Sun Microsystems will focus on three key areas during the next five years - massive scalability, continuous real-time availability, and an integrated hardware and software stack.
Ed Zander, chief operating officer at Sun, said today that the company's research and development efforts would be concentrated in these areas until 2005.
Sun expects the research to lead to the development of servers with between 100 to 200 processors, and improved configuration features and clustering capabilities.
Philip Dawson, senior research analyst at Meta Group, said: "The goals Sun has set itself are attainable, but I don't know if they're as revolutionary as its last set of bets, which included Java."
"The ability to deliver a robust infrastructure will be a key challenge for server vendors. The agility needed to respond to a changing business market threatens robustness."
Sun and IBM are developing a full set of products to realise their goals, whereas Hewlett Packard is partnering with BEA, said Dawson.
Zander said parts of the process to deliver a service-driven network are already in place and would put Sun ahead of its competitors.
"Solaris 8 is four to five years ahead of any Windows NT or Linux type products and well ahead of other versions of Unix," he said, adding that previous 'bets' by Sun had reaped rich rewards.
In 1995, Sun bet on networking technologies when "other than Al Gore, no one was using the internet", said Zander. Sun's last big bets, which were outlined in 1995, were on bandwidth, the net and Java.
Patricia Sueltz, president of software products and services at Sun, said the strategy emphasises storage, services and software, as well as servers.
Sueltz said Sun's key products include Java and XML in the wireless market, integrated enterprise services, enterprise application integration, and products in the storage market.
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