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IBM & Sun Agreement Puts Pressure on HP

CowboyNeal posted more than 6 years ago | from the things-heating-up dept.

IBM 182

eldavojohn writes "IBM has turned to long time rival Sun in an effort to bring Solaris to its mainframes. Sun may be taking this chance to drop out of the server market while at the same time capture Solaris subscriptions via IBM sales. Either way, this certainly pressures HP in the server department."

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ATTN FRYS ELECTRONICS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20255423)

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Re:ATTN FRYS ELECTRONICS (-1, Offtopic)

Widowwolf (779548) | more than 6 years ago | (#20255441)

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Re:ATTN FRYS ELECTRONICS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20258331)

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Re:ATTN FRYS ELECTRONICS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20255461)

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Re:ATTN FRYS ELECTRONICS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20255629)

Works for me [outpost.com] .

out of the server market? (4, Insightful)

jcgf (688310) | more than 6 years ago | (#20255467)

Sun may be taking this chance to drop out of the server market while at the same time capture Solaris subscriptions via IBM sales.

I don't know, Sun is investing quite a bit in their new niagra processors, so why would they get out of the server business?

Submitter is an idiot (3, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 6 years ago | (#20255551)

Nowhere in the article does it say Sun is thinking of dropping out of the server market. Rather, it mentions that Sun is tied with Dell for the #3 spot. You'd have to be an idiot to think Sun was even considering walking away now.

Re:Submitter is an idiot (3, Informative)

ejito (700826) | about 7 years ago | (#20255807)

They won't drop out for quite awhile, but Sun was visiting universities (including mine), and their presentations were emphasizing a shift to services. Their long term goals are for support on top of open source software (they believe in house developers will become a liability for businesses, who in turn will shift their development to large businesses like Sun).

If IBM sells more Solaris servers, Sun wins long term software support and IBM wins hardware sales and support, and both extend their brands. Of course, having their own line of hardware keeps a steady stream of support business; but I think they'd move their hardware business over to smaller niche markets or consolidate it with a larger company in a fiscal heartbeat. Sun is looking at every way to capture more developers.

I for one... (3, Funny)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | about 7 years ago | (#20256719)

...welcome our new IBM/Sun overlo-- wait a second! They've always been our overlords!

IBM did that a long time ago (1)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | about 7 years ago | (#20258573)

They are mostly a service company that also sells hardware these days. And they are doing fine. It is not surprising if Sun wants to do the same.

Nah, this'll never fly (2, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 7 years ago | (#20258587)

Enterprise customers want a single vendor.

Why?

Admin: "There's a bug in the operating system, it's corrupting data under these circumstances"
Sun: "Naw, not at all. The problem is in the IBM firmware. The operating system is doing the right thing".
IBM: "WTF? no it ain't, the problem is in the operating system."

Queue many hours of haranguing both companies.

As opposed to:

Admin: "There's a bug in the OS, it's corrupting data under these circumstances"

Sun (Or IBM): "Actually the dump you sent us indicate the problem is with downrev firmware in your XXX adapter. Here's a patch which fixes it."

See the difference?

There are very good reasons for buying your systems from a single vendor, the big one is that they know how it works all the way down to the metal and they can get someone on site in 4 hours who can fix it, all the way down to the metal.

 

Re:out of the server market? (0)

Doctor Memory (6336) | about 7 years ago | (#20256791)

I'd rather hear a rumor that IBM will soon be dropping AIX (ack! pthhhht!) and only offering Solaris and Linux going forward. Up until recently, IBM's big advantage over Sun was that their boxes scaled to more processors (the Power-based ones, anyway). Now that Sun's finally shipping the Niagara-based stuff, IBM's advantage has shrunk, if not evaporated.

Hmmmm, let's just check something...well, whaddya know — there's a version of WebSphere for Solaris. I guess the Global Solutions guys won't have to learn Glassfish [java.net] after all....

Re:out of the server market? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20257059)

IBM has never scaled to more processors. Sun has scaled to 72 or more for the better part of a decade, while IBM's P-series generally capped out at 32 (although they did have one 64 way server).

Re:out of the server market? (0, Troll)

lscotte (450259) | about 7 years ago | (#20257161)

> I don't know, Sun is investing quite a bit in their new niagra processors,
> so why would they get out of the server business?

Because for those that can see past the marketing and know the hardware side of things, Sun doesn't have a hardware platform to stand on. They are touting the Niagra, but those in the know realize what a piece of junk it is (seriously, lots of issues with even the second generation), and the Opteron platforms don't scale above 4 socket/8 cores (you wonder why Sun is the only one selling 8 socket/16 core systems? It's because there's a technical problem there).

Re:out of the server market? (4, Funny)

Trailer Trash (60756) | about 7 years ago | (#20257749)

I don't know, Sun is investing quite a bit in their new niagra processors, so why would they get out of the server business?

They're also investing in a new line of viagra processors, which promise longer up-time.

Re:out of the server market? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20258209)

>I don't know, Sun is investing quite a bit in their new nigra processors, so why would they get out of the server business?

Especially since they've done such an exemplary job of minimizing habbo's exposure to AIDS by closing the pool.

Not really mainframes (4, Insightful)

Jim Hall (2985) | more than 6 years ago | (#20255483)

It's not really mainframes. Yes, the IBM / Sun agreement will eventually put Solaris on the IBM mainframe, but more importantly was this bit at the beginning of the article:

The collaboration announced Thursday will enable Sun's Solaris operating system to run on IBM servers. That means customers that run Sun servers will be able to switch to Big Blue's hardware without having to rewrite any programs. / At first this will be possible on IBM's "x" series of servers, which also run Microsoft Corp.'s Windows or the open-source Linux system. But eventually IBM hopes to bring Solaris to the mainframe, the big multitasking machines that have been one of the company's core profit centers for decades.

So you'll be able to run Solaris on IBM x-series hardware. This is a big deal. While you're unlikely to see big customers migrating their workload off the big systems (E25k, etc) to x-series, certainly you'll have customers moving smaller Solaris workloads to x-series. When you can run Solaris on IBM z-series (the mainframe) then customers can look again to move the big systems to IBM/Solaris.

Wow, it's just so weird to write "IBM/Solaris". :-)

Re:Not really mainframes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20255533)

IBM's x series hardware is Intel based. Solaris already runs on Intel/AMD hardware, in fact Sun sells x86-64 servers. The fact that Solaris runs on the x series is a non story.

Re:Not really mainframes (2, Informative)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | more than 6 years ago | (#20255709)

At least the older Solaris for Intel did not support different IBM options such as the ServeRaid controller, so you had to install something else like a Adaptec or something.
I have not tried Solaris 10 on IBM hardware, but 8(or 9, have forgot which one) was annoying and really only for die hard Solaris fans.

