Sun One Software: Marketing Makeover

By Steven Vonder Haar  |  Posted 2002-07-10 Print this article Print

Dossier: Devotees are sticking with Sun's Web server software. Others remain unswayed by Sun's platform hoopla.

What's in a name? Not much, apparently, for companies dabbling with Web applications on their corporate networks.

Although Sun Microsystems has spent the past 18 months rechristening the bulk of its Web software suite under the banner of its Sun ONE brand, the marketing message has not made everyone a convert. Sun devotees are sticking with Sun. Others remain unswayed by Sun's platform hoopla.

"I'm not into the marketing hype," says Herman Baumann, executive director of strategic development for the American Hospital Association, which is launching a Sun iPlanet server application to knit together content from the Web sites of 18 affiliate groups. "I just know the server works great."

For some tech departments, though, old habits die hard. McGee Corp., a Matthews, N.C.-based manufacturer of gas station canopies, at least two years ago experimented with Sun's Forte software—also part of the Sun ONE suite—to develop applications for use in the company's manufacturing operations. However, McGee ultimately scrapped Forte and returned to systems offered under the Microsoft .NET platform, says Tim Ferrell, chief technologist for McGee. The reason: Ferrell's team was more accustomed to programming in Microsoft's Visual Basic.

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Even Java allegiances don't seem to make much difference in promoting Sun ONE. While retailer Home Depot is heavily committed to Java, the company last year opted to use Web applications from IBM WebSphere instead. Sun did not even make the short list in a Home Depot shop already densely populated with IBM gear, says Curtis Chambers, senior systems architect for the Atlanta-based company.

Sun's long-time adherence to open standards still plays well with some, though. At Detroit's Wayne State University, a campus network serving nearly 40,000 professors and students provides personalized Web-based services largely using iPlanet software.

Wayne State, however, kept an industrial strength messaging server from MirrorPoint in place even as it expanded its commitment to Sun ONE nearly everywhere else on its network. The ability to plug equipment from an outside vendor into the Sun-dominated system shows that Sun is serious in its intentions to make Sun ONE a platform that supports multiple vendors, says John Camp, deputy chief information officer for Wayne State.

"The fact that Sun offers a package of components for Internet-based applications is very important to us," Camp says. "But you also want to be able to mix and match components. That's the theory behind Sun ONE, and it holds up."

Company Infomation

Sun ONE Software
901 San Antonio Road, Palo Alto CA 94303
(650) 960-1300

Ticker: SUNW
Exchange: NASDAQ
Employees: 43,000

Jonathan Schwartz
EVP, Software Group
The newly promoted 36-year-old was previously Sun's chief strategy officer. He oversees several key company initiatives, including Sun ONE.

Stuard Wells
Senior Vice President, iPlanet products
The 13-year veteran of Sun is responsible for development and marketing of application services, messaging, security and and e-commerce offerings.

Marge Breya
Vice President, Sun ONE
Breya oversees the business, product and alliance strategy for Sun ONE. She has nearly 20 years of technology marketing experience.

Web Apps Product
Sun is bundling its suite of Web-based applications services under a single marketing umbrella—the Sun Open Network Environment, known as Sun ONE.

Reference Checks

The executives listed here are all Sun ONE customers. Their willingness to talk has been confirmed by Baseline.

American Hospital Association
Herman Baumann
Executive Director, Strategic Development
(312) 422-3000
Project: Using iPlanet servers to consolidate content from Web sites of 18 affiliated organizations into a single medical information portal.

Sealy Inc.
Jim Packer
Director of E-Systems
(336) 861-3500
Project: The Trinity, N.C.-based bedding manufacturer in November 2001 deployed an iPlanet directory server to centralize supply chain communications between its 20 factories and 23 materials vendors.

Wayne State University
John Camp
Deputy CIO
(313) 577-4759 john.camp @wayne.edu
Project: Using iPlanet servers to provide Web services, such as online calendars and class tracking applications.

Life Time Fitness
Brent Zempel
Chief Information Officer
(952) 947-0000
Project: Eden Prairie, Minn.-based fitness chain is using iPlanet directory server to manage membership and customer information from a central location for its 30 health clubs nationwide.

A.B. Watley
Eric LeSatz
Vice President, Information Systems
(972) 747-8899
Project: Online brokerage firm using StarOffice productivity applications for members of its administrative staff.

Campus Pipeline
Craig Spencer
Senior Director, Strategic Marketing
(801) 485-6000
Project: Salt Lake City-based technology supplier to more than 100 universities builds services on Sun ONE platform, including iPlanet Calendar, Director and Messaging servers.


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