Combining Solaris with

By eweek  |  Posted 2004-08-23 Print this article Print

Opteron"> What you do have is the development of Solaris. Can you talk about the combination of the two technologies—Solaris and Opteron? On the technical aspects, obviously Solaris has been mature from a 64-bit standpoint, being the highest volume 64-bit operating system in history for a long time. So what were doing is a very large number of optimizations in the kernel and other parts of the system to take advantage of specific features in Opteron so that we run extremely high performance as well as have the reliability features that people are used to with Solaris. Some of that is shipping now in the 32-bit Solaris, and then we have a lot of that coming in the 64-bit Solaris, so we expect it to be faster and more reliable than any other operating system across a broad range of benchmarks on Opteron.
On the business level, the interesting thing is we own our own operating system, unlike all of the other vendors who are in fact shipping x86 hardware—that is Dell [Inc.], HP and IBM do not own an operating system, so we are already producing bundles by which the combination of pricing and service is 40 percent below what you would have to pay if you combined Dell with [Linux from] Red Hat [Inc.]. Its a very simple customer value proposition. Customers understand that buying the hardware is only the beginning of a journey. You actually need an operating system and a software stack above that, and you have to pay [for] service for those components over a long period of time. So with Solaris and with Java ES, we can combine those in promotional offers and subscription offers with Opteron hardware to get a much lower cost of ownership than our competitors can.
Can you expand on your plans on the technical side of the equation? For example, we have N1 Grid Containers, which is a feature of Solaris 10, which allows you to run multiple application workloads on a single box without requiring you to have multiple operating system copies. … The reason this is interesting in the Opteron space is because as we build, in particular, the eight-way Opteron, people will be able to consolidate a whole bunch of applications on Solaris very easily on an Opteron box and manage those separate applications without the overhead of paying for extra operating system copies. Weve done a lot of work at the kernel level to take advantage of Opterons memory capabilities as well as traditional registers for performance, and youll see those in benchmarks where running Java and Web services benchmarks, in particular, we will simply be faster than any other operating system in standard benchmarks running on the same hardware. We see Opteron as a great way for building compute building blocks, very cost-effective compute building blocks. The long-run strategy is that people want to manage services. Today, services are often scattered among a bunch of compute building blocks interconnected by networking. What youre going to see us concentrate on is, in addition to coming out with bigger servers as well as blade servers, youre going to see us concentrate a lot on networking and manageability. We will have products to help with networking connections, and well also have a great deal more software, both as part of the boxes themselves for management as well as being add-on management software so people can be very cost-effective and efficient in how they manage these systems. During the course of this year, well have additional systems come out that have a great deal of support for manageability, such as very flexible remote administration, complete remote upgrade, reliability and serviceability features that are not common in this price point—people can deploy very reliable systems with hot-swap components. Reliability is a big topic. We have a middleware stack called Java ES [Enterprise System]; we license it at a very attractive offer on a per-employee basis. We include clustering as a standard component in Java ES. You can actually cluster and do highly available services without paying additional charges. As a general rule, across the product line, youll see reliability and manageability, both in the software and hardware components, be a constant level of effort for us. We have a lot of experience in enterprise computing, both design of the computer systems as well as the operating systems and the middleware stack above them. Our heritage is really helping with the enterprise technology. What were doing is basically bringing that experience to x86, in both the hardware systems design as well as the manageability software and the operating system above it. Next page: Sun-designed components.


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