New e-business platforms to debut

iPlanet E-Commerce Solutions and SilverStream Software Inc. announce availability of platforms to accelerate Web development and deployment

Microsoft corp., with its .Net initiative, isn't the only company unveiling a platform to cater to e-businesses. Both iPlanet E-Commerce Solutions and SilverStream Software Inc. last week announced availability of their own platforms to accelerate Web development and deployment.

The iPlanet Internet Service Deployment Platform sits on top of traditional networks and operating systems, said Mark Tolliver, president and general manager of iPlanet, in Santa Clara, Calif. iPlanet is an alliance between Sun Micro systems Inc. and Netscape Communications Corp.

Pete Kruckenberg, chief technology officer of application service provider Center 7 Inc., in Draper, Utah, said rapid deployment and scalability were key reasons for using iPlanet. Kruckenberg said the server allows Center 7 to focus on differentiation software for its clients rather than spending a lot of time on portal development. Scalability was another big issue, he added.

"It's not going to be satisfactory to [the customers] to start out with a lower-end platform that won't scale with them," Kruckenberg said.

iPlanet's platform consists of four layers. The Unified User Management Services layer includes the iPlanet Directory Server, delegated administration and PKI (public-key infrastructure). The Web, Application and Integration Services layer includes business-to-business integration services, the iPlanet Web Server and a J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition)-compliant application server.

The Communication Services layer includes a messaging server, calendar server and wireless server and, by the end of the year, will feature instant messaging. The final layer, Portal Services, includes the iPlanet Portal Server and personalization, membership management, aggregation and security.

Like iPlanet, SilverStream, of Billerica, Mass., is emphasizing the ability for rapid integration and development with two additions to its e-business platform: xCommerce, a B2B integration server and products using XML (Extensible Markup Language), and ePortals, a suite of electronic custom er relationship management software.

The xCommerce products are also J2EE-compliant and include drag-and-drop functions to XML-enable legacy systems. The products help companies manage applications and transactions across supply and trading networks.

SilverStream xCommerce pricing starts at $35,000 per server CPU and depends on configuration. iPlanet pricing depends on configuration.