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Sun brings open source database to Solaris 10

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Sun Microsystems has jumped feet first into the increasingly crowded open source database market by integrating and distributing Postgres with Solaris 10.

Postgres will be bundled with Solaris 10 in the first half of 2006. It will tap into Solaris 10 features such as Dynamic Tracing (DTrace) for performance turning, predictive self-healing and Solaris containers for virtualization. Sun will also provide worldwide support.

The deal is the first step in a strategy that will see support for other as-yet unnamed open source databases, to establish Solaris as "the premier enterprise database platform."

Glenn Weinberg, a Sun vice president, announcing the deal Thursday, said: "A lot of Oracle and [IBM] DB2 runs on Solaris. Now, with open source databases becoming very interesting, we want... to make Solaris the premier platform for deploying them."

John Loiacono, Sun's software executive vice president, said the primary focus of the Postgres deal are developers and enterprises running "small-scale" databases. "We want to be ahead of the game in the developer community," Loiacono said.

He stressed continued support for closed-sources databases, particularly Oracle but positioned Sun as providing customers "choice". Sun will provide benchmark information for customers deciding which database to run. Sun and Oracle renewed their long-standing alliance on Monday, with Oracle "chosing" Solaris 10 as its preferred development and deployment for x64 on Opteron and Xeon servers.

Just as well. Oracle is pushing into the low-end, price-sensetive market that uses Postgres with the free Oracle Database 10g Express Edition, Oracle Database XE, announced last month.

Sun's entry to the open source database market is the realization of a strategy first promulgated several years back by then software chief strategy officer and now president Jonathan Schwartz.

The timing of Sun's entry comes as the market heats up: Postgres and MySQL have been joined within the last two years by IBM's Derby for embedded systems, Postgres-start-up EnterpriseDB, and an open source version of Computer Associates International's (CA's) Ingres - spinning out from CA.

Having been stung by allegations of trying to co-opt open source with the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL), Sun stressed it would work with the Postgres community and not develop its "own" version of the database.

The deal is likely to prove popular with enterprise developers and ISVs, as integration gives the database assess to the scalability and improved management and diagnostics capabilities that have proved a hit in Solaris 10.

In additional open source news, Solaris Containers will run Red Hat Linux binaries without modification on Solaris by the year's end. The move means Red Hat can tap underlying scalability and management features in Solaris 10. Sun also plans to add the open source Xen virtualization technology in addition to the ZFS 128-bit file system to Solaris 10 during the first half of 2006. ZFS reduces the complexity in adding storage to a file system. ®

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