bye bye Sun? (go on, prove me wrong)

I’ve written before about our experiences with Sun JES software. A bit like oyster cards, it so nearly works really well but just ends up being frustrating 🙁

Our initial contract with Sun expires this summer. 3 years on it nearly works (which believe me, is progress on what we had to start with) and time comes to renew our contract. Two things seem to have happened. 1) we are being offered no discount which is a fair hike on what we paid to start with (admittedly, it was a great deal – or would have been if it had worked) and b) Messaging server and Calendar server (both of which we rely on) have been pulled from the JES suite and put into their own product…which is an extra charge on any new contract.

Upshot of this is that we are being asked to pay a 600% increase in yearly licence and support costs. This is to license the product that doesn’t quite work yet and for support that seems to involve posting our question on public forums… Hardly a bargain.

Last I heard was that they might be able to do something and may just about be able to get it down to a 300% increase. Well, if thats the best they can do then sod them, we’ll be moving to exchange. Actually, given the timescales it’s not really realistic to move this year so I suspect we will have to pay up for another year while we plan the migration (it also seems that the JES contract comes with 60hrs of PS time and $10k worth of training…I’ll be demanding a sun PS guy to come sit in the office for 60 hours while I throw things at him if that’s the case. Maybe they could help us build Exchange?).

Of course, once we move to Exchange it’ll intergrate nicely with Sharepoint. Outlook will finally work properly (you know, bloaty emails, winmail.dat and all the other shite that “power users” seem to require). Hell, it’ll even work with Outlook 2007 (come on Sun, I don’t *care* how complex it is – even you can’t claim that 2007 crept up on you as a surprise).

Once we have Exchange and Sharepoint then IIS becomes more appealing. Given how Microsoft aren’t known for their openness this can only be a one way move. Sun, are you listening? Prove me wrong and give us a sensible price for the software (which is barely past Beta if you are honest – as several of your own engineers have told me). One of your Java Campuses is a gnats prick from becoming largely a Microsoft shop 🙁

JES doesn’t work reliably. Support is patchy (improving I admit) and if I could be bothered to go through all of our case history I’m sure I’d find at least 85% of our calls have resulted in the problem being due to a bug in Suns software. Why should we pay a small fortune to debug *your* software (Hint: We can’t. We won’t).

Sun, yes your hardware is sexy. How about a few blog entries from Jonathan showing how you are sorting out the software stack instead of endless “Look how sexy our new hardware is” posts.

I few years ago I fought Exchange to get the open standards of JES based on promises from Sun. Now, I don’t think I care tbh. Management feel that Sun have shafted us and I’m beginning to agree

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5 Responses to bye bye Sun? (go on, prove me wrong)

  1. pao says:

    Still at least when Exchange is in place I can spend my staff development fund on a Blackberry and know it will work.

    🙂

    Shame the Sun software sucks big time though.

  2. Chris Keene says:

    There’s always lotus notes or groupwise *ducks* 🙂

    (why can’t someone produce some work group / mail / calendar software which does suck)

  3. dmc says:

    Notes? Shudder. If we have to move I guess I’d rather go with Exchange and be frustrated along with the rest of the world instead of frustrated on my own 🙂

    As for why no one makes something that doesn’t suck (I assume you meant doesn’t ) – I guess microsoft have it sown up. Outlook is *the* standard client that people want. I admit, it’s not that bad as a calendar client (blows as an email client though). Given the installed base of Outlook and Exchange it’s hard for anyone else to get a foothold.

    Sun have left it too late IMO to take on Exchange – it looked promising for a while but they appear to have blown it now ;-(

    Oh well, maybe time to move on. Anyone got a vacancy for a Solaris admin in the South East (well, except for *that* place….although, given staff changes over Sandwich way mebbe it’s not such a bad idea *hunts through old emails*….)

  4. Moof says:

    You could always go for another company that actually ignores its users just as much as sun and microsoft do, but actually produces good software which discourages bloaty email and stuff of that ilk, namely google.

    Surely a university running on gmail and google calendar and google talk can’t be any worse?

  5. dmc says:

    Storing email offsite – no no
    Storing email in US – no no no
    Also, I’m not looking to outsource myself – there is some level of self preservation required 🙂

    We have looked at google, they don’t have a UK solution (yet). Also, the whole outlook thing is still a problem with that route.

    http://www.zimbra.com/ does look impressive though – would be interesting to see how well that actually works (although even though it is open source, if we want support it is actually *more* expensive that MS 🙁

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