Sun lands Orion software customer

Sun Microsystems sells its Java Enterprise System of server software, code-named Orion, to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

Sun Microsystems has sold its Java Enterprise System of server software, code-named Orion, to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA), the server maker plans to announce Tuesday.

Sun's server software has not been as popular as competing products from companies such as IBM, Microsoft and BEA Systems. With Orion, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun hopes to force the industry to drastically lower prices.

Server software sellers typically charge more depending on how many software packages a customer uses or how much use the software gets. With the Java Enterprise System, Sun charges a company $100 per employee per year for the full suite of products, which handle tasks such as e-mail delivery, online calendars, Web site hosting and username-password matching.

BCBSMA, already a customer of Sun hardware, will use Orion for governing employee access to computing resources, a task formerly handled by software from Waltham, Mass.-based Netegrity. The health insurance company also paid for Sun Professional Services to handle migration from the old system.

Sun declined to detail the cost of the software for BCBSMA, but said 3,300 personnel will use it. The insurer expects its software choice to pay off in a period of 18 months.

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