Re:Not really mainframes (2, Informative)

iarnell (578972) | about 7 years ago | (#20257435)

I stuck a Solaris 10 11/06 DVD into an xSeries 3650 only yesterday. No native support for the ServeRAID 8k (though there is a driver disk image on the latest ServeRAID Support CD). No native support for the Broadcom NetXtreme II ethernet interface (but driver is available from Broadcom). Installation still fails due to spontaneous reboots - but there might be a patch from Sun (haven't got that far yet). So no, it doesn't quite just run out of the box yet.

Re:Not really mainframes (1)

lokedhs (672255) | about 7 years ago | (#20257415)

It's a big story for companies who actually want to run Solaris on IBM hardware. So far it has been difficult for them to get support. When you pay 100k USD for a server, you expect to have full support for the operating system you intend to run on it. So far, IBM has been unable to do this for Solaris. Them doing it now is a big deal. Not technically, but from the business side of things.

Re:Not really mainframes (5, Funny)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 6 years ago | (#20255553)

Wow, it's just so weird to write "IBM/Solaris". :-)


Make that GNU/IBM/Solaris...

Thanks you! I'll be here all week...

You can do that already on the xSeries servers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20255627)

It's just not "supported".

But it works just about as well as RHEL 5 does - which is pretty damn well.

Re:Not really mainframes (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 6 years ago | (#20255663)

I'm not sure why you would want to run Solaris on xSeries when the Sun equivalents are generally cheaper and you would only have a single vendor to point at.

Re:Not really mainframes (1)

mjt5282 (107603) | about 7 years ago | (#20256003)

I know what you mean - in my old company, we had 1 problematic HP DL server running RH linux - of course, when we had problems, RH blamed HP and HP blamed the RH linux code. Of course, I had been spoiled previously because most of the Unix boxes used to be Sun Servers running Sun Solaris.

Re:Not really mainframes (2, Interesting)

Amiga Trombone (592952) | about 7 years ago | (#20257597)

I'm not sure why you would want to run Solaris on xSeries when the Sun equivalents are generally cheaper and you would only have a single vendor to point at.

I'd be a lot more interested in seeing Solaris on the P or I series servers. I wonder if that's in the works? Is Sun/IBM considering supporting Solaris on Power? Or perhaps Sun is considering transitioning to the Power architecture? It'd make sense - continuing to develop Sparc is a drain on Sun's resources, and IBM is itching to get Power (and it's derivative, Cell) established as an industry standard. I think IBM and Sun might have something to talk about, here.

Bait-n-switch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20255713)

Mod parent up, this is not about mainframes. Mainframes run the z-CPU (and z/OS).

A couple of additional points here. First, IBM paints a pretty picture about being all cozy with Linux. The truth is that they use it as a bait-n-switch tactic to get people to move to AIX or z/OS (all proprietary IBM Operating Systems). This means added revenue for IBM. That is, as soon as customers start putting a heavy load on the system, IBM will start pushing AIX or z/OS as a preferred solution.

It's all about getting the customer locked in. That's where the big bucks are. IBM has been doing this for years, and they are absolutely superb at this game, if not the best. Also keep in mind that IBM has reported huge revenue increases in the mainframe biz recently; IIRC, it's their most profitable sector once again.

So, watch out Sun. IBM will indeed push any Solaris customers over to their own solutions as soon as they can. It's not all peace, love and roses in this game.

Secondly, HP deserves all the crap here that comes on them. They have been losing the datacenter for years, have no viable plan for it, and have pulled out of every serious strategy available to them.

HP used to be a big partner of Platform Solutions, Inc. For those of you who follow this stuff, you might remember PSI as the only competitor left to IBM in the mainframe business after Amdahl, et. al., went out of business or got out of the mainframe biz.

IBM (in the same fashion that they used on Amdahl in the early days) sued PSI last November with a bogus Patent lawsuit (which is interesting, as PSI is rumored to be using Linux as part of their IBM-compatible mainframe solution).

HP, which used to view PSI as "the saviour of HP in the datacenter" went running away from PSI as fast, and as far as they could. In short, HP abandoned their last real option for the datacenter.

Unless HP gets its boat in order, they'll continue to be just a Printer and PC shop. They are of minimal threat to IBM, and are fast becoming a non-player in the serious hardware biz. Which is a pity, as before Carly, they were a top-notch outfit.

But personally, I have no confidence in their current CEO, as he doesn't seem to have the interest, fortitude or aptitude for this kind of game.

Re:Bait-n-switch (3, Insightful)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about 7 years ago | (#20256267)

A couple of additional points here. First, IBM paints a pretty picture about being all cozy with Linux. The truth is that they use it as a bait-n-switch tactic to get people to move to AIX or z/OS (all proprietary IBM Operating Systems). This means added revenue for IBM. That is, as soon as customers start putting a heavy load on the system, IBM will start pushing AIX or z/OS as a preferred solution.
Dunno about bait and switch being an IBM trait. You could say that for ANY IT vendor. You start out by buying their entry/lowend gear and if you continue to grow they start to recommend larger/higherend versions of their gear. There aren't many shops where the google/yahoo model (add more and more commodity servers...) works. While the largest x86 based server IBM makes can have 32CPUs (primary use is VMWare), i highly doubt that windows or linux could take advantage of that many CPUs for a large database installation, while AIX/OS400 have no problems dealing with high numbers of CPUs.

Since this is /. and we must have examples:

I'm sure...

Your network is made up of hundreds of 16port Cisco hubs and not 9slot Cat6ks.
Your storage sits on internal disk and not external arrays by EMC/HDS/IBM/HP..
You still ride the same 1 gear bicycle you had when you were 6, and didn't upgrade to one with more gears.
10Mb ethernet on coax is still the preferred medium.
Haven't upgraded from linux 2.2 or windows 95.

Re:Bait-n-switch (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20257377)

The should be paying more attention. Most of IBM's recent focus for AIX has been on the p570 and p590/595 boxen, not the 1x or 2x CPU type boxes that have to compete against the very similar i86_64 commodity boxes prevalent in the xSeries world. AIX is increasingly about big-time virtualization built on greater than 4x CPU systems (the minimum reasonable p570 "building block"). Allowing Solaris to run on xSeries and Blades gives IBM another way to sell more non-windows servers, while expanding the potential Solaris-on-x86_64 ecosystem. I supect the xSeries folks would be quite happy to have another operating system to help shift boxes, in addition to RHEL, SLES, and MS WinServer.

What's more, this isn't just about HP-UX versus Solaris; it's also about Oracle. One scenario here would be for IBM to create "n-tier" heterogeneous configurations with xSeries and/or BladeCenter App and web engines running Solaris along with Power back-ends running AIX and DB2-LUW (same as DB2-UDB; name has been changed for the sake of marketing confusion). Oracle's current desire appears to be in part to cut Solaris out of the picture (thought I saw something about 11i running on Oracle's mutant/deviant RedHat clone "first", and everything else "somewhat later"). If so, this IBM partnering strategy gives Sun some more options in terms of competing against Oracle/HP-UX (PA-RISC and Itanium) as well as Ms SQLServer/WinServer (HP-Compaq) platforms.

