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Sun, Accenture Sew Up SOA Deal

NEW YORK -- Sun Microsystems  today said it has inked a deal with consulting giant Accenture  to work on secure service-oriented architectures (SOA) for their joint customers.

SOAs  are distributed computing frameworks for helping companies choreograph Web services and bits of legacy software to power modern business processes.

Sun competes in the multi-billion-dollar SOA market with Microsoft , IBM , BEA Systems  and Oracle .

The SOA market is important for Sun, which wants the world to see the company as a leader in powering Web 2.0, or what Sun CE0 and President Jonathan Schwartz refers to as the next wave of Web use that relies on more service interaction between users.

Schwartz, who announced the pact at the company's quarterly news launch here this morning, noted that while Sun provides the technological punch, Accenture can provide the expertise and global resources to help customers move closer to Web 2.0.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Accenture CTO Don Rippert said Accenture will create the Accenture Innovation Center for Sun Solutions, an organization with engineers from both companies that will focus on helping customers create secure, composite applications built on the Sun platform

In the initial going, the companies will use Sun's Sun Java Composite Application Platform Suite (CAPS) and Sun Identity Manager software to meet customer needs.

CAPS, culled from Sun's SeeBeyond purchase, includes several other software components working in concert to deploy and manage business processes for medium-to-large corporations.

Composite applications are built by combining multiple services in an SOA. Typical components of composite apps can include modern Web services, as well as parts of legacy applications.

SOAs help corral composite apps and enable them to operate as a loosely coupled network of services cooperating together to enable Web purchases, inventory orders, or other business transactions.

Sun and Accenture will eventually augment capabilities created in the center with other software and services, which will be based on Sun's platform and developed through Accenture's global delivery network and client sites.

The vendors have also appointed an executive team to identify and assess emerging market and technology opportunities.

The deal is an extension of a previous agreement in which the two vendors complement each other in certain customer wins, using Sun's hardware and software and Accenture's services and consulting.

For example, Accenture is replacing an old mainframe system with a Sun Solaris platform using the Sun Java Composite Application Platform Suite for a major European public freight and passenger railway operator.

The Sun-Accenture deal comes at a time when Sun is enjoying some momentum with Solaris 10, which it open sourced as OpenSolaris in March 2005. That initiative spurred programmers to download 5.9 million licenses, Schwartz said.

While the growth is solid, Schwartz noted that nearly 70 percent of the adoption of Solaris has been on HP, Dell and IBM hardware.

"Solaris is quite definitively at this point, not simply a Sun operating system for Sun hardware," Schwartz said. "It is an industry standard platform that runs across every platform that we can find the market that gets the volume to sustain it."

That positioning is quite a turn from just a few years ago, when Sun shied away from other platforms and aggressively pushed Solaris on Sun hardware.

Software was just one part of Sun's news launch; the systems vendor also unveiled news servers and tape storage systems.