ONE Portal Server 6.0 will support the IBM WebSphere and BEA Systems Inc. WebLogic application servers, in addition to the Sun ONE Application Server.

Sun ONE Portal Server 6.0, formerly iPlanet Portal Server, comes with Sun ONE Identity Server, allowing for centralized management of access policies, single sign-on information and user data. With Identity Server, businesses can handle identity management for multiple portals from a single place, says John Fanelli, director of product marketing for portal products at Sun.

The server also can integrate with identity management products from outside vendors, such as single sign-on capabilities from Netegrity, so customers won’t have to scrap previous investments.

Sun ONE Portal Server 6.0 supports technology such as XML; Java; Simple Object Access Protocol; Universal Description, Discovery and Integration; and Web Services Description Language, to make it easier to display Web services within the portal.

Other new features include the ability to log on once and have access to multiple portals via Identity Server, a single management console to administer multiple portals, upgraded search technology and enhanced customization capabilities for business users.

Rob Perry, an analyst with The Yankee Group, says Sun is smart to let its portal run on other application servers. Sun holds a single-digit share in the application server market, far behind leaders IBM and BEA.

“The Sun ONE Java 2 [Platform] Enterprise Edition server is really not a leader, so their portal was very restricted in that it only ran on their infrastructure,” he says. “Now they’re off their infrastructure and they can run on any J2EE application server.”

Perry says businesses should consider the Sun ONE portal, in large part because of its security capabilities, which are enhanced because of integration with the Sun ONE Identity Server, formerly the iPlanet Directory Server, Access Management Edition.

In the portal arena, Sun competes with fellow infrastructure vendors IBM, BEA and Oracle, and portal companies such as Plumtree, Epicentric and CoreChange.

Pricing for Sun ONE Portal Server 6.0 has not yet been set, Fanelli says.

Sun is online at