Sun Purchases Mainframe Rehosting Software

Unix giant Sun Microsystems, Inc. said Tuesday itpurchased the mainframe rehosting business from Critical Path, Inc. for anundisclosed sum. Sun will get Critical Paths’ technology, assets, anddevelopers related to the rehosting business.

Critical Path’s Trans, Batch, and PATH/3270 productsallow enterprises to run mainframe applications on Solaris systems. They havesoftware layers that let the application talk to Solaris. With this software,administrators can replace mainframes with Sun servers, or offload somemainframe applications to less expensive hardware, while using the sameapplications.

Chris Kruell, group marketing manager for Sun hardware,says Sun’s enterprise servers, such as the Sun Fire 15,000, offer better totalcost of ownership (TCO) than IBM Corp. mainframes. Hardware, service, andsupport costs all factor in to a lower TCO, compared to a mainframe. “Sparc ismore cost-effective than PowerPC,” Kruell says.

According to Sun, administrators can easily shiftmainframe binaries over to a Sun system running a rehosting product. Kruellsays some code-tweaking may be necessary, but Sun’s professional services canmake minor changes to make the applications run correctly.

Pete McCaffrey, IBM’s program director for zSeries,says Sun understates the amount of work that goes into rehosting mainframeapplications. “Rehosting often means rewriting, which introduces new costs andchallenges,” he says. He says the customers he talks to can find no compellingbusiness reason to move their mainframe applications over to Solaris machines.

 –Christopher McConnell