Solaris Users: No Rush to 9

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2002-06-03 Print this article Print

There are 'no seismic changes' but some impressive features.

Sun Microsystems Inc. may have a new challenge before it regarding the companys new Solaris 9 operating system: convincing contented Solaris 8 users its worth the upgrade.

John De Stefano, a software engineer with 3ParData Inc., in Fremont, Calif., said his company is in no rush to move to Solaris 9 but not because of a lack of features or functionality. "We are a midrange Sun shop, and most everything we have is currently on Solaris 8," De Stefano said. "Given that we dont have a big Web infrastructure, there is no great motivation for us to move to Solaris 9 at this point."

3ParData, which builds carrier-class storage servers, is testing Solaris 9, and, so far, De Stefano said the company is impressed with some of the new features and technologies, such as improvements made to Network File System, multipatching I/O and software partitioning. In the end, its something the company will "eventually" upgrade to, he said.

A Solaris 9 beta tester at Barclays Capital, the investment banking division of Barclays Bank plc., in London, said he, too, is in no rush to upgrade.

"There are no seismic changes from Solaris 8 to 9," said the tester, who requested anonymity. "It is more of an evolution, and so there is no real value for us to upgrade at this point. We are also very cautious about moving to new versions and only do so after thorough testing."

But he expected Sun to continue to innovate with Solaris 9 and to release additional features and functionality that would, over time, make moving to Solaris 9 compelling.

Nevertheless, some analysts said Solaris 9 should be worth the upgrade. "I dont see any potentially disruptive features in Solaris 9 that could make it a hard-sell upgrade," said Al Gillan, an analyst for International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass. Gillan estimated that between 30 and 40 percent of the Solaris installed base runs Solaris 8.

Sun officials said they are confident that the adoption rate for Solaris 9 will be better than that for Solaris 8. "I think over the next 12 months, we will see customers start doing a Directory on one instance of Solaris 9, and I expect to initially see large numbers of single-instance usage on new machines," said Anil Gadre, Suns vice president of Solaris software, in Palo Alto, Calif. "But the performance improvements that come with 9 will be compelling to users, and we expect this to drive adoption."

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel