Sun updates Web server architecture, pushes x86 systems

Sun Microsystems was expected to announce on April 19 an update of its Secure Web Server Reference Architecture during its iForce Partner Summit in San Diego. Basically a set of how-to plans for developing Web-serving solutions, the reference architecture defines the recommended hardware and software components for building repeatable, multitiered architectures. It also documents the optimal balance between security settings, configurations and performance.

"The whole concept behind the reference architecture is to provide a plan for putting together multitiered architectures," said Bob Wambaugh, senior technical marketing manager for volume systems products at Sun Microsystems. "It's a way to get you to a secure Web server environment with pre-tested, pre-integrated, secure Web server components, minimizing the amount of time and risk involved."

The update of Sun's Secure Web Server Reference Architecture is a continuation of a strategy the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based systems company started about a year ago, Wambaugh said. But it is also breaking some new ground because it was built around Sun Fire V20z, Sun's first Opteron processor-based server. Sun claims the V20z is the industry's fastest secure Web server. Also, the updated reference architecture runs the Solaris OS x86 Platform Edition, expanding the company's x86, low-cost portfolio offerings.

Sun is also expected to use the iForce stage to unveil a new effort to take advantage of what it calls an increasing demand for x86-based systems running the Solaris OS. According to Jack O'Brien, Sun's group marketing manager for x86 platforms, Sun will disclose plans to offer annual volume subscription packages in quantities of 100, 500 and 2,000, including services and support.

Ever since the company made something of a strategic about-face last year, rediscovering what Sun CEO Scott McNealy called an "amazing appetite" for Solaris on x86, Sun has been moving aggressively to promote its OS for the lower-cost hardware. The company now claims more than 850,000 registered licenses for Solaris for x86 systems, and more than 200 supported x86 systems from both Sun and third-party vendors. It also lists more than 900 solutions currently available for Solaris x86 through approximately 600 ISVs, including Sybase, Symantec, DeepNines, Sophos, Urchin, Stellent, Plumtree and VoiceGenie, among others.

"We're seeing a couple of things happening in the marketplace that we're responding to," the firm's O'Brien said. "Customers have moved past the trial phase in their evaluation of Solaris x86 to the I-want-to-deploy-in-a-big-way phase. They're asking us for an easy way to go in big volumes and standardize on it. Second, these customers typically have large deployments and they're looking at the old free model of Linux not being available. They're re-evaluating the economics of the OS on these big x86 deployments."

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About the Author

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


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