Finally, all this comes together later on, when Mainframe DB2 can be complemented with Solaris running on those funny "special duty" processors IBM has been releasing for zSeries big iron. Again, existing Solaris-dependent applications can be run against DB2 back-ends, but this time some recompiling may be needed.

Don't shoot me if any of the above needs some tweaking; I am just trying to paint the bigger picture here. But the bottom line is not so much "bait-n-switch" but offering Solaris customers (and especially application developers/integrators) the full range of IBM systems as "solaris-friendly", using DB2 as well as Oracle as the target database (on AIX or zOS, at least near-term). A customer wouldn't need to move up to the Mainframe unless they absolutely wanted to. But for customers who like IBM hardware, this permits them to use a Solaris/AIX heterogeneous Web APP/DBMS configuration with all hardware from one vendor. I can think of at least one recent situation for me personally where that would have come in mighty handy.

Of course, your mileage may vary ...

>

Ahem . . . (2, Funny)

hawk (1151) | about 7 years ago | (#20256371)

That should be GNU/IBM/Solaris, thank you. :)

hawk, whistling innocently

Re:Not really mainframes (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 7 years ago | (#20256489)

I don't see anything in the article about porting Solaris to the z-series. Which is hardly surprising: porting Solaris to a new architecture would be a huge amount of work, and it's difficult to see how anybody could sell enough extra systems or support contracts to make it pay.

On the other hand, Sun is already putting a lot of work into the x64 version of Solaris, because AMD-based systems is pretty much their best profit center. And the Sun/Intel deal only strengthens that. So it's not that much extra work to support Solaris running on IBM System x.

Re:Not really mainframes (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20257361)

No, it wouldn't be a "huge" amount of work. It would be significant, but no huge. One of the strengths of Solaris (if you really look down at the code) is that the architecture pieces are segregated out into a small interface layer.

On the teleconference today, IBM stated that there was a port being "worked on", that there was significant customer demand for it, and that they'd like to see it happen. But, they stopped short of saying it would happen, as there are too many variables at the moment.

Re:Not really mainframes (1)

hugorxufl (1071598) | about 7 years ago | (#20256631)

Wow, it's just so weird to write "IBM/Solaris". :-)
DaimlerChrysler still looks a little weird in writing.

Re:Not really mainframes (1)

MaggieL (10193) | about 7 years ago | (#20256783)

Wow, it's just so weird to write "IBM/Solaris"

No wierder than it was to write "IBM/Novell" back in the day of things like "NetWare for SAA"...

Re:Not really mainframes (1)

SEE (7681) | about 7 years ago | (#20258217)

Wow, it's just so weird to write "IBM/Solaris"
Well, I've been expecting some form of Solaris on IBM ever since OpenSolaris came out, whether or not Sun was willing to cut a deal with IBM. How much can a Sun x86 Solaris box do that an IBM/OpenSolaris x86 box couldn't? How many Solaris-running SPARCs could be replaced with IBM/OpenSolaris POWER machines (either p or i series), if the price were right? The POWER/PowerPC OpenSolaris porting projects were going to (eventually) make IBM able to compete in Solaris shops that wouldn't dream of going Linux or AIX. How much marketshare would Sun lose to IBM? And how much share would have to be lost before people decided Sun was doomed as a company, and switched to other platforms (especially with the easy migration path of OpenSolaris on IBM)?

However, IBM has demonstrated with Linux it would rather let another company get a cut than go through the effort of building up a full support team for a new OS entirely in-house. Sun would rather get a cut of IBM/Solaris business than not get anything from IBM/OpenSolaris. So it's win-win; IBM gets lower costs, Sun gets money and security against the biggest danger presented by its decision to release OpenSolaris.

Not necessarily mainframes (1)

simong (32944) | about 7 years ago | (#20258455)

When I read about this yesterday, as well as expecting a port to Power6, which isn't unlikely, I was wondering if Sun would be offering Solaris as a zOS virtual machine. zSolaris - now, that *is* weird.

Another nail in the server coffin for HP (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#20255495)

HP is getting to (or already has arrived) the point where their server support is laughably awful. Pair that with this recent announcement from IBM, and it could be interpreted as death knell for the Proliant line.

Re:Another nail in the server coffin for HP (4, Funny)

afidel (530433) | more than 6 years ago | (#20255701)

Hahahaha, HP makes the best x86/x64 servers on the market right now. iLo, quickstart, foundation pack, etc all make HP's way easier to manage then the competition. Not only that but 6Hr call to repair is impossible to beat in the x86 world. The only thing that's slightly lacking is first and second level support, but I almost never need them and as soon as they start wasting my time I ask for the duty manager so I can get an SME on the phone.

Re:Another nail in the server coffin for HP (1)

chef_raekwon (411401) | about 7 years ago | (#20256873)

wow. i hope hp is paying you for your plug.

side note: having used hp as well, i know from using sun/ibm, they also make very decent x86 servers. or you can build your own with barebones tyan boxen. and you can fix it yourself in less than 2 hours (or atleast the team bitch can (teh n00b) ;)

Re:Another nail in the server coffin for HP (1)

cow ninja (306125) | about 7 years ago | (#20257781)

How are you going to get iLo with a tyan box? Or fit 4 hotswap sas drive on a 1U with HP's great smartarray card? (http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/servers/prolia ntdl360/index-g4p-sas.html)

It sounds like you have never been an admin in a true 24/7 shop where uptime and space are critical.

Re:Another nail in the server coffin for HP (1)

Itninja (937614) | about 7 years ago | (#20257873)

I agree that HP makes great servers...my issue is with their support. I provide tier II support for 250 servers in my state. I have to call HP often for hardware support, and it take a freakin' act of Congress to have damn replacement RAM stick sent out.

Re:Another nail in the server coffin for HP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20255785)

Are you kidding me? HP intel/AMD hardware is always leaps and bounds ahead of IBM's x series hardware. I won't even get into the whole Bladecenter sham.

And support? You don't get any support from IBM for software unless you want to pay them. Lots of money. IBM can do anything, as long as you are willing to fork over tons of cash. And when you really need that updated driver, their website might not be working. Except for the sales page. Maybe the consulting page too.

HP isn't perfect, but they beat the pants off of everyone else in the intel/amd world, and have been doing so for some time now. Its a big reason HP bought Compaq, they were the beating the pants off of everyone then, including HP.

Re:Another nail in the server coffin for HP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20256161)

I don't think this is a nail in the coffin of the proliant but I hope it will help us all in getting rid of HP Integrity series(mostly the Alphas) and HP-UX.

Re:Another nail in the server coffin for HP (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | about 7 years ago | (#20256867)

Um, I think your wish has been granted. I just checked the HP site, and they don't list any Integrity series products with Alphas. It's all dual-core Itaniums (or MIPS in the Non-Stop series).

