Sun and Microsoft have announced two further milestones in their four-year-old alliance, including the official opening of a Sun/Microsoft "Interoperability Centre" on Microsoft's Redmond campus in Washington state.

The centre is intended to optimise use of Microsoft applications with Sun Fire x64 servers and storage. The companies are also making Sun's Infrastructure Solution available for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007.

The centre will provide hands-on testing and tuning of Sun/Microsoft solutions and help joint customers achieve performance results, Microsoft said. Customers can run key Microsoft applications on Sun x64 servers.

"Additionally, with the new infrastructure solution for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Sun's expertise in x64 servers, storage and 64-bit database architectures will enable customers to significantly reduce email TCO (total cost of ownership) and ease the transition to the new 64-bit product," said Lisa Sieker, Sun vice president of systems marketing.

The Exchange Server solution is intended to help customers better manage email growth and realise benefits of Exchange Server 2007, the companies said. Pre-tested and end-to-end system and storage configurations allow customers to migrate to Exchange Server 2007 and save as much as 85 percent in rack space. Savings also would be achieved in power and cooling.

The centre will also promote interoperability in such areas as virtualisation, Java, systems management and identity, and collaboration.

It will certify Java Platform Enterprise Edition and Java Platform Standard Edition, including the Java Runtime Environment software for and with Microsoft operating environments and applications. Also, joint work will be done to enable cross-platform server virtualisation, including Windows Hyper-V and Sun xVM software.

Cross-company collaboration also will be done to allow Sun Ray thin client software to provide a virtual desktop for Windows.