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Sun, Wingra team on email

Seeking to solidify its position in enterprise and ISP markets for mail software, Sun extends its partnership with the service firm.

In an effort to firm up its position in the large enterprise and ISP markets for email software, Sun Microsystems today announced an extended partnership with migration tools and services specialist Wingra Technologies.

Sun is also trying to attract customers using Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes to its messaging server.

The new agreement enables customers to integrate Sun Internet Mail (SIM) Servers with Exchange, Notes, and other email servers, such as Novell GroupWise. It also provides migration tools to move email users to Sun's software from those companies' products.

With Wingra's migration technology, the stored email and folders of all the email users can be moved by a central administrator to Sun's server.

The announcement by Sun is similar to recent moves by Microsoft and Novell to go after Lotus's huge base of cc:Mail users.

"This helps us take our SIM server to places where we want to go," said Julie Saffren, senior product manager for Sun. "We know there are those out there who want to migrate to an alternative to Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes."

Although Gartner Group analyst Joyce Graff said Sun has traditionally targeted the large enterprise and Internet service provider markets, the migration tools and services brought in by Wingra allows Sun to go after the corporate markets that are using Exchange, Notes, and cc;Mail. "There is definitely that motivation."

But Graff also said that Sun does very well as a "vanilla email" provider, meaning that it provides a straight messaging server without the other groupware software, like calendar applications, mixed in. Microsoft and Lotus supply those kinds of extra features with their programs.

However there is no denying the desire to get at cc:Mail users. "In the corporate market, Sun is saying 'we'd be glad to be your messaging system. You can migrate, or if you want to use an ISP service, we can connect you,'" Graff said.

The first release of SIMS with these new Wingra technologies is expected by the end of the year.