Sun Microsystems has unveiled a real-time business collaboration platform that integrates e-mail, instant messaging, calendar, search and content management capabilities.
The Sun One (Open Net Environment) Collaborative Business Platform will compete offerings from IBM and Microsoft.
However, Sun One communication products group manager Patrick Dorsey believed Sun has a leg up in terms of scalability and a strong customer base for its existing collaboration offerings.
The platform includes the company's Sun One Messaging Server, Sun One Calendar Server, Sun One Instant Messaging, Sun One Portal Server and Sun One Identity Server products.
Because of the inclusion of the portal and identity management offerings, the Collaborative Business Platform offers access to the disparate content and services through a secure portal, with single sign-on and policy control.
Additionally, the platform scales to millions of users, Dorsey said.
"The top line benefit is that the Sun One platform allows enterprises to expand and extend collaboration services out to a wide community of users," Dorsey said.
Companies can extend the services not just in-house but to remote workers, customers and business partners, Sun said
Dana Gardner, senior analyst with The Yankee Group in Boston, said that Sun is differentiating itself with its portal approach to the collaboration platform, despite the fact that it does not have the installed base that Microsoft's Exchange or IBM's Domino products have.
Additionally, the Sun platform allows companies to put all their collaboration capabilities on a single server or small number of servers, Gardner said.
However, he noted that "all three of these vendors are headed in the same direction, to allow collaboration components to work within business applications with one framework."
The new Sun platform also highlights IM and presence capabilities, which is the ability to tell when a user is online and available, which are the key features of IBM Lotus Sametime and Microsoft's Greenwich enterprise messaging products.
Sun One Collaborative Business Platform features enhanced messaging capabilities from the company's new Sun One Instant Messaging 6.0 software. The IM technology offers encrypted sessions and the ability for companies to integrate third-party virus and spam protection software.
Building on the IM capabilities, the platform also offers real-time alerts, polling, news, conferences and file transfers. The calendar and scheduling services allow users to be notified of a specific event via pop-up alerts.
Mobile access is available either through Sun's Mobile Access Pack with the Sun One Portal Server, or through products provided by Sun partner NTT Data.
To aid deployment, the Sun is offering consulting services from itself or its partners as fixed-price packages.
The Sun One Collaborative Business Platform will be available worldwide on 14 April, Dorsey said. Price varies according to the size and extent of the deployment.