Re:Another nail in the server coffin for HP (1)

mistahkurtz (1047838) | about 7 years ago | (#20256575)

many HP servers support solaris already, so i don't understand how this could put much pressure on them. it would be easy enough to spin it as a "yeah it's a good idea, we've been doing it for years" sort of thing and be done with it.

as far as service goes.... i hear more complaints about Dell out-of-the-box service than anyone, and about as many as everyone else for their costs-more service (ie 24x7x4hr onsite). i don't have any charts or graphs to back this up, but i do sell the stuff, and have clients all over the business.

Re:Another nail in the server coffin for HP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20257491)

This isn't just that IBM Xseries servers can run Solaris. This is IBM actually being an OEM, selling support contracts for Sun, and has a cooperative engineering agreement. HP's relationship, as Jonathan mentions in his blog, is "arm's length". Yeah, they say that their servers will run Solaris X86, but they won't sell it to you, you have to go to Sun to buy your support contract, and HP has no engineering resources working to make their systems and Solaris work better together.

Re:Another nail in the server coffin for HP (0, Flamebait)

jackspenn (682188) | about 7 years ago | (#20258525)

Yeh, crazy HP, focusing resources on make sure Windows, RHEL, SuSE and VMWare ESX are supported.

What do you think they were thinking by not supporting dying OSes like AIX or Solaris?

Do you think it could be there is no compelling reason to use Solaris if you are not already using it today? Apart from ideology, there is no compelling reason.

Also my impression is that IBM's support of Solaris is to provide a transition path to IBM hardware from Sun Hardware, then after getting on the IBM hardware you can have developers work to move to Linux or Windows. Ideally move from Sun HW to virtual Solaris server on VMWare on IBM running next to virtual Linux server and transition services over.

I love Linux and I love Windows because they are evolving solutions that have useful attributes, but things like AIX, HP-UX, Solaris, etc. are largely stagnant solutions that exist to support legacy services.

This is unpopular to say on /., but the truth is Linux will not kill Windows, but it has already worked to kill all the fragmented UNIX solutions out there. Over time Linux will have to settle on one or two enterprise solutions to stay current with many of the side distros dying off or being relegated to hobby hacking.

- Eric

Let Jonathan explain the deal (3, Informative)

Bryan-10021 (223345) | more than 6 years ago | (#20255513)

``As many are already aware, we embarked upon a journey a couple years ago to formally separate the Solaris operating system from Sun's hardware business - as well as bring Solaris to the free and open source software world via a community effort named OpenSolaris [opensolaris.org] . None of these changes were easy, but I'd like to believe both were successful. What's my proof?`` Read the rest in Sun CEO's blog. [sun.com]

Keeping Solaris Relevant (3, Interesting)

d3xt3r (527989) | more than 6 years ago | (#20255675)

I don't buy the idea that Sun is looking to bail out of the hardware business. What they are looking to do is keep Solaris relevant. Sun doesn't want you to think Solaris requires Sun hardware. Sun realized that the only option for people wanting to go with x86/x86_64 chips and run a Unix-like OS on supported hardware meant running Linux or buying Sun gear.

Sun is looking to eat some of Linux's lunch. The question is, why is IBM interested?

Re:Keeping Solaris Relevant (1)

AxXium (964226) | about 7 years ago | (#20255765)

I agree on the looking to keep Solaris relevant part. There are many reasonable and attractive alternatives out there.

Re:Keeping Solaris Relevant (1)

Felix Da Rat (93827) | about 7 years ago | (#20256643)

There are many other options out there, both reasonable and attractive. The question is are they both more reasonable AND more attractive than Solaris. Sun is addressing the reasonable market by going open source with Solaris. As their support prices are dirt cheap, I'm using it on my home boxen.

Now attractive is a tough one to argue against, but I'd say that Sun is topping out on the attractiveness scale with the lack of drivers being the big limiter. I'd ask what technologies RedHat/Novell/Conical/IBM/HP are bringing to the table? Sun is rolling out ZFS, dtrace, Zones, and (this one have become my personal favorite) Services. Couple that with their history of Trusted Extensions and who else is as pretty? Who?

For the server market, I'd say that Solaris might be a bit homely compared to Linux, but she can cook a better dinner.

Solaris is only irrelevant if you play with toys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20255969)

Solaris has never been in any danger of becoming irrelevant. If you think that, it's only because you've been playing with toy computers.

Re:Solaris is only irrelevant if you play with toy (3, Interesting)

M. Baranczak (726671) | about 7 years ago | (#20256947)

Gotta love the Solaris fanatics. Next I suppose you'll be telling me that Linux isn't "real Unix".

Solaris is a fine OS, and it's got some features that nobody else has. But in some areas it's about 10-15 years behind Linux and BSD. Don't take my word for it - take a look at what Sun itself is saying. [opensolaris.org] Here's a few excerpts:

Solaris installation is ugly, slow, and difficult.
...
We use outdated networking technology (RARP and Bootparams) by default, rather than contemporary network protocols, and thus are often unable to automatically determine configuration attributes that are easily discovered by our competition.
...
We don't include the right set of initial configuration tasks, such as an initial user account, that are commonly provided by competitors. This results in an installed system which boots, and can be logged into as root, but it's then up to the user to hunt around and find a tool (or, more likely, edit the configuration files directly due to our paucity of tools and poor integration of those that exist into the desktop) to create a usable account.
...
One of the significant deficiencies in Solaris compared to our Linux competitors is our ability to easily install additional software after the initial installation.

Well, the good news is that Sun is actually working hard to fix these problems.

Re:Solaris is only irrelevant if you play with toy (1)

jhol13 (1087781) | about 7 years ago | (#20257461)

The installation problems are completely immaterial compared to update stability. For example all device drivers keep working after kernel update because they are both tested and binary compatible. This alone makes Solaris far superior compared to Linux (especially in servers). ZFS is a nice addition, and so is DTrace, NFS, etc.

Adding additional software is now about as easy as in Linux, but keeping system up-to-date is not (AFAIK). Hopefully Solaris will improve on both accounts.

Re:Solaris is only irrelevant if you play with toy (1)

Ami Ganguli (921) | about 7 years ago | (#20257773)

Solaris has a couple of nice features, but the Linux driver issue isn't a problem on servers.

The drivers on Linux that are a problem are mostly on consumer hardware - accelerated video in particular - where manufacturers refuse to release specifications. On server hardware high quality Open Source drivers are available for just about everything so upgrades go very smoothly. Everything "just works". Plus, on Intel hardware, Linux has better driver support than Solaris.

That makes sense since nowadays no serious server hardware vendor can refuse to support Linux. It comes with being a "mainstream" operating system - the same advantage Windows has on consumer hardware. Linus dictated that the driver ABI is not stable, and he has enough clout in the server market that the hardware vendors just have to suck it up and release source.

ZFS and DTrace are areas where Solaris is legitimately ahead.

Re:Solaris is only irrelevant if you play with toy (1)

M. Baranczak (726671) | about 7 years ago | (#20257785)

The installation problems are completely immaterial compared to update stability. For example all device drivers keep working after kernel update because they are both tested and binary compatible.
Driver stability is probably more important than ease of installation, but it's a completely unrelated issue. How can you say that installation is 'completely immaterial'? You have to install the OS at some point, don't you?

