With no upgrade path for Solaris on non-Sun hardware, Groenveld said he was now "under a lot of pressure from customers to transition our existing servers back to Microsoft." Logicals Hopper agreed. By closing the door to Solaris 9 on x86 hardware other than its own, Sun will force developers and research and educational institutions to gravitate toward a lower-cost Linux or Microsoft environment, he said.The community wants Sun to release Solaris 9 as a stand-alone product, not just as a bundle with its two-way LX50 rack-mount server, which runs Solaris 9 and Suns Linux operating system. "Sun still regards software as something that helps sell hardware. Nothing more. And they want to push sales of the LX50," Hopper said. Bill Moffitt, a Solaris product line manager in Menlo Park, Calif., said the solution for customers wanting to run Solaris 9 on the x86 architecture is to buy Suns LX50 boxes, which are offered with an Intel Corp. 1.4GHz Pentium III with 512MB of memory or dual 1.4GHz Pentium IIIs with 2GB of memory. Moffitt defended Suns business model, saying the company was a complete systems provider that wanted to deliver a system it could stand behind, support and guarantee. "Selling a stand-alone operating environment that runs on random pieces of hardware is simply not part of that model," he said. Sun continues to talk with representatives of the developer and user community about a broader offering on the x86 platform. Related stories:
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Sun to Ship Solaris 9 for Intel Servers
Solaris in the Cross Hairs
Solaris 9 has numerous enterprise features, such as homogeneous networking, which allows single sign-on and secure computing. "Not having access to the advances found in Solaris 9 puts us at a grave disadvantage," Hopper said.