Solaris goes 64 as Sun turns up screws on NT

Ed Zander is claiming a three year lead over Microsoft, but he's nearly two ahead of himself...

Sun will turn the screws on Microsoft today with the announcement of Solaris 7, the 64-bit version of Solaris, on its own Sparc and Intel's IA-64 architectures. The announcement comes a full year before NT 5.0 is now rationally expected to ship, and around 18 months ahead of the likely arrival of a version of NT 5.0 with what you might describe as '64-bit characteristics' (see Microsoft NT 5.0 for Merced could be 32/64-bit hybrid). Naturally there's more than a little marketing to today's pre-emptive strike from Sun. The company has been doing well in the server market, but is coming under pressure from Wintel boxes in workstations. Announcing 64-bit now allows it to beat the drum over NT's lateness (president Ed Zander has been claiming a three-year lead over Microsoft), and consolidate its gains in high-end servers. At the moment, though, its 'lead' in IA-64 64-bit is only notional. Like everybody else in the galaxy, Sun intends to ship Solaris 7 for IA-64 when IA-64 ships (not a lot of point in shipping before, really). As Microsoft is the main target, talking about it now makes sense, as it allows Sun two bites of the cherry. It can grind on about NT 5.0 being late, then when/if NT 5.0 for IA-64 ships, it can sneer about it being a holding action and/or kludge. No doubt Sun will enjoy the next two years. ® Click for more stories

Sponsored: 10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity