May 24, 1999 -- As expected, the Sun-Netscape Alliance -- formed in March by America Online Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc. -- today detailed their plans to merge the Netscape Communications Corp. Application Server and Sun NetDynamics application server software into a single, unified solution.
The strategy, as outlined by both companies, will enable customers to continue deploying applications written using either server as they migrate toward the new Alliance application server.
The Alliance is rolling out the unification strategy in two phases:
Step one includes the release of both NetDynamics 5.01 and Netscape Application Server 4.0 this July. Both products will support a common programming model via Java 2, Enterprise Edition (which includes Enterprise JavaBeans), Java Server Page technology, and Java Servlet API. Both application server upgrades are also expected to offer improved performance and scalability. Phase one also includes the Alliance's plans to release in early 2000 an application server solution comprised of NetDynamics and Netscape Application Server products. This solution will include both execution models, but with shared components in the areas of management (including directory) and enterprise integration. In addition, this solution is expected to deliver matured APIs for Java 2 SDK, Enterprise Edition, XML support, Java Messaging Services technology, and new enhancements for improved database performance, according to executives for the Alliance.
- In step two, the Alliance plans to introduce an application server solution that will merge the rapid development environment, business framework, and enterprise integration components of NetDynamics with the transaction processing and high availability architecture of Netscape Application Server. This product will be targeted at the Alliance's three primary markets: Internet and application service providers, vertical portals, and large enterprises building electronic-business applications. According to the companies, this server will offer backward compatibility to both NetDynamics and Netscape Application Server applications. While the plans to combine these products has caused some trepidation for Sun and Netscape customers, Alliance executives claim that now is the ideal time to be merging application server technologies.
"Everybody is needing to make the critical migration to [Java 2, Enterprise Edition] anyway, so the timing couldn't be better," said Steve Nathan, vice president of application server products for the Sun-Netscape Alliance.