Making Solaris Easy
The barriers to moving from AIX or HP-UX to Solaris are also not that great for those customers looking to do so, or for those looking to move back from Red Hat Linux, Gougen said wryly, adding that this is underscored by the very fact that some of those customers had moved off Solaris to those distributions in the first place. Sun also offers customers a different business model from its Linux competitors, making its OpenSolaris distribution available for free.This differs from the Linux model, in which customers cant get the commercial, supportable distribution for free."You have to get the support contract for that. We consciously chose a business model that distributed software for free, as this reduces the barrier to distribution," he said. HP-UX and IBMs AIX are also extremely vulnerable because there is no road map into the future for them, Goguen said, adding that Itanium is "a dead end. HP-UX is sitting on Itanium and they have said they have no plans to bring it to any other architecture," he said. "If you are an ISV looking at this, other than getting gobs of money from HP to port your applications, why else would you want to do this? Theres a very limited market there for your software. If I were an HP customer on HP-UX I would have Solaris under evaluation across the board. And the good news is that we are supported on a lot of HP hardware already today, so if you want to continue to use HP as your hardware vendor and move to Solaris, you can do that," he said. While Microsofts Windows will continue to be a competitor, as will Linux, the question there is whether Linux will come down to one or two big commercial distributions or end up as a lot of regional distributions, he said. Turning to the release of the next version of Solaris, Solaris 11, Gougen made clear that any such a release would be at least several years away. "Enterprise operating systems are three to five years in transition, typically, and there is not a single customer I have heard from who is asking about Solaris 11," he said. Solaris 10 is also binary-compatible with most legacy versions of Solaris and, for the most part, the new features the company is coming up with do not require a big architectural change to get them out, Goguen said, "So we have been able to integrate significant features into the operating system without having to change things that would result in a version change, so we have a lot of life there still." Read more here about Suns software giveaways. From a channel perspective, Sun is trying to penetrate a broader marketplace with its Solaris operating system, and the only way it could do that was through the channel, he said. The challenge was that Solaris is a very sophisticated product but, at the same time, lacks the easy-to-use tools that would make it really quick to deploy solutions associated with it or the Java Enterprise System. "So, we are aggressively trying to attack that, to make it possible for a channel partner to, say, easily deploy an identity management solution on top of Solaris into their customer base and possibly even manage it remotely with back-line support services from Sun," Gougen said. "We are trying to aggressively move to a point where we have solution stacks that are more readily deployable. We have some plans there, both in the short term and long term to make this possible." ILM (information lifecycle management) is one of the areas that Sun is working on simplifying for partners, he said, with the goal of making it possible for them to quickly and easily deploy it as well as manage it remotely, he said. Sun is also working to ensure that its Connection Services are channel-friendly so that channel partners can be well supported with tools and services. "We have to enable the channel to be able to offer these [services] to their customers and maintain the partner-to-customer relationship, where Sun can either deliver services directly or the partner puts their name to it and is responsible for managing and deliver that service to customers," Gougen said. While new services will be rolled out over the next few months, others that provide the remote management services will be rolled out over a number of years, along with an expanding array of Sun Connection Services to support its software. "This is an ongoing initiative for us," he said. Editors Note: This story was updated to include information and comments from analysts. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.