ZFS is a nice addition, and so is DTrace, NFS, etc.
I did say that Solaris has features that aren't available elsewhere (I was thinking specifically of ZFS, DTrace and Zones. NFS is a standard feature on every modern OS, so I'm not sure why you mentioned it.)

Adding additional software is now about as easy as in Linux
Now that's just straight-up nonsense. The Solaris packaging system is abysmal. It doesn't even do automatic dependency resolution! What year is this, 1990? There's Blastwave, fortunately, but it's an add-on system, so it can't be used to install or update the packages that come from Sun.

Re:Solaris is only irrelevant if you play with toy (1)

jhol13 (1087781) | about 7 years ago | (#20258511)

I install the OS only once, and installing Solaris is really not that hard.

Drivers in Linux break every now and then - and if your driver is not in the kernel tree you have to compile it yourself. Even if it is, you are the tester. Sun does run tests on Solaris drivers.

NFS is not really part of Linux, unless you refer to some 20 year old version.

Getting updates for Sun packages has never been a problem for me. Yes, an automated system which fetches the updates would be very nice, and so would be faster updater (it is horribly slow). But at least Fedora Core 6 has had working autoupdater for, let's see ... zero days (it fails to inform about updates far too often).

Non-Sun packages from Blastwave are as easy as in Linux, although sometimes slightly outdated.

Solaris is buggy and constantly being patched (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20258305)

We are a rather large Linux shop, I don't work directly on the systems thank god. We are used to running stable Red Hat systems of 3 and 4 variety. Used to run FreeBSD. These boxes have uptimes in years and only need to be brought down for memory and raid failures.

We recently bought a whole new large cluster to replace/expand their old system. We went with Sun/Solaris as the OS is included in the hardware costs so it saved some hundreds of thousands in licenses.

Solaris has kernel patches almost every month. There are unbelievably stupid memory configuration bugs with Sun's hardware and crashes from swapping. Sun tends to require that the machines are up to date in patches to get support. Sun also considers ZFS beta and doesn't recommend it. ZFS was one of the reasons for using Solaris. So we are looking at machines with uptime in days when they aren't crashing. The boxes also have rather crappy performance for the hardware that is in them. Solaris is about as enterprise as windows these days. It can't touch Linux or BSD in performance, hardware support, or reliability.

Re:Solaris is only irrelevant if you play with toy (1)

An dochasac (591582) | about 7 years ago | (#20258741)

The correct phrase is "GNU is Not Unix" and more importantly, GLNJL, "GNU/Linux is Not Just Linux" and GUBK, "GNU can be Used on Better Kernels." But I digress...

There are obviously areas of Solaris that are few years behind Linux but 10-15 years behind? No a chance. I started on Slackware 96, I spent several years supporting SuSE and I still use Ubuntu. Ubuntu is ahead of most Linux distributions on packaging and drivers and is also slightly ahead of OpenSolaris in this area. The sheer number of hobbyists and businesses using GNU/Linux means it is a year or two ahead on consumer driven software. The problem with both Solaris and Linux fanatics is they believe that because their O.S. works well for them on their hardware, it should be used everywhere by everyone. That being said, Linux is used in many places (enterprise servers, mainframes) where Solaris would be a much better solution. For the moment, Solaris isn't the ideal OS for Nokia's N series phones.

Sun made its biggest mistake(s) near the peak of its stock price, when Sun dropped Solaris X86 for a few months. Whoever made that decision should have been fired a dozen times over but that's water under the bridge now and Sun is back as a viable solution for IBM's customers. The only real question is why don't HP and DELL support Solaris for customer problems where Linux or Windows are square pegs in round holes?

Re:Keeping Solaris Relevant (1)

astrashe (7452) | about 7 years ago | (#20256273)

I think that this makes sense for IBM too -- IBM wants to do a little bit of everything, and to have access to customers with all kinds of different shops.

This deal gives IBM access to companies that are currently centered on Sun, and Sun is still pretty big.

Re:Keeping Solaris Relevant (1)

Vulcann (752521) | about 7 years ago | (#20256303)

Sun is looking to eat some of Linux's lunch. The question is, why is IBM interested?

Maybe IBM may be taking this from 2 angles
  • Enemy of my enemy is my friend
  • Keeping its options open with OpenSolaris just in case customers get scared off with potential litigation and decide against going with Linux
What I'm more curious about is what this will do to the AIX market.

Re:Keeping Solaris Relevant (1)

Verte (1053342) | about 7 years ago | (#20256503)

What I'm more cuious about is what this will do to the AIX market.
Very interesting question. How do the two compare? If Solaris is indeed superior, maybe IBM are getting a cut from Sun, too..

Re:Keeping Solaris Relevant (1)

Amiga Trombone (592952) | about 7 years ago | (#20257675)

If Solaris is indeed superior, maybe IBM are getting a cut from Sun, too..

Well, that's a dubious proposition right there. Having admined Solaris for 15 years, and AIX and HP-UX for about 8, I consider AIX to be head and shoulders above Solaris. If you look at Solaris 10, it look like it coped a good deal of features from AIX.

The same reason they were interested in linux. (1)

Generic Player (1014797) | about 7 years ago | (#20256577)

IBM just wants a unix for its systems without having to pay to maintain AIX. That's why they sell systems with linux, and that's why the are going to sell systems with solaris. Its better for them to offer both, so they can get linux business from the idiots who are dumb enough to think IBM cares about open source, and get solaris business from the idiots who think solaris has magical enterprise fairy dust that makes it better.

Re:The same reason they were interested in linux. (1)

5pp000 (873881) | about 7 years ago | (#20257163)

Solaris doesn't need any magical enterprise fairy dust to be better than AIX, if my recent experience with the latter is any indication. AIX is S-L-O-W.

Re:The same reason they were interested in linux. (1)

MoxFulder (159829) | about 7 years ago | (#20257279)

IBM just wants a unix for its systems without having to pay to maintain AIX. That's why they sell systems with linux, and that's why the are going to sell systems with solaris. Its better for them to offer both, so they can get linux business from the idiots who are dumb enough to think IBM cares about open source, and get solaris business from the idiots who think solaris has magical enterprise fairy dust that makes it better.
So... um, what should smart, well-informed people actually choose? I'm actually serious. Is there some other option that people see as superior to Linux OR Solaris for enterprise Unix stuff? I've heard great things about OpenBSD, including its painstakingly good hardware support in some areas, though I have only used it for a couple of months myself, and not in an administrative role.

