Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Server Formerly Known as Prince

I was in the pub the other night discussing Sun’s innate ability to confuse its customers. Sun has just announced that they are releasing a version of the Sun Java System Web Server version 7 as open source software under a BSD license, which is a shining example of a confusing product strategy. For those who aren’t watching carefully, or just don’t care this server has had more name changes than P Diddy. In fact, I didn’t know what “Sun Java System Web Server” was and who on earth thought that was a good product name? This server was formerly known as -

  • Netscape Enterprise Server (NES)

  • iPlanet Web Server

  • Sun ONE Web Server

  • Sun Java System Web Server

This is a classic example of Sun’s ineptitude in the Product Marketing department. Sun is changing for the better and many (including myself) want them to succeed. However it seems they are making the same mistakes with their next generation of product lines with their ESB offerings going by the name of JCAPS, OpenESB, GlassfishESB and Fuji. During the conversation in the pub no one quite understood how each of these related. Sun really needs to align their branding to build a complete story that is easy for customers and users to follow. It looks like they are heading that way with Glassfish, but people are still confused. Sun has a load of great products to offer and is still making acquisitions; it is imperative that they build a better product marketing strategy.

By the way according to comments on InfoQ, Java System Web Server version 7 does not include Admin tools or support for dynamic web content. The Web Server race was won by Apache WebServer long ago, I'm not sure Sun would bother spending time on this.