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HP smacks Sun with Solaris stick

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It appears that HP's fondness for Sun Microsystems' Solaris operating system has returned. The hardware maker today announced quick support for the latest version of Solaris across a number of its Intel-based servers.

HP now supports the November 2006 release of Solaris on the HP ProLiant BL20p G4, BL460c, BL480c, DL360 G5, DL380 G5, DL580 G4 and ML570 G4 servers. That places Solaris on every one of HP's BL Series boxes and the majority of DL Series systems. HP pitches the Solaris love as a ploy for moving customers off Solaris on SPARC servers and onto its own hardware.

To that end, HP announced a partnership with Transitive to make sure the Solaris/SPARC to Solaris/x86 switch is as painless as possible. Transitive's QuickTransit software lets applications compiled for Solaris run on top of Linux sans modification.

Compaq once stood as the top Solaris x86 backer until Sun halted development on the version of its Unix operating system for Intel and AMD chips. Sun later changed its stance to back Solaris x86 with full force, but has struggled to get rivals - such as HP, IBM and Dell - excited about shipping its software.

The competing server makers do support Solaris x86 on limited numbers of systems or by special request. Sun will also step in to support the gear.

HP, however, seems to once again be taking Solaris x86 more seriously than its main foes. As mentioned, it provides inhouse support for more than 20 64-bit servers. You can find the full support list here.

Intel also recently announced its undying love for Solaris – again and again and again.

Sun's fierce Solaris x86 push remains a bit curious in that it lets rivals undermine one of the more unique bits of the company's own Xeon and AMD server pitch. But spreading Solaris as far as possible could benefit Sun in the end by expanding its chances to sell software and by keeping developer interest high.

"We have a bunch of customers that run Solaris on HP," said Sun's CEO Jonathan Schwartz, speaking today at a conference in San Francisco. "We are very interested in creating a relationship with HP.

"The motivation is to give the customer the choice. In the long run, that's what will make him more interested in Sun."

HP's news statement announcing the Solaris support – you read that right – trailed off for a moment to make an obligatory plug for HP-UX, which ain't running on x86 boxes.

"HP's robust UNIX operating system, HP-UX 11i, benefits Solaris customers challenged with highly demanding workloads," HP said. "HP-UX, together with HP Virtual Server Environment and HP Serviceguard, make virtualization fast and easy for mission-critical applications."

We're sure that Solaris customers everywhere love the benefits they get from HP-UX everyday. ®

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