Re:Keeping Solaris Relevant (1)

pavon (30274) | about 7 years ago | (#20256619)

The question is, why is IBM interested?
That is obvious - they want Sun's customers. IBM doesn't make any money off of operating systems, they make money off of hardware and support contracts, which is why they have been so supportive of linux. Using an open source operating system decreases their development costs, but more importantly make it easier for people to migrate to their hardware. No one starts off using IBM anymore. They start small with individual servers, then move up to clusters, and when that starts getting out of hand they migrate it over to IBM servers. By providing the option of running Solaris on IBM hardware, there is now another large customer base that can easily migrate over to IBM as their data center grows.

Re:Keeping Solaris Relevant (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20256731)

The question is, why is IBM interested?

They want the financial services market. Really. Major financials I've been in (yes, they're household names) run one of the following:

  • Linux
  • Solaris
  • Windows

That's probably the list of servers, in order of decreasing market share. In some of the larger ones, Solaris (both on SPARC and x86) win over Linux, while others have bigger Linux installations. What I haven't seen have been HP/UX. I've seen one financial use AIX boxes, and that was over ten years ago now. IBM wants inroads into these companies, however they can get it, and they see being able to run Solaris apps (anywhere from trading platforms like GL or Fidessa, to FIX engines to Market Data pieces) on IBM hardware as a big win. On the heels of IBM hardware come things like IBM support contracts and IBM consulting.

I'm posting this anonymously, because even though there aren't any identifying stuff here, I really don't want my employers to see this.

Re:Keeping Solaris Relevant (1)

SL Baur (19540) | about 7 years ago | (#20257217)

Sun is looking to eat some of Linux's lunch. The question is, why is IBM interested?
Unlike Sun, I see a lot of development activity on lkml coming from *@*ibm.com email addresses mainly aimed at the big iron. My best guess would be that Linux isn't quite up to snuff there yet. They certainly are not walking away.

Disclaimer:
IANALKD, but it sure looks like IBM is pouring a lot of development effort into (big iron) Linux.

Sun may be... (0)

milatchi (694575) | more than 6 years ago | (#20255689)

Sun may be taking this chance to drop out of the server market

Whaaaaaaat?

Possible Futures of Possible Pasts (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 7 years ago | (#20255827)

If Sun had bought Apple any of the many times it's been rumored the past decade or more, then IBM mainframes might be running OSX right now.

OTOH, if IBM had bought Apple any of the many times it's been rumored the past decade or more, then Sun might be going out of business right now, without this IBM contract keeping them in business.

Re:Possible Futures of Possible Pasts (4, Funny)

porky_pig_jr (129948) | about 7 years ago | (#20256093)

If sun had bought Apple, z-frames would have the iPod slot (and come with an optional matching white color).

Re:Possible Futures of Possible Pasts (1)

perlchild (582235) | about 7 years ago | (#20256243)

The former:
more like xserves would have no choice but to run Solaris...
With Apple Interface Guis so slick you can skate on them

The Latter:
You'd be hearing about FreeOSX, a competitor to Linux, bsd-derived, anytime soon...

Re:Possible Futures of Possible Pasts (1)

rwyoder (759998) | about 7 years ago | (#20257125)

If Sun had bought Apple any of the many times it's been rumored the past decade or more, then IBM mainframes might be running OSX right now.
Huh??? Go back and look at all the acquisitions Sun has made. With the exception of Cray and Kealia, their product lines are gone. If Sun had bought Apple, there is a 95% probability Apple would also be gone. Now if Apple had acquired Sun, (especially with Jobs at the helm), things would have been very interesting.

Re:Possible Futures of Possible Pasts (1)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | about 7 years ago | (#20257343)

yahoo says:

APPLE INC
Market Cap: 101.79B
Cash And Cash Equivalents: 6,392,000k

Sun Microsystems Inc.
Market Cap: 16.68B
Cash And Cash Equivalents: 3,569,000k

not mainframes or even high end machines from IBM (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20255859)

This is not Solaris on mainframes or even high end machines (PowerPC based ones) from IBM, Solaris will only run on the x86 servers that IBM produces. Not big news at all.

Doesn't add up (1, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | about 7 years ago | (#20255933)

IBM has turned to long time rival Sun in an effort to bring Solaris to its mainframes.

Yes, if you want Solaris, Sun would be the company to talk to. The fact that they WANT Solaris to run on their machines (not yet mainframes) is the news here, since they've been fierce competitors for decades.

Sun may be taking this chance to drop out of the server market while at the same time capture Solaris subscriptions via IBM sales.

That doesn't sound too likely, with open sourcing the core of Solaris a while back, as well as some important components. Admittedly, RedHat is doing fine with that strategy, but it really doesn't sound like something Sun would risk.

Why do I get the feeling both companies expect to be able to screw each other over, somehow in the future, with this agreement?

Either way, this certainly pressures HP in the server department.

Why? Even if IBM gets a few more points of the server market (taking it from Sun) HP's market share shouldn't be affected.

why doesn't IBM just buy Sun? (4, Interesting)

m2943 (1140797) | about 7 years ago | (#20256089)

Why doesn't IBM just buy Sun? They'd get control of Java and Solaris, they could kill the Sun/Microsoft dealings, and they'd get Sun's server customers. Granted, at 16B, Sun is probably still somewhat overvalued, but I think such a deal would be good for IBM overall.

Re:why doesn't IBM just buy Sun? (3, Interesting)

stevesliva (648202) | about 7 years ago | (#20256425)

I think that Sun may finally not be overpriced. It's forward P/E is similar to IBM's. I guess it depends on how correct the analysts are about Sun's prospects next year.

I've often wondered if IBM would just up and buy Sun, but there's a few reasons I think it would be a poor acquisition. First of all, the past five years or so have proven that the remaining Sun customers will not jump ship just because Sun's not building the fastest or cheapest unix boxes. These customers stick around because, for some reason, they like Sun. I won't speculate as to why, but there are quite a few reasons why that can be. If IBM buys Sun, those customers immediately like Sun a lot less, because they've been choosing Sun over IBM for years. Secondly, IBM has worked very hard for the past couple decades to never retire any substantial enterprise architecture. Combining AS/400 and RS/6000 has been a decade long project with the loyal AS/400 customers being skeptical the whole way. What does Sun bring? A second proprietary flavor of Unix, another line of RISC unix boxes with a different architecture, another blade chassis, and this newfangled exotic Niagara/Rock architecture. Looking at IBM's server history, they'd retire none of this, and development costs wouldn't decline. They'd rather that Sun foot the bill for continuing development of UltraSPARC and Solaris for a static or declining market, rather than buy those customers only to chase them away when killing the architecture, like what happened with Alpha. I don't see IBM paying $25B to Sun to merely begin making Sun's business worthless. (And I don't think that was the plan with DEC-Alpha, but I don't think Compaq planned on getting enveloped by HP.)

IBM wants growing businesses that improve their profit margin. If IBM could buy select parts of Sun, they might, even if they hardly ever make hardware acquisitions, but they really couldn't get the good without the bad, and even if they did, who knows what goodwill is lost when the profits go to Armonk rather than Silicon Valley?

