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Praise be! Sun Microsystems has snagged another customer for its JES (Java Enterprise System) software subscription service, and the customer is none other than the Holy See.

It turns out the Vatican needed a messaging system of biblical proportions. It picked up some of Sun's Ultrasparc-based servers running the Solaris operating system, some storage and Sun's Messaging and Directory Servers. Sun notes that "in just two months" it managed to create an "end-to-end messaging infrastructure." It's not clear if that was meant as bragging or an admission of guilt.

"E-mail is one of the most important IT services we provide at the Holy See - enabling our internal communication, facilitating correspondence between our consulates, and aiding our worldwide evangelization efforts," said Sister Judith Zoebelein of the Internet Office at the Holy See. "We now have an efficient, easy-to-manage enterprise communications solution that can reliably support our massive volume of daily e-mail traffic."

This canned quotation seems to be a reward for Sun's work during the crisis that hit the Vatican's servers following John Paul II's death and the subsequent election of Benedict XVI. During this period, the Vatican's web servers, according to information from Netcraft, changed from HP's HP-UX systems to Sun's Solaris systems. A couple of Sun underlings were busy notifying the press of this switch, saying the Vatican picked Solaris over HP-UX to handle the huge amount of web traffic created by the Papal hubbub.

Sun could use a helping hand from the Almighty where JES is concerned. Interest in the subscription package has waned in recent quarters, prompting Sun to change its JES pricing. Instead of $100 per employee per year, customers can now pay $140 per employee per year for all the JES software or buy individual packages for $50 per employee per year. Sun did not have the individual package offer before.

Based on the two packages the Holy See picked up - the Messaging and Directory Servers - it looks like the Vatican grabbed the Java Communications Suite for $50 per employee per year. At last count, the Vatican had about 2,700 staffers.

"Moving forward, the Holy See plans to build a new worldwide portal to strengthen its web community and centralize its multiple external and internal Internet sites," Sun said. "Sun is now working with the team to implement the Portal Solution with components of the Sun Java Enterprise System. The new portal will provide users with fast, anytime access to comprehensive applications and services, including content management, streaming, e-learning, and collaboration."

Amen. ®

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