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Sun ONE-Up

Sun is now making up for its poor marketing of Java and Web services. The company says it has split its application server line into three separate offerings, a move that's sure to help Java-based Web services catch up to and possibly surpass Microsoft's .Net initiative. Not only will the low-end offering be integrated into Solaris 9 Operating Environment, but it will also be available on AIX, HP-UX, Linux and Windows, for free.

And that's not even the best news. Sun has cut the price of the high-end enterprise edition in half, to $10,000 per CPU. That price is the same or lower than Web services products from direct competitors Borland, IBM and BEA Systems.

Sun's move to plant Sun ONE Application Server into as many platforms as possible is smart. Most Java-based Web services today are deployed on an Apache/Tomcat combination, and while the open source version is solid, it lacks some of the features and tools enterprise developers have come to expect in a corporate-class application server. Cutting the price of its enterprise-class offering will move Sun back into the running in many organizations with tight budgets.

With a Sun ONE Application Server Platform Edition and Sun's Web Services Development Kit (both free), the enterprise can easily move into Web services without the prohibitive licensing costs required by Microsoft for a .Net implementation. This could give Web services its biggest boost yet.