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Sun Enhances SunTone Certification

Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) Monday (April 16) announced enhancements to its SunTone Certification program, which certifies and provides tools for service providers, software vendors and system integrators.

"Sun is investing significantly in the outsourced services model to boost its success," said Tim Dwyer, vice president of sales development and marketing for Sun's Network Service Provider Group. "We have expanded SunTone certification and added new offerings to help Service Providers excel. New services and configurations from Sun will help companies build to SunTone standards, certify their solutions and then go-to-market with Sun's commitment to drive business to Service Providers with certified solutions."

SunTone certification, previously awarded for Service Provider services, hosted applications and integrator services, now includes a Certification for Storage Services. "There were not many standards and practices a company could look to in this area," Yael Zheng, director of marketing for Sun's Network Service Provider Group, told InternetNews. "We took the general specs for service providers and added specifications for storage."

New SunTone Certification for Storage Services certifies a Storage Service Provider's primary, secondary and back-up/recovery services. The first two companies to achieve SunTone certification for storage services are Arsenal Digital Solutions for its Managed Disk and Backup & Restore services and StorageNetworks for its DataPACS, NetPACS, BackPACS, SafePACS and STORmanage data storage management services.

New SunTone Services for Service Providers will also help companies assess, architect, build and manage to SunTone standards. These services include consulting, training and support programs from a staff of over 12,600 dedicated service experts. "Sun will consult and train a service provider to build up their operations," Zheng said. "They will evaluate how to optimize their existing operations as well as what needs to be done to become SunTone Certified."

Launched in May, 1999, the SunTone Certification and Branding program now includes more than 1,400 companies from around the world, including Argentina, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ireland, United Kingdom and the United States have joined the program to apply for certification. Among these members, more than 90 solutions from 70 companies have earned SunTone certification.

To further complement the SunTone program and add value to its members, Sun has introduced new go-to-market programs for companies with SunTone certified solutions to offer them preferential treatment from Sun's partners and internal sales force, and a new global agreement framework to streamline the costs of doing business in multiple countries.

"SunTone is the gateway to maximum benefits for a service provider," Liz King, director of global go-to-market strategies for service providers, told InternetNews. "It allows them to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace, take costos out of their bottom line, and drive end user demand to their services."

A company with a SunTone-certified application can use the SunTone logo to show potential customers and partners that it has taken the steps necessary to meet high industry standards, King said. SunTone partners also receive special access to programs, funding and discounts on Sun hardware. Sun's sales force and iForce partners are incented to steer customers toward SunTone members, and SunTone-certified partners in particular. Sun also offers SunTone members new sourcing options with its channel partners.

Sun has also introduced a program to ease the costs of doing business with Sun internationally with a new global agreement framework that allows a service provider to sign one agreement to do business in several countries, rather than having to negotiate terms for each country it does business in.



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