Sun Microsystems and Microsoft have significantly expanded their existing relationship in an agreement that makes Sun a Windows Server 2003 OEM that will sell, pre-install and support that server software across its entire server hardware line.
Windows Server 2003 will be available on Sun x64 systems within 90 days, and Sun will also provide other utilities and value-added software offerings to server systems carrying Windows Server, John Fowler, the executive vice president of Suns Systems Group, said at a media briefing on Sept. 12.
“Our entire server line will be available to come with Windows Server 2003 preloaded, and we are already open for early orders. Many of our customers want to use Suns platforms together with Microsoft Windows to solve their most difficult business computing problems,” he said.
Sun has become a single source for Solaris and Windows on the its x64 systems and storage products, and customers can now take advantage of the virtualization benefits of Windows and Solaris on Suns energy-efficient x64 systems, he said.
Read more here about the release of Windows Server 2003 SP2.
This agreement is also specific to Windows Server 2003 and does not include the upcoming Windows Server 2008 release, which is due in the first quarter of next year, Fowler said, adding that the big change for its customers under this new agreement was that Sun could now preinstall Windows Server 2003 and would sell joint solutions with Microsoft.
For his part, Andy Lees, the corporate vice president for Microsofts Server & Tools Marketing and Solutions Group, said having Sun as a Windows Server 2003 OEM would offer great value to their shared customers, who would now have an additional choice of Windows Server OEM partners with Sun.
The deal was also another example of Microsofts commitment to 64-bit computing, and Suns hardware platform was an excellent foundation for Windows-based enterprise solutions, including those built on SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Virtual Server, and Microsoft IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) Edition, he said.
The two companies will also continue to work together to test and validate the Windows platform on Suns x64 server and storage products for scale-up enterprise computing.
They will also collaborate on the virtualization front so as to ensure that Solaris runs well as a guest on Microsoft virtualization technologies and that Windows Server runs well as a guest in Suns virtualization technologies.
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“With Solaris we have an operating system that already has built in virtualization, which is available at no cost, so we can do application and operating system virtualization. But Solaris doesnt necessarily solve all customer problems and, with Microsoft working on its new Viridian offering, we are very excited to connect our engineering leadership with Microsofts to see how we can make these environments work better together,” Fowler said.
Sun Becomes a Windows
Server 2003 OEM”>
The move also had less to do with the competitive environment and more about the fact that 100 percent of Suns customers ran both Solaris and Windows and so it was a “very natural thing for us to work together on these technologies,” he said.
Microsofts Lees noted that its virtualization solution already supported Linux and so it was natural to have it support Solaris and for Sun to make sure that Windows worked effectively in a Solaris virtualized solution as well. “I wouldnt say the reason for this move was competitive, but rather a natural evolution of where we have been and what we are doing.”
Sun and Microsoft also plan a joint support process for customers using these virtualization solutions to ensure that Windows and Solaris provide a solid virtualization experience.
Asked if Sun planned to support Microsofts Virtual Hard Disk image format specification, Fowler said that the company was looking closely at the standardization efforts underneath virtualization and always made a strong effort to adopt standards. “I think VHD is obviously still under evaluation and revision.”
Read more here about the interoperability lab Microsoft and Novell have opened in Cambridge, Mass.
The two companies also plan to build an Interoperability Center on Microsofts Redmond, Wash. campus. The center will include a demonstration area for Sun x64 systems, act as a working lab for Windows on Sun benchmarks and sales tools, and support customers running proofs of concept for projects focused on Windows on Sun x64 systems, including joint Sun/Microsoft solutions in areas like databases, e-mail and messaging, virtualization, and Remote Desktop Protocol support in Sun Ray thin clients.
The Interoperability Center will expand Suns presence on the Microsoft main campus, where some of its systems are currently showcased and customer-tested in the Microsoft Enterprise Engineering Center.
The two firms will also continue to collaborate on advancing the global deployment of the Microsoft Mediaroom IPTV and multimedia platform on Sun server and storage systems, Lees said, pointing to an AT&T solution that uses Suns hardware for IPTV on the Microsoft platform.
This expanded interoperability agreement builds on the initial cooperation agreement that was signed by the two companies in April 2004. It resulted in joint collaboration on interoperability for Web services, identity management, thin clients, systems management and Windows Server engineering.
Read more here about Sun and Microsofts interoperability Tango.
The two companies have also created a basis for tighter interoperability between Platform Enterprise Edition (Java EE), the Microsoft .Net Framework 3.0 and Windows Communication Foundation in Suns Web services interoperability technologies, known as Project Tango.
Sun is also a member of the Microsoft Interoperability Vendor Alliance and a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner.
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