OpenSolaris Soon to Run on IBM Mainframes

The move will give IBM and Sun more flexibility with companies that are retooling their data centers.

LAS VEGAS-IBM and Sun Microsystems are in the final stages of an 18-month-long project to adapt the OpenSolaris operating system to run optimally on Big Blue's z System mainframes.

David Boyes, president and chief technology officer of Sine Nomine Associates, an Ashburn, Va.-based consultancy that handled most of the integration and migration duties, told eWEEK at the Gartner Data Center Conference 2007 here that the new IBM-tuned version of OpenSolaris will be ready soon. He declined to be more specific.

"Because there are three entities involved here [IBM, Sun, Sine Nomine], it will take a little time to sort through all the fine points, but it's up and running now and we expect it to be ready for [general availability] soon," Boyes said.

Boyes gave eWEEK a private command-line interface demonstration of the enterprise-level system running on a System z mainframe located in West Virginia. The brief demo showed all the nodes that were running, plus all the necessary administrative options, storage capacity and networking information. Then, on the last screen, it showed the Sun OpenSolaris name.

"This project has been in the works for about 18 months," Boyes said. "There are a lot of older Solaris boxes out there that companies are starting to replace. Some are coming back to the mainframe due to power/cooling and cost considerations. All those [administrators] won't have to be retrained in a new OS if they can run a version of Solaris on the mainframes."

Boyes said he knew of at least "30 to 40 customers that are lined up and waiting for this."

IBM has a lot to gain with the addition of another operating system-especially one with the enterprise reputation of Solaris-on its new mainframes.

Sun is working on expanding the hardware options for its software as it looks to boost its software support business. Two weeks ago, Sun and Dell announced that Solaris and OpenSolaris have both been sanctioned for use on all Dell servers.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...