IBM, Sun Deliver OpenSolaris Prototype for IBM Mainframes

IBM and Sun Microsystems deliver a prototype of OpenSolaris running on the IBM System z mainframe, with the help of a consultancy named Sine Nomine Associates.

IBM and Sun Microsystems have made good on a promise to make open source code from the OpenSolaris operating system available on IBM System z mainframes.

Enlisting the help of Sine Nomine Associates, a consultancy out of Ashburn, Va., IBM and Sun on Nov. 3 announced the availability of OpenSolaris-based prototype code running on an IBM System z mainframe. SNA developed the prototype with equipment and financial assistance from IBM and technical assistance from Sun, the companies said.

In November 2007, at the Gartner Data Conference, IBM, Sun and SNA demonstrated the early stages of the OpenSolaris-based prototype running on an IBM mainframe, illustrating the OpenSolaris operating system and the IBM mainframe's proven ability to virtualize the data center, the companies said.

The IBM mainframe provides an attractive environment for the OpenSolaris platform, particularly in shops looking to leverage the reliability and scalability afforded by the IBM System z.

Moreover, enterprises with existing C/C++ Solaris-based applications running on Sun hardware can easily migrate to OpenSolaris on System z, Sun officials said. Sun's Solaris, upon which OpenSolaris is based, is widely used in data centers among financial services and other sectors. And IBM officials claim that running Solaris on an IBM mainframe in a virtualized environment offers resource management benefits.

More specifically, the move can help enterprises reduce energy costs, save floor space, consolidate hardware and securely manage their most complex transactions, IBM said. For instance, a single IBM z10 mainframe is the equivalent of 1,500 x86 servers with 85 percent less energy costs and 85 percent less data center space, IBM officials said.

Sun created OpenSolaris as an open-source effort in 2005 to build a developer community around the Solaris operating system. In May 2008 the community delivered the OpenSolaris OS, a single distribution for desktop, server and high-performance computing deployments.

A download of the prototype is available here.

IBM officials said OpenSolaris runs as a guest on the mainframe's z/VM, which allows many virtual images to run simultaneously. Moreover, with the release of the code, developers throughout the open-source community can now participate in the project and help extend the port.

"We are pleased that our collaboration with Sine Nomine Associates and Sun has reached a key milestone by creating this OpenSolaris OS prototype for IBM's z/VM, and we look forward to the active participation of the open-source community on this project," said Bernard Meyerson, IBM fellow and chief technologist in the IBM Systems and Technology Group, in a statement.

Also in a statement, David Boyes, chief technologist and president of Sine Nomine Associates, said, "The delivery of OpenSolaris OS for IBM's System z hardware augments the scope of the extensive research that SNA has done on massive-scale data center virtualization, extending our initial scalability work on Linux for IBM System z and expanding the tools and skills that can be brought to bear on today's enterprise computing problems."