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Java hardware start-up wins early allies

Azul Systems partners with BEA Systems and JBoss in its bid to popularize special-purpose hardware to centralize Java server programs.

SAN FRANCISCO--Azul Systems, a start-up hoping to sell special-purpose hardware to centralize Java server programs, has won two significant allies in its bid to popularize its technology: BEA Systems and JBoss.

Azul announced certification and marketing partnerships with BEA and JBoss at Sun Microsystems' JavaOne trade show here this week. BEA and JBoss compete with each other in the market for application server software, a product for running Java programs on the powerful networked computers called servers.

Azul sells servers with numerous custom-made processors tailored to run Java instructions. But the Java programs themselves reside on conventional servers, running the show while transferring the grunt work of processing to the Azul systems. In Azul's conception, a single Azul system can supply processing power to several conventional Java servers.

The handoff to the Azul systems requires that the conventional server's Java software--the foundation supplied by companies such as BEA and JBoss--be adjusted to redirect appropriate operations to the Azul systems.

BEA and Azul have been working on certification activities since last fall, and the two companies will conduct joint sales and marketing activities. The JBoss pact involves certification and promotional work, Azul said.

Azul launched its Compute Appliance line in April with prices as high as $800,000. The company also has a partnership with IBM Global Services.