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Sun, Oracle Renew Solaris Vows

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Reaffirming its allegiance to Sun Microsystems, Oracle said today that it has picked Sun’s open Solaris 10 operating system (OS) as its preferred development and runtime platform for most x64 architectures.
It’s official: Sun’s Solaris 10, not Linux, is Oracle’s preferred
open source operating system.

Oracle’s development group will use Solaris 10, and the Redwood Shores, Calif., company also plans to ship 64-bit versions of all of its products on the Solaris OS. Oracle’s support list for Solaris 10 includes x64 computer systems based on AMD Opteron and Intel Xeon, and Sun’s UltraSparc chips.

The move comes at an interesting time. Oracle has a long-standing partnership with Sun for Solaris, but that has been dulled in recent years with the emergence of Linux.

For example, Oracle loves the way Linux runs on its Real Application Cluster (RAC) grid technology and has embarked on press tours with Dell to trumpet the combo of Linux, Dell servers and Oracle’s database.

But now that Solaris is offered under open source terms, Oracle can feel comfortable picking the Sun software as its go-to platform for 64-bit systems, said Larry Singer, senior vice president and strategic insight officer at Sun.

Singer acknowledged that while Linux may still rule the day at Oracle for 32-bit computing systems, Solaris 10 is Oracle’s clear choice for 64-bit systems.

“Following the bubble, with Linux becoming fashionable and some advertising they’ve done with Dell, I think there has been some drift as to the platforms they support,” Singer said in an interview.

Singer said Solaris has long been viewed as purely a Unix platform for Oracle, but with the reaffirmation, Oracle is making it clear Solaris 10 is its 64-bit platform regardless of the hardware it runs on.

“I think this re-commitment to Solaris as a base development platform for 64-bit computing will clarify for a lot of customers the continued commitment of Oracle to the Solaris.”

In a press statement, Sun also alluded to high-performance features in Solaris 10 that can’t be found in Linux, including Dynamic Tracing (DTrace), Solaris Containers and TCP/IP performance enhancements.

The move is part of Sun’s competitive positioning as an open, but meatier alternative, to Linux, something it has been doing since open sourcing Solaris 10 in January. Singer said Sun has distributed more than 3 million Solaris licenses free of charge.

In other x64 Sun news today, the Santa Clara, Calif., company said the Sun Fire X4100 and Sun Fire X4200 servers are now available with AMD’s most powerful multi-core AMD Opteron Model 285 SE processor.

In a separate announcement, the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) has bought Sun Fire x64 servers to build Japan’s largest supercomputer. Tokyo Tech will use Sun Fire x64 servers with 10,480 AMD Opteron processor cores and Sun storage and to build the supercomputer.

The computer will help researchers run scientific applications, such as analysis of the complex molecular structure of proteins, simulated blood flow diagnosis in human brains, and clarification of the generation mechanism of Earth and planetary magnetic field.

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