Sun is gearing up for an assault on the applications hosting market to be launched in September.
At its ".Com your business/planning for the net economy" conference in Battersea, Sun will outline its strategy for taking on the application service provider market. An ASP is an ISP, telecommunications or systems integrator that provides rented applications, such as Oracle Financials, hosted on its own premises.
Sun is looking to partner with ISPs and telecommunications companies rather than building server farms and becoming an ASP itself, as IBM Global Services is planning to do (see PC Week, 13 July).
The aim is to build a portfolio of products for services such as e-mail and enterprise resource planning, which Sun will co-fund, co-market and sell through its own sales force. Sun is also planning a special service provider contract.
Hardware will also be offered on a risk-sharing or leasing basis, whereby ASPs, which are not flush with cash do not have to bear the burden of the substantial set-up costs.
Until now, Sun has remained very quiet on ASP.
Sun is quietly trying to build alliances with ASPs and such software vendors as SAP and Oracle. Sun has joined forces with database specialist Informix, e-commerce vendor Valtec and ISP Planet Online to provide hosted e-commerce sites.
Rivals such as Hewlett-Packard have recognised that Sun has established a strong presence selling products to ISPs, particularly in the UK, because of its aggressive seeding campaign when the ISP market was in its infancy.
HP in particular is now trying to claw back market share and offers risk-sharing deals for ISPs as part of its e-Services campaign.
"(But) we are not going to be complacent," Terry Maloney, Sun's business development manager, told PC Week.
Last month, Sun launched its slimline, rack-mounted Netra T1, which is aimed at the ISP market, in which saving space is key.
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