Re:why doesn't IBM just buy Sun? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20256623)

A second proprietary flavor of Unix


How exactly is Solaris proprietary? I'm not quite sure what you mean by that word. Given that it's been open-sourced and has had major technologies (ZFS, DTrace) incorporated in other other systems (BSD, OS X) I can't see how it's any less open than (say) Linux.

Re:why doesn't IBM just buy Sun? (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | about 7 years ago | (#20257259)

In addition to all that true stuff you wrote, another reason why IBM buying Sun would not be such a good acquisition is cultural fit. Everyone I know who has recently worked for IBM says it's the same kind of button-down place it always was (I was a mainframer in the 1980s, and it was typical for an IBM CE to show up for an emergency service call at 3:00 AM Sunday morning in a suit and tie, the only question being would the suit be navy or gray; now that's button-down). Sun ain't like that, so merging the two companies together would be difficult.

My previous employer was acquired by a big, well-known company that was a very bad cultural fit. It was no fun at all, and I'm very happy to no longer work there. My current employer was also recently acquired by a big, well-known company, but the cultural fit is excellent and it's been great. I loved my job before, and I love it now. If IBM bought Sun, it would be bad for competition, probably bad for Sun customers, and probably bad for both Sun and IBM employees. Sun and Apple might be a workable cultural fit, but Sun and IBM? I don't think so.

Re:why doesn't IBM just buy Sun? (1)

SL Baur (19540) | about 7 years ago | (#20257737)

These customers stick around because, for some reason, they like Sun.
Sun stuff Just Works and it has for a *long* time. I've been around Sun in the workplace since the mid '80s. Except for their desktop stuff which used to be first class [the Postscript interface was a cool idea, but X was available by then and abandoning SunView was a disaster, and I won't talk about the Titanic, I mean CDE], everything else has been slowly improved.

At work I currently have a choice between Solaris, RHEL and Microsoft Windows XP as my primary workstation O/S. I'm using Solaris because as distasteful as CDE is, the machine just stays up. (The RHEL we have to use defaults to GNOME which is worse than CDE and I'm not allowed to perform the proper upgrades to get it configured properly and running something decent, oh well).

I'm hard and I'm easy. I will not accept a machine and/or O/S that (ever) crashes or needs to be rebooted in normal usage (I've had this at home since System V/R2[*]) and I will not accept a user interface that does not give me (multiple instances of, sorry Darwin) XEmacs and zsh terminal windows and (sorry Darwin) multiple desktops. Anything else is just so 1980's. With all its other failings, I still do prefer Sun hardware and Solaris because if I'm ever given a choice, that's what I always seem to choose.

[*] In 1999 when I started working for ETL in Japan they gave me a notebook computer with my choice of O/S - I chose Turbolinux, of course. I suspended/restarted that thing every day and never had to reboot a single time in the entire time I worked there - about a year of uptime. Can anyone claim something similar for any version of Microsoft Windows?

Re:why doesn't IBM just buy Sun? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20256499)

Because it is MUCH cheaper to just pay Sun a token license and make more money off of Sun's technologies than Sun can.

See body (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20256137)

FUCK YOU LAMENESS FILTER AIIIIIEEEEAAAARRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH



















IBM has turned to long time rival Sun in an effort to bring Solaris to its mainframes. Sun may be taking this chance to drop out of the server market while at the same time capture Solaris subscriptions via IBM sales. Either way, this certainly pressures HP in the server department.

Not the first time... (3, Insightful)

georgewilliamherbert (211790) | about 7 years ago | (#20256153)

In the 90s, there was a PowerPC port of Solaris 2.x. IBM has wanted to get out of the AIX business for decades. Sun had the chance to walk in and take over the UNIX market in pretty much one fell swoop, and walked away from it for percieved strategy benefits at the time.

IBM still wants to walk away from AIX... hence the Linux support. But I think they realize that there are businesses who are queasy about high end enterprise Linux who will jump all over Solaris, and it's essentially just having to agree to a marketing project now so it's free for everyone...

Sun doesn't want out of the server market. The server market keeps Sun's employees happy and well paid.

Re:Not the first time... (2, Interesting)

wytcld (179112) | about 7 years ago | (#20257091)

The curious question here is to what degree IBM and Sun have embraced not just their own alliances with the FOSS world, but accepted the underlying business philosophy of plenty. The more computers can do, the more the sales of computers and services. The more the software is simply available, ubiquitous even, the more uses will be found for computers, faster. The more the software can be recombined, the more synergies between computers and business methods will be developed. The richer the possible permutations, the larger the number of them which will find successful niches, and the more the hardware and services that will be sold to support those niches.

IBM and Sun compete, but it's not a zero-sum game. The larger contest is between the economics of plenty and the economics of scarcity. If plenty wins, the markets grow much faster than when scarcity wins, and there's more than enough room for a number of players to do very well indeed. If scarcity wins - and Microsoft and Apple are both playing scarcity tactics, trying to hoard strengths rather than share them - the overall economy stays relatively smaller, and the game moves closer to zero-sum. These are interesting times.

Sun is not getting out of the server market (1)

MavenCCIE (1143763) | about 7 years ago | (#20256233)

This is very interesting news. It was only a matter of time until everyone realizes that Solaris is the killer OS. And if you read the article, they aren't getting out of the server market. They are looking at the opportunity to capture more OS installations. Lets face it, Solaris is an impressive OS. I can't wait for the Rock processor to come out. It is going to rock! No pun intended. :)

This is dissapointing. (1, Interesting)

MrJerryNormandinSir (197432) | about 7 years ago | (#20256307)

Sun was a hardware innovator. What happened? I would like to see come back with some new innovative
hardware. Gee... I learned Unix on a Sparc 2 pizza box. I got to play with Sun E4000 machines,
and later Sunfire servers. I'd like to see Sun Get back into the game.

Re:This is dissapointing. (1)

uofitorn (804157) | about 7 years ago | (#20256417)

You sound like someone who got to play with a sparc box in college but has since missed out on the newer equipment.

We run a largely 15K installation here, but the recent T1000s and T2000s are impressive. Sun's never left the game IMO.

Re:This is dissapointing. (5, Interesting)

mjt5282 (107603) | about 7 years ago | (#20256679)

Are you kidding me? Sun has just announced the T2 (Niagara 2) processor - 64 concurrent threads. High speed 10G networking. Built-in encryption support for apache. Sun is still in the "game" - its just that the "game" has changed and Sun can no longer make money selling $1M USD refrigerator-sized servers. Hopefully, Sun can make money by selling the most technologically advanced sub $20K servers that are optimized for scalability, throughput and middleware (Databases, web, infra etc).

Re:This is dissapointing. (1)

Nexx (75873) | about 7 years ago | (#20256837)

I'll add my praises to Sun's servers. Their x86 line rocks. Fact that it comes with 4 GigE cards on the board (HP's ones only come with 2) makes them invaluable to high-transaction trading environments where the machines are network-bound and not CPU or disk-bound.

