Countdown to Solaris 10 Begins

Sun Microsystems is expected to formally debut
Solaris 10 as the cornerstone of its software vision when it kicks off its
Take Back Wall Street
crusade in New York.

The operating system, designed for use in Intel Xeon and AMD Opteron processor-based
servers, has been available in bits and pieces during the course of the year,
courtesy of Sun’s Software Express. Customers have already downloaded 500 million preview
versions, but the company said the New York event will be their first opportunity to see the full version
in action.

“With so many customers and partners now test driving the Solaris 10 OS,
we are committed to delivering the programs, services and resources they
need to ensure a smooth and successful transition into production
environments once we flip the switch on the final release,” John Loiacono,
executive vice president of software at Sun, said in a statement.

Inside Solaris

Among the features in the next-generation OS include the so-called “big five.”
Solaris 10 include N1 Grid Containers,
a partitioning technology; DTrace, a diagnostic tool for system administrators;
Predictive Self Healing; Crypto Infrastructure; and ZFS (Zettabyte File System),
which gets its roots from the classic POSIX-compliant Unix file system.

Each feature is designed to augment the base operating system and make it
either easier or faster to operate. For example, DTrace comprises three main
parts: a set of at least 25,000 dynamic probes in the software; a framework
that activates and deactivates those probes and gathers information from
them; and a simple C-like scripting language (called “D”) that is used to
control and automate the collection and enable the display of the system
data.

In addition to the “big five,” Sun has included “Clustrex,” a single-node restart
as standard; “FMA/Greenline” self-healing and fault management;
InfiniBand support; “Atomic Operations,” a set of tools or programming
libraries; BART (Basic Audit and reporting Tool), which is like a “lite”
version of Tripwire; more advanced NUMA optimizations; and more
security/authentication features.

In Support of Solaris

During the next 90 days, Sun said it would release a number of new
technologies, migration tools and support programs for Solaris 10.

Sun Studio 10, which is expected in the coming
quarter, works with AMD Opteron and Intel Nocona processor-based systems
to run 64-bit applications.

Sun also has created the Solaris Developer Collection, an information and support program to
accelerate developer adoption of the OS.

Sun Cluster Oracle RAC SVM Edition, which the
company integrated with the Solaris Volume Manager, will also see light in the coming
months. The software is Sun-compatible for Oracle9i RAC deployments, enabling significantly higher
availability with reduced cost.

The company will include its Java 2 Platform, Standard
Edition 5 (code named Project Tiger) in Solaris 10. Analysts say
the addition is the most significant upgrade to the Java platform and
programming language since it debuted nearly 10 years ago. Sun said J2SE 5
would be generally available via Software Express in the next 30 days.

Recently, Sun added an early Linux version to Solaris 10 called Project
Janus
. It lets customers run Linux binary applications unmodified and
un-recompiled on Solaris without having to acquire extra x86-based hardware.

Sun has said it would eventually open the source code of most, if not all,
of Solaris as a way to entice third-party developers
and to commoditize the OS in a way that puts Sun’s competition in a tight spot.

“There’s lots of promise here for many types of customers,” said Michael Dortch, principal
business analyst and editorial director at IT research firm Robert Frances
Group. “The challenge for Sun is to deliver on the promise by surrounding these
offerings with effective sales, service and support.

“Enterprise IT executives, especially those in industries and at companies where Sun has
been losing market share, need all the help Sun can provide to convince
their colleagues that the company is as safe and sure a bet as many of its
technologies appear to be. High-quality services and support, proven
reference architectures, and sales forces that can cash the checks being
written by mouthpieces at headquarters are all essential elements of this
grand effort.”

Extending Sun’s Reach

One of the places Sun is looking to make the most traction is with the
x86 version of Solaris. In a separate statement Tuesday, the company said it
has more than 1,000 software and hardware products currently available from
more than 700 of its business application software partners.

Sun also launched a corresponding iForce Partner Program for Solaris 10.
The early adoption program allows ISVs, IHVs and development partners the
opportunity to adopt the newest Solaris features and technologies. More than
120 of the most popular business application software partners have begun
preparing and testing their applications to support Solaris 10.

To help prime the pump, Sun has also added 15 new financial services
application software partners to the Solaris ecosystem, including BMC
Software, EMC Legato Software, Hyperion Solutions, Rogue Wave Software and
Stellent.

“I’ve said it before: The operating system is irrelevant if it lacks
world-class ISV support,” said Jonathan Schwartz, Sun president and COO.
“And a server without that OS is a doorstop. Unlike some of
our competitors, Sun is making it easy for ISVs to qualify for our systems.
We’re making every business-critical application our customers need
available for Solaris AMD Opteron processor-based systems so that customers
benefit from the broadest possible range of choices.”

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