Sun Delivers Solaris 9 x86 Platform Edition

Sun delivered the long-awaited platform Thursday saying it affirmed the company's committment to Unix.

Sun Microsystems Inc. on Thursday delivered its long-awaited Solaris 9 x86 Platform Edition, previously reported by eWeek, more than a year after the company first said it would delay the product.

Sun first announced that it would postpone the productization of Unix-based Solaris 9 for x86 in January 2002, but customers put enormous pressure on the company to reverse that decision. A group, known as the Secret Six, also stepped up to the plate to negotiate with Sun in this regard. Alan DuBoff, the president of Software Orchestration Inc., and one of the Secret Six, said on Thursday that he was pleased Sun had listened to the x86 community.

"By offering Solaris 9 on x86 hardware, customers can once again take advantage of the rock solid operating system on a low cost platform," DuBoff said. "Solaris has long been a leader in the enterprise sector and the addition of the Sun ONE software stack makes the Solaris x86 Platform Edition a very attractive and cost effective solution."

Jonathan Schwartz, Suns executive vice president of software, said the move affirmed Suns commitment to Unix, and extended the full benefits of the Solaris 9 operating system to commodity entry-level x86-based servers. "We are seeing a growing market opportunity and Sun is expanding its products and services into the x86 server market.

"While industry competitors abandon Unix, Suns strategy guarantees customer continuity and global support for Unix on its entire line of both SPARC and x86 systems, and on third party x86 systems," he said.

This move comes in the face of aggressive programs put in place by Sun competitors like IBM and Hewlett-Packard Co. to lure Unix customers to Linux.

The Solaris 9 x86 product offering is itself targeted at Microsoft Windows server users, and offers management and hardening features previously unavailable on x86 servers.

"Solaris 9 provides customers with a far more secure and less expensive alternative to Microsofts competing Windows servers," Schwartz said. "It also offers newly integrated Sun ONE products, along with secure networking and content delivery functionality. Sun expects to deliver an integrated Sun ONE software portfolio on the Solaris x86 Platform Edition within the calendar year."

While commercial pricing starts at US $99, there is no charge for non-commercial usage. OEM pricing is also available. The Solaris 9 software can be downloaded from Suns Web site. The Solaris source code will also be made available. Sun also offers Linux compatibility at both source and binary levels.

Sun on Thursday also announced broad support for the platform and product from ISVs and customers, including Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Sybase Inc., BEA Software Orchestration, Quantiva, Nuance, Computer Associates International Inc., Symantec Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc.

"Verizons use of the Solaris x86 Platform Edition will help us continue to increase reliability and security while reducing overall costs," said Shadman Zafar, the senior vice president of IT Architecture & services for VerizonCommunications.

Marty Seyer, the vice president of AMDs server business segment in the computation products group, said enterprise customers could benefit from the proven performance and dependability of AMDs Athlon MP processors together with the scalability and manageability of Solaris 9. John Gray, the vice president of Global Alliances at BEA Systems, said he was confident its customers would respond favorably to Solaris x86, and be able to benefit from the experience BEA and Sun have in optimizing and tuning their software on Solaris.

To date, the Solaris x86 Platform Edition has over 1.1 million registered licenses and features over one thousand certified applications in many different markets. "Enterprises want security, scalability, global support and price/performance. … With the evolving functionality of the Java platform and Sun ONE portfolio, Sun now stands alone in redoubling its commitment to Unix and in lowering costs and increasing security in a tight spending environment," Schwartz said.

The Solaris 9 x86 Platform Edition lowered the total cost of acquisition by a factor of as much as 15 compared to a two-way web server configuration of the Microsoft Windows 2000 Server.

"Unlike the Microsoft Windows 2000 server and the Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server, the Solaris 9 x86 Platform Edition includes at no additional cost the Sun ONE Directory Server 5.1, the enterprise-class proxy and firewall features of SunScreen 3.2, Enterprise Volume Manager, and support for IPv6," Schwartz said. "The product also bundles the Solaris 9 Resource Manager, valued at $1190, at no additional cost, providing guaranteed service level for applications and improving CPU utilization through consolidation of applications."

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