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Sun beefs up software for ISPs

Solaris ISP Server now has faster Web server performance, a more user-friendly interface, the ability to run Java programs, and more.

Sun Microsystems has beefed up its software for Internet service providers for quick-'n'-easy server setup.

Solaris ISP Server, which runs on systems using both Intel and Sun's Sparc chips, now has faster Web server performance, a more user-friendly interface, the ability to run Java programs, and support for Microsoft FrontPage extensions to Web pages.

The ISP software offers much of what a budding Internet service provider would need to get set up, except Internet email service, which is available as a separate package.

The software, which costs $5,995, lets people set up Internet servers that offer services such as FTP file transfer, Usenet news reading, and Web service. It's geared for medium to large sites. Sun released the first version of the product, 1.0, in July 1998.

The ISP Server software also offers features for keeping the server secure from unauthorized use, for allocating the bandwidth assigned to different functions, and for monitoring how well services such as FTP or email are working.

The software can handle 10,000 Web sites, 5,000 concurrent FTP connections, and 2,000 concurrent news connections.

In addition, Sun has begun selling calendar software that lets people keep track of their schedules across the Web. Calendar Server, which works on Sun's Solaris operating system, costs $875 per server.

The software fits into Sun's vision of network-centric computing, in which central servers handle most tasks and users can connect from all over to perform tasks such as checking email. Not coincidentally, Sun also sells many of those high-powered servers.