Sun's McNealy states his case

Urging government agencies to "join mankind," Sun Microsystems Inc.'s chief executive officer declared that Java-based technologies are the best way to deploy secure government networks.

"Name one Java virus," Scott McNealy said today, indicating that there are none. "It's not because there's not an installed base, and it's not because [Java] doesn't run on every device running on every microprocessor and every operating system, from smart card to supercomputer. It's because nobody has figured out yet how to write a Java virus."

He was speaking at the FOSE trade show, produced by Washington Technology publisher PostNewsweek Tech Media.

According to McNealy, there are 1.5 billion Java-based devices deployed worldwide, including 500 million smart cards running Java.

Still, McNealy said that in February, viruses and worms caused $73.5 billion in damages to other network platforms.

"The network is under attack," he said, "and we ain't seen nothing yet."

With radio frequency identification pilots beginning in the Defense Department, the network is getting bigger. Now, inanimate objects such as military supplies will communicate with government networks. The challenge, McNealy said, is to develop a trusted network computing platform.

Sun is addressing the challenge through three strategies, McNealy said: reducing cost and complexity, accelerating network services deployment and ensuring secure mobility.

"The worst job on the planet right now is running a data center," McNealy said.

To help agencies deploy Sun solutions, McNealy said his company has developed more than 35 reference architectures, which are ready-made recipes for building solutions. The reference architectures are created by Sun and its technology partners so that agencies "don't have to reinvent the wheel," McNealy said. They include recommendations for the software and hardware required to achieve a particular networking objective.

Chantilly, Va.-based GTSI Corp. is one of the Sun partners that helped design the reference architectures.

McNealy said Oakland, Calif., used a Sun reference architecture to migrate from a Tru64/AlphaServer platform. The solution saved the city $115,000 annually and reduced total cost of ownership by 30 percent, he said.

In the coming year, McNealy said he expects the Solaris 10 operating system to be "the hottest product." He emphasized that Solaris, which has Common Criteria certification, can run on Sun Sparc processors, Intel x86 processors and processors from Advanced Micro Devices. McNealy also demonstrated the company's Java Desktop, Sun's alternative to Microsoft Windows and Office, running on a variety of platforms.

"No processor or operating system doesn't do Java," he said.

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