Feeds

Sun ashamed of Solaris x86 past

We want to make amends

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

Sun NC03 Sun Microsystems is struggling to correct a big mistake - its lack of support for Solaris x86.

Over the past year, Sun has been talking up Solaris x86 more and more. The OS has joined Linux as an option for Sun's growing line of servers using Intel and AMD chips. While once a bastard child within Sun, Solaris x86 has seen its prominence within the company grow to new heights in response to what Sun sees as a missed opportunity.

"One of the biggest mistakes we made a few years back was not supporting Solaris x86," Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president at Sun, said in an interview. "Scott (McNealy) will tell you the same thing."

As the dot-com boom started to take off, Sun could arguably have pushed Solaris x86 market share at a rate close to that of Linux. Sun was selling tons of hardware, giving it a direct route to plenty of customers. Solaris was, and is, more mature than Linux as well. Sun, however, was too busy getting boxes out the door to see the opportunity at the time.

As one of the most successful open source products on the planet, Linux does enjoy a sense of community that Solaris x86 can't match. Schwartz, however, sees the fad of Linux wearing off in big businesses.

"There will be a transition back to Solaris," he said.

This is a typical stance for a Sun employee. While the rest of the non-Microsoft world champions Linux as the OS of the future, Sun continues to try and protect the Solaris franchise. And it's Solaris x86 that is meant to help the franchise grow.

John Loiacono, Sun's operating systems chief, told us that he is hiring in the Solaris x86 unit and trying to repair relationships with large OEMs.

In an odd twist, Alan DuBoff has joined Sun's Solaris x86 team. DuBoff was one of the "Secret Six" group of users that fought Sun to keep support for Solaris x86 high. After battling Sun for months, DuBoff now gets paid to nurture his favorite OS.

To make Solaris x86 a real success, Sun will need more help than just Alan. It could do with some deals with HP, IBM or Dell to promote the OS and this could be tough.

HP has been burned by Sun's soft Solaris x86 support. Pre-acquisition, Compaq had a decent sized Solaris x86 business on its ProLiant servers. When Sun paused in its development of Solaris x86, many of these customers ran for the hills and aren't too thrilled about coming back.

Loiacono said that wooing companies like HP and Dell is proving tough because of past actions, but he is, of course, confident that some deals can be done.

Sun has turned to EBS to help bring OEMs on board. We're tracking this deal and will keep you posted on how many Solaris x86 converts arrive.

In the meantime, Sun has a lot of work ahead of it to make up for old mistakes. We hear the leader of the anti-Solaris x86 movement was pushed out of the company, which is not a bad start. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
IBM storage revenues sink: 'We are disappointed,' says CEO
Time to put the storage biz up for sale?
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Symantec backs out of Backup Exec: Plans to can appliance in Jan
Will still provide support to existing customers
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.