dcsimg
RealTime IT News

Retailers Open Their Stores to Solaris, Linux

While Sun Microsystems is known for its accomplishments in the financial services and telecom industries, the company is now touting wins with retail establishments.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based network computer maker said it has convinced five new customers including Kelly-Moore Paints, Guitar Center, and Air Terminal Gifts to move to its Linux-powered systems. The retailers are all hosted under Sun's partnership with iForce partner Tomax's Retail.net software.

Even better, Sun Industry Director Bob DeLaney said, more retailers are converting to Sun's Solaris OS. He said they include Benjamin Moore Paints, Ultimate Electronics, Ratner Companies (Hair Cuttery Salons and Bubbles Spas), Sportsman's Warehouse and Grace Kennedy Company (a Jamaican retail conglomerate).

"Retail is somewhat the last bastion of proprietary systems," DeLaney told internetnews.com. "These are the customers that rarely, if ever, change their infrastructure. But we're seeing a dramatic change in the industry where retail companies want the same cost savings as the financial services customers."

DeLaney said beyond IBM legacy systems, Sun's progress in retail venues also gives it a chance to take business away from Dell and HP, which both offer point of sale systems.

"And as RFID starts to take off, there are challenges for edge servers, on the retail sales floor as well as in the back warehouses and distribution centers," DeLaney said, while pointing out Sun's work with radio frequency identification tags .

Complementing the strategy is the addition to Sun's OEM partners of 12 new members, including makers of servers, workstations, supercomputers, telecom equipment platforms, VPNs, and notebook computers.

Sun said the new membership will help extend Sun's Solaris OS beyond its own product lines. The list includes ASA Computers, Continuous Computing Corporation, Electronic Business Solutions, Flight System Consulting, NatureTech, Pinnacle Data Systems, Portable One, Rave Computer Association, S-Terra Group, System Works Corporation, Think Computer Products and Tokyo Forex Financial.

The company said its Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) for the Solaris OS on x86 has doubled in size in the last six months and currently includes more than 200 supported x86 systems from both Sun and third party vendors. Key ISVs like BEA, Sybase, Oracle, and VERITAS have already signed on to support their solutions on Solaris x86.

"Following on the heels of last month's agreement with Rackable Systems, this groundswell of support from 12 OEMs is further proof of the strong momentum behind the Solaris OS on x86," Ann Wettersten, vice president of systems software marketing at Sun, said in a statement. "As we continue to push hard on growing the Independent Hardware Vendor ecosystem for the Solaris OS on x86, we believe this will have a snowball effect in driving even more Independent Software Vendor adoptions."

Newly appointed Executive Vice President for Network Systems, John Fowler told internetnews.com that Solaris OS on x86 will certainly start taking off as soon as the company fills in some of the holes of Sun's server lineup.

"With just a 2-way Opteron server, I don't have a product line," Fowler said. "We'll be making some announcements next month in Singapore [at Sun's NC04 event]. At that point I will feel stronger in what I'm doing."

Fowler, who previously served as Sun's Chief Technology Officer for Software, said his focus now is a more comprehensive product line based on Sun's relationship with AMD . The strategy is to offer 2-way and 4- way, workstations, and larger systems base on Opteron, which can run not only Sun's Solaris but Microsoft Windows and Linux as well.

On the hardware side, Sun spent some time this week opening up its storage cluster hardware specifications. The company is now offering support for non-Sun storage arrays including third-party storage devices from storage heavies like EMC, IBM and Network Appliance. The collaboration is jointly supported by the Technical Support Alliance Network (TSANet) and includes a self-certification test.