Total marketing non-news (1)

afabbro (33948) | about 7 years ago | (#20256347)

All that is certain from this article is that IBM is going to certify its xSeries (x86) boxes to run Solaris x86. Big deal. They already do...this is just saying that it'll be supported. Now, if IBM announced that Solaris will run on Power6 and they're dropping AIX, then you'd have some news. Jonathan Schwartz rather fatuously states "To me, this is a tectonic shift in the marketplace" - give me a break.

Re:Total marketing non-news (1)

M. Baranczak (726671) | about 7 years ago | (#20256739)

There's an article at the Register [theregister.co.uk] about this. It says that Sun may be looking to port Solaris to Power, but doesn't go into any detail.

There's already a sub-project in OpenSolaris to port it to PPC, but from what I've seen, Sun isn't putting too much weight behind it. This deal might change that.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend. (2, Interesting)

postbigbang (761081) | about 7 years ago | (#20256383)

Let's talk enemies:

Sun has x686 Solaris ports, and IBM's still heavily invested in Inel and AMD hardware, as well as their own Power and Cell CPUs. and SUSE (Microsoft's new best friend) has ports on IBM iron, ranging from tiny stuff up to S390) which I'm sure Sun is jealous of.

IBM, now that SCOx has essentially been wiped from the screen, wants more business, and they don't make that much from Windows stuff. They sell IRON and SERVICES. They stopped operating systems at OS/2 and decided to let others do it. Fine.

IBM has service revenues and gets into a lot of NOCs. They like Linux, 'cause it's all value (read $$) add. They understand iron, they understand services.

The multi-core UltraSparcs are an engineering marvel.... and they're selling like old mortgage debt on Wall Street right now. That silly Linux stuff is pumping it out. Call it a toy if you want, but a bullet is a bullet and if you don't need howitzers, bullets are fine. Add in VMWare, Xen, or whatever, and you have a loaded gun with several rounds in it. That's where servers are going right now: virtual.... and Solaris containers aren't so wonderful.

Microsoft is getting bitten at the ankles by just about everyone. Let's count the ways: uh oh, SCOx will soon run out of money and will stop biting the ankles of IBM and Novell. Pity. Adobe wants to bring an office suite to market. Google hires Sun's StarOffice to be in their bundle. Several companies, weakly but in a virgin kind of way, start selling desktop Linux of various flavors. Microsoft co-opts Ubuntu and makes a slave of Xandros. How silly.

Add to the cake Steve Jobs stealing thunder wherever he can seed clouds. Salt it up with rotten DRM in Vista, and an underwhelming adoption when your server sales are cannibalized by your own inability to ship Windows 2008/Longhorn server.

As Vonnegut might say, Microsoft is feeling the breeze that occurs when the excrement hits the airconditioning. Schwartz is still upwind of that.

Re:The enemy of my enemy is my friend. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20256685)

Add in VMWare, Xen, or whatever, and you have a loaded gun with several rounds in it. That's where servers are going right now: virtual.... and Solaris containers aren't so wonderful.


And where does Solaris run? Physical x86? Check. VMware? Check. Xen? Being ported as we speak [opensolaris.org] .

Personally I don't see what the problem is with containers: the main "limitation" is that you need to have the same kernel revision for both global and non-global/guest zones. They're a very good tool for light-weight virtualization and are handy for many use cases (like the FreeBSD jails that inspired them). If you don't have a need for the 'use cases' that they were designed for that's not necessarily the a design fault.

Tell me again why Linux is better?

What about HP/Itanium vs Sun and IBM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20256571)

HP/Intel bet huge resources on Itanium, and as we all know did not take over the world. Although the Itanium found some niche markets in high performance computing, I don't think that it made any inroads in the server space. How does this effect the relative positions of HP, Sun and IBM?

HP doesn't make CPU hardware any more, and Sun and IBM both have major investments in CPU lines, yet we have Sun porting to IBM hardware. Does this mean that CPUs are better as pure commodities? Or is this more a case of good and bad business decisions on the part of the three players? I don't follow the server end of the market very much and this is very confusing.

So.... Big deal? (1)

BookRead (610258) | about 7 years ago | (#20256589)

We just had an app that got developed on an E280R running Sol 10 x86 switched to an X4100 running Sol 10 and the developers were complaining the X4100 was noticeably slower. So, I don't think Sun's worried about Solaris x86 eating their hardware sales. x86 just gives them some reach outside of the expensive Sparc systems. But when you want performance on Solaris you get the the Sparc systems. I think HP supports Solaris, too, on their systems. It's pure PR.

Sun get out of the server market?! (1)

SwashbucklingCowboy (727629) | about 7 years ago | (#20256827)

Sun may be taking this chance to drop out of the server markett
Not likely! In a recent blog entry [sun.com] , Sun was crowing about sales of their CoolThreads servers: "$550 Million in sales and a 225% growth rate - year over year." While that's only about 4% of their revenue, that growth rate is going to be hard to walk away from.

What's in it for IBM (4, Interesting)

Daishiman (698845) | about 7 years ago | (#20256957)

Disclaimer: I work for IBM.

IBM is becoming primarily a services company, doing systems development, "solutions architecture", and outsourced operations. A LOT of people at IBM are familiar with Sun technology and have used it at one point or another. Heck, most of the Global Services staff that maintain AIX servers also maintain Solaris servers. How hard do you think it would be for IBM to expand their business saying "Sure, we support Solaris. We can build that payroll system that you need for your company on your existing Sun infrastructure. BTW, can we interest you in a new pSeries for these workloads?".

Indeed, this is opening up a new area of the market where they can now claim expertise and recognition. And when the installed customer base is satisfied with what they have, it'll be 10 times easier to migrate their hardware to IBM stuff, and software to IBM proprietary OSes, if there's more profit to be made there.

Sun is not dropping the server market... (3, Interesting)

Fallen Kell (165468) | about 7 years ago | (#20257269)

They have too many new technologies in active development for them to drop out of the server market. Their new Sparc processors, and motherboard chipsets truly have major advantages over current Intel offerings. The new T2 processors in a 4 or 8 CPU system can and will stomp over anything out of Wintell (64 threads per CPU, time 8 CPU's makes 512 ACTIVE processes at a time in a single box! Now imagine a beowulf or grid cluster of those! Hell, simply imagine a single rack!). No, Sun isn't leaving the server market, they are simply expanding their OS market, nothing more. Which is a good thing. The more hardware that can run Solaris, the more it will be seen by new people who may not be familiar with it. The new capabilities for self healing processes, zones (think like VMWare, but each is running a contained Solaris, without a ton of overhead from having the separate kernel instances, as well as being able to portion exact percentages of resources to each zone. This allows multiple "budgets" too pool together and buy a big(er) server then they would otherwise and have assurances that each group would get at a minimum X% of CPU time (or memory, or bandwidth, etc., etc.) on the system, where X corresponds to the percentage of the cost that the department/group/unit paid to purchase the server, and if no one else is using the system, well, you get to use all its resourses...).

No Sun is far from leaving the server market. Very, VERY far.
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