Oracle Corp. is betting its future on Sun Microsystems Inc.s Solaris operating system instead of the open-source Linux alternative.
Oracle, of Redwood Shores, Calif., is moving away from Linux as its primary internal development platform on 32-bit machines, opting for Solaris 10 for development for most x64 (x86, 64-bit) architectures, including Suns UltraSPARC-based systems and x64 Opteron and Xeon processor-based systems, company officials said.
The move will likely mean greater adoption of Suns Solaris going forward. Customers were upbeat about Oracles decision.
Thomas Nau, head of the Communication and Information Centers Infrastructure Department at the University of Ulm, in Germany, welcomed the move, saying he hoped it would help push other vendors to make their software available on the Solaris x86 platform. "It also allows us to move our databases to boxes with a better price/performance ratio, where appropriate, without having to learn about another operating system or its specialties. Currently, some 95 percent of our central services are provided by Solaris 10 on SPARC," Nau said.
Judson Althoff, vice president for global platform and distribution alliances at Oracle, said there are now more Oracle customers using Solaris than Linux, so using Solaris as the internal 64-bit development platform made sense.
"A certain number of customers will choose Linux, and we want to make sure our products run on Linux and perform best on Linux. But we also feel that, on an ongoing basis, customers are evaluating performance, technology enhancements and want choice when it comes to architecture. We feel that Solaris 10 provides that, and, for us, it is the one operating environment that allows you to design for scale-out and scale-up environments," Althoff said.
Larry Singer, a senior vice president and strategic insight officer at Sun, said that Oracle is a leading member of the Java community and takes full advantage of the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) and architecture, which provided another benefit for their mutual customers.
"This is just great news for us and comes after many years of a close relationship with Oracle. Having Oracle choose Solaris 10 as its preferred development platform gives Solaris a big boost. This is, for us, a fairly logical follow-on to [the fact that] we have more than 3 million registered users of Solaris, and Oracle, like all ISVs, is interested in volume," Singer said.
The upbeat take on Solaris on x86 hardware stands in stark contrast to the roller coaster ride of 2002 that marked Suns indecision about supporting Solaris 9 on x86. Sun started the year by saying it would defer the productization of Solaris 9 on Intel Corp. x86 hardware, but customer and partner protests led to a reversal of that decision later in the year.
Singer admitted that Oracle had, over the past few years, been encouraging Sun to broaden the user base for Solaris beyond just SPARC users. Solaris 10 is now available on more than 500 hardware platforms other than Suns, "and we think we have now met their challenge there," he said.