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Sun to ship BEA WebLogic with Solaris

Sun Microsystems (http://www.sun.com) said last week that it will begin shipping an evaluation version of BEA WebLogic Server 7.0 with its Solaris 9 Operating Environment System Administrator's Kit, beginning January 3, as an alternative to its own Sun Open Net Environment (SunONE) application server.

BEA (http://www.bea.com) said it will offer a six-month trial license for its J2EE app server with each copy bundled with the sys-admin kits Sun ships with its Unix-based OS.

Officials from both BEA and Sun contend that the move gives both companies a stronger position against shared rival IBM. In a joint statement, the companies said the agreement ''demonstrates BEA's and Sun's J2EE technology alignment, as well as a commitment to customer choice and success. The combined products help provide significant advantages to customers, including speed of deployment, solution flexibility, interoperability, profitability and 24x7 operations.''

BEA and IBM, with its WebSphere product, each control about one-third of the application server market, while Sun and Oracle Corp. each hold shares of less than 10%, according to analysts. Solaris 9 is a key component of Sun ONE, Sun's Web services product portfolio, and the company said it will also ship its own SunONE Application Server 7 Platform Edition with Solaris 9, offering it to users as the lead option.

''This initiative strengthens our relationship and underscores our commitment to customers to increase choice and reduce cost and time to deployment,'' said Stuart Wells, senior vice president of Sun's market development organization.

''Today's announcement supports BEA's objective of providing customers with a highly scalable solution that will help enable them to compete in today's economy,'' added Gamiel Gran, vice president, global alliances, BEA Systems.

In some ways, observers said the agreement creates a somewhat strange pairing. Sun isn't the first hardware vendor BEA has linked with to distribute its Java app server. Hewlett-Packard disclosed plans in September to 'retire' its own Bluestone app server offering and instead bundle the BEA product in its place with its HP-UX operating system. Also, Sun recently declared an intention to steal market share from BEA. And the two companies don't see eye-to-eye on the issue of selling an app server as a separate product from the OS. (As might be expected, BEA is for it; Sun is against it.) Still, most industry watchers saw the deal as a strategic move for both Sun and BEA.

''BEA needs partners in companies that have broad relationships; now they have these two powerful counterweights to IBM,'' observed John Rymer, an analyst with Giga Information Group (http://www.gigaweb.com). ''And what Sun needs more than anything else is growth in server sales, and the SunONE Application Server was just not going to be as much a force in moving server sales as was BEA.''

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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