Sun Launches SaaS Program for Software Partners

ISVs now able to convert products without having to rewrite code

Sun Microsystems has introduced a program to help channel partners whose software runs on the Solaris operating system to easily convert their products to software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications.

Some of the 6,500 ISVs that run Solaris applications can develop SaaS apps from scratch, while others would wind up porting existing ones into the SaaS world.

Essentially, the new Solaris On Demand program is a virtualization service that enables software vendors' Solaris-based applications run in an on-demand environment without having to rewrite their code. Solaris On Demand converts installed applications into SaaS virtualization. It enables the software to add "multitenancy," or support for simultaneous users, without messy code changes. Additionally, Sun or one of its regional partners hosts the application.

Through the program, software vendors could quickly begin offering two versions of their software, an on-premises version and an on-demand version, both coming from one code base.

"People see the demand for on-demand but they are stuck with a year or more of development time without actually knowing if there's a market there for their product," said Vince Vasquez, business development manager for SaaS programs at Sun . "With virtualization, they can get into that market right now."

The service supports applications hosted on a Sun server using Solaris, Solaris' Containers virtualization technology and xVM, Sun's virtualization software.

To sweeten the deal, Sun is offering 90-day free trial to all customers to ensure their applications work in such an environment. The ISV will have access to hosting, hardware, managed services and backup, with a 99.5 percent guaranteed uptime from Sun or one of its partners, which include AT&T's Usi Communications, NTT Europe for the European countries and NaviSite for both regions.

Vasquez said a pilot customer, sales performance and management software vendor Callidus, has successfully used their applications in a SaaS environment for nearly two years.

Turning the company's three main products -- its compensation calculation engine, reporting engine and analytics/business integration tool -- into on-demand offerings initially seemed a daunting task, according to Jeff Saling, senior vice president of on-demand services at Callidus. The answer was to virtualize the existing working system.

"We do some of the most complicated commissioning and sales performance management for some of the biggest companies," Saling said. "You're not talking about something that will take a few months to rearchitect. You're talking a dozen or more engineers [and] many, many months of design and testing to rearchitect an app like that."

Using Solaris On Demand, the company now runs BEA Systems app servers and an Oracle database with 44,000 subscribers, fully virtualized, without any changes to its code base.

"You're talking about people's paychecks," Saling said of the service, which calculates performance and payouts for some 1.8 million salespeople. "You don't want to take a risk at doing it wrong."

(This article was adapted from InternetNews.com.)

TAGS: Oracle,virtualization,SaaS,applications,Sun Microsystems

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