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  1. Technology
April 3, 1996

SUN HANGS ITS HAT ON THE CORPORATE INTRANET MARKET, PINS HOPES ON NETRA i LINE

By CBR Staff Writer

Sun Microsystems Inc last week unveiled its much-ballyhooed hardware, software, tools and services for developing, deploying and managing corporate Intranets (CI No 2,881), which it believes is where the real money is, and will drive adoption of the Internet as a business tool. At the client end, Java WorkShop 1.0 is a Java development environment, written in Java, with its own Web browser interface, aimed at professional developers to design, test and deploy Java applications. As such, the company says it is different from Symantec Corp’s Cafe or Borland International Inc’s Latte Java development environments. In beta test now, available on the Web this month and on CD-ROM from May, 1.0 supports Solaris for Sparc and x86, Windows95 and Windows NT and costs $300. Work is under way to expand the virtual machine application programming interface in Netscape Communications Corp Navigator and HotJava to support all Java Workshop applets.

TwinPeaks

Some components work with existing browsers now, others, including security and the debugger require additional development. A June release will support Macintosh. A future release of the workshop will also include a Visual Java graphical user interface builder for laying out user interface objects taken OEM from Active Software Inc, which enables pre-built Sun abstract windowing tool kit or third-party widgets to be used by developers in their applets. Also set for inclusion is a just-in- time Java compiler claimed to outperform byte code interpreters by 10 to 20 times, WYSIWYG HyperText Mark-up Language editor for publishing applets, and a Java-to-C++ gateway called TwinPeaks acquired from Ilog SA which enables existing C++ components to be recognized and used in Java applets via an automatically generated interface. The TwinPeaks gateway project is staffed by Ilog engineers and some SunSoft Inc developers and marketers. The TwinPeaks bridge will read and analyze C++ header files and produce a Java interface file and Java-C++ bridge code that translates application programming interface calls and data formats between Java and the object code of the existing component or class. Ilog says a developer or component vendor will only have to make a few declarations to the bridge and a Java-ready component will be produced. Java developers will also be able to use original C++ documentation in their development, plus a set of translation rules describing how C++ constructs are mapped. JavaScript – the joint Sun-Netscape scripting language – will be supported by the Workshop when it is done, though that might not be this year. Sun is also working with the Open Software Foundation’s Research Institute which is creating Java virtual machines for some of its member’s operating systems. The Internet WorkShop is a client-server development environment comprising Java WorkShop, Visual WorkShop for C++ and OpenStep- derived NEO development tools – presumably Workshop NEO (due by mid-year) and NeoWorks – and will be out around August; no price yet. Joe – the name is American slang for coffee – is the company’s Java Object Request Broker and Interface Definition Language compiler to connect applications residing on the OpenStep-based NEO object-oriented server environment with Java applications via Common Object Request Broker Architecture, bypassing HyperText Mark-up Language and CGI scripts.

By William Fellows

Java applets with Joe do not re-load entire Web pages but send updated information as necessary. Joe is written in Java and supports an early version of remote Java communication using the Corba Environment Specific Inter-ORB Protocol for connecting with Sun NEO servers. Eventually Joe will be able to communicate with objects on non-NEO systems via support for other vendor’s ORBs through the Corba 2.0 Internet Inter-ORB Protocol that will follow. A beta program starts this month, a beta release of Joe will be downloadable in June. SunSoft claims Solstice Internet Mail will be the first Internet Message Access Protocol v4-based mail server on the mar

ket (Netscape is moving from IMAP2 to IMAP4). The Solaris server software supports Solaris, Windows and NT clients (with Mac to follow). IMAP4 enables users to search and filter mail headers and attachments, leave bandwidth- intensive processing on the server and work in electronic mail without having to connect to a network. Solstice Internet Mail supports other IMAP mail systems although they cannot take advantage of its functionality. IMAP4 is the emerging standard for Internet messaging and will be used to support other asynchronous messaging applications in addition to electronic mail. The mail server is planned for June at $1,000. A beta version of the software plus reference electronic mail client implementations are downloadable free now. SunScreen SPF-100G is an intranet security system that can be deployed across the network, now available for the first time outside the US. It’s from $22,000. A SunScreen Administration Station G is from $8,000. Solstice FireWall-First is a cut-down version of Checkpoint Software Technologies Ltd’s FireWall-1 2.0 TCP/IP firewall and is being bundled in the Netra package. It lacks some of the more advanced encryption features that are available in the native FireWall-1 2.0 products which cost from $5,000 for the basic technology with one internal or external gateway and support for up to 50 nodes and from $8,000 for the base license plus encryption. Sun reckons 80% of security breaches come from inside, within Intranets, rather than from the Internet. SunIntegration Internet Practice is a suite of consulting and integration services. The new hardware includes three UltraSparc- based Netra i servers derived from the existing Ultra 1 units, plus one of the forthcoming SunFire commercial UltraSparc servers fitted as an enterprise-level Internet server. Each includes FireWall-First, Netscape LiveWire site management, Enterprise Server and Navigator Gold Web, new versions of Sun’s Web server and HyperText Mark-up Language administration software, an IPX gateway and new electronic mail and domain name server support. The Netra i 1/140 desktop uses the 143MHz UltraSparc with 10Mbps SCSI, and comes with 64Mb RAM, 2Gb disk, TurboGX graphics and 17 screen.

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It is claimed to perform 188 HyperText Transfer Protocol connections per second. The 167MHz Netra i 150 is a new tower configuration with 20Mbps SCSI and 64Mb RAM supporting from 25Gb to 350Gb disk and two 64-bit Sbus slots. Screen and graphics are optional. It is supposed to perform 216 HyperText Transfer Protocol operations a second. A desktop Netra i 1/170E version of the Ultra 1 Model 170E has from 2Gb to 324Gb disk, 20Mbps SCSI, two 64-bit Sbus and the UltraSparc Port Architecture slot, Creator graphics and 17 screen. It also performs 216 HyperText Transfer Protocol operations per second. All three come in above the 110MHz microSparc II-based Netra i 4 and Netra i 5, which are priced from $7,500 and perform 86 HyperText Transfer Protocol connections per second. Sun compares them with Silicon Graphics Inc’s $10,000 Challenge S server at 66 connections per second and the $10,380 Hewlett-Packard Co D200 at 66 connections per second. The only price Sun gave for any of the systems was $24,400 – and we don’t know what that buys.

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