back to article IBM embraces - wtf - Sun's Solaris across x86 server line

Sun Microsystems has nailed its biggest Solaris x86 win to date by lining up IBM as a firm backer of the operating system. The two companies today revealed that IBM will offer Solaris x86 as an option on a number of its Xeon- and Opteron-based servers by year end. This arrangement provides Sun with its first real Tier 1 OEM …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Robert Hill

    About time...

    Kudos to IBM for being big enough to compete openly and offer customers real choice...which, frankly has served them well over the past 10 years plus. And SUN continues to prove that they knew what they were doing with offers real high-end features that Linux is still reaching to match, and they may have finally reached the stage of having to decide if they really are a hardware company, or *gasp*, an OS company.

    Whichever way this falls, the only real loser here is HP...

  2. Joshua Goodall

    HP's support for Solaris is poop anyway

    Just try managing a smartarray controller from inside Solaris. The best you can do is watch helplessly as e.g. it slowly dies. Actually managing a volume requires rebooting to some other OS.

  3. Ralph B


    So where does this leave AIX? Dead? Dying? Or will it soon also be made available on Sun kit?

  4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Good stuff

    It was a brave decision of Sun to release Solaris for x86 but it is a top notch OS and they have good engineers to keep making it better. AIX is also top notch but it might well be that IBM is happier selling it's apps (Websphere, DB2, Notes, Tivoli, etc.) on whatever's out there. This is, after all, the strategy that proved so successful when NT came out. Customers who wish will get an OS, applications an hardware and a service level agreement.

  5. Simon Greenwood

    Re: About time

    Sun will be a hardware and a software company for the forseeable future. The T2 series processors will be a benchmark for enterprise computing when they hit the market and they will only run Solaris. That Solaris is now open source and freely available doesn't detract from Sun's software business - they make money through support and subscriptions.

  6. Mo


    AIX is a tricky one. There's a layer in i5OS (né OS/400) that provides what is essentially an AIX personality, and you can run AIX under z/OS as you can Linux.

    Although we'll probably see Solaris on System p, only AIX will give you compatibility across the whole IBM non-x86 range, and that's its value proposition.

  7. Simon Chapple

    I hope its not too late

    As a software engineer who has worked for more than 20 years developing multi-million line code applications to operate across all of HP-UX, AIX, Solaris (Linux, DG-UX, Dynix, and some other particularly archaic OS-es - anyone out there done significant development on NCR MP-RAS? - well the list goes on and I'm showing my age), I reckon I can offer a reasonably balanced opinion that Solaris has always offered by far the best environment for hosting applications of the bunch.

    The amount of grief that segmented memory architectures provide and the lack of proper multi-threaded application support at the os-call level are hopefully consigned to my nightmares now, but HP-UX and AIX always trailed Solaris in these respects. Solaris just makes it so much easier to develop applications that can fully exploit the available system resources. Okay, perhaps the Sparc processor line hasn't always been top of the performance pile but at least you know you can maximise your performance from it.

    Sun caused me considerable professional pain though when they withdrew their Solaris x86 support years ago - this really set the clock back - at the time it seemed like such a brain-numbingly stupid move (and of course it was!) - I just hope it isn't too late to see Solaris, now such a well threaded environment with transactional filesystem and fully integrated profiling, take its rightful place as the operating system of choice for enterprise application development.

    P.S. In case you are wondering, no I don't work for Sun or have any relationship with them.

    P.P.S. Please Jonathan get Solaris out on to the desktop so I don't have to develop on Windows any more (build more device drivers!)...

  8. noteapot

    Consolidation perhaps

    Perhaps we are starting to see the clustering for the next round of consolidation ?

    IBM - Sun

    EMC - Dell - Oracle

    HP and any of the above except IBM

    Microsoft - everyone hates em so they just buy sleazy advertising companies.

    Apple - Not until Jobs dies (or really retires in a way where he's not allowed to come back ) and then it will get sold to Lenovo :-).

    Sun has to get bought at some point. Its like Dec was. It has too many sandal wearing geeks and not enough business people. Starting with the CEO.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Writing on the wall

    Solaris x86 is supported in VMs. AIX ain't.

    If AIX isn't 90% EOL already, it's not too far in the future given the current adoption rate of virtualization as the hardware owner.

    IBM saw the writing on the wall and did something about it. SUN stands to do nothing but win out of this deal if adoption of hardware based hypervisors continues at the current pace.


    AIX? - #1 in Unix marketshare

    To answer the question about "where does this leave AIX?" If you look at IDC or Gartner marketshare you will see that AIX is the only growth Unix platform over the last 5 years. AIX +10.4%, Sun -1.4%, HP -5.3% in marketshare. POWER is IBM's growth engine for HW, SW and services. Solaris support is about choice. IBM in 1993 embraced open and choice and this is another example of that commitment.

    Sun is finally learning that in order to get above $5 a share they need to partner vs. pretend they have the best solution with only Sun products.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AIX ain't #1.

    5 years ago, Solaris was HUGE. Then they dropped x86 support and linux took over. If you look at the same figures after OpenSolaris was released ,Solaris will turn up as number one growth wise. And total Solaris marketshare is way above AIX.

  12. Nathan Meyer

    Just Business As Usual

    Sun hasn't a prayer of challenging IBM's dominance of the corporate database.

    And Sun really don't compete against AIX; which is mainly used by willing sacrifices to The Armonk Monster.

    On the other hand, HP have the Tandem systems; which (in their Guardian implementation, not OSS) are the only possible contender to dislodge IBM from dominance in their most important and lucrative market.

    Sun is probably going out in the next few years (although I had predicted 10 years ago that they would be gone by now; I 'm really surprised they survived the last 5 years) and eats HP's Unix lunch from time to time.

    "The enemy who is the enemy of my friend's enemy is a friendly enemy."

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    fair trade

    In exchange for backing up sales of IBM hardware with a decent operating system, Sun will get priority for its CoolThreads chips in IBM's 45nm fab.

  14. Demian Phillips

    AIX virtual machines.

    I do not know where you get your "facts" but I can run AIX in logical partitions all I want.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AIX virtual machines.

    You still can't run them in VMWARE for example - you've still got to cough up for IBM's craptastic kit. Of the p570's our strategy morons chose, the whole lot have memory problems and as for DLPAR don't get me started or I'll cry. And don't mention that VIO 1.4 beta program either.

    You see thats the difference, no-one got fired for buying IBM, but techies know better (and in the right situation that doesn't necessarily exclude the right choice being IBM).

  16. Joseph McDonald


    VM = vmware

    Try running AIX on that! People buy IBM because of the chip, not the OS.

  17. Brian Miller

    No AIX or HP-UX, might as well go with Solaris

    Of course HP and IBM are putting Solaris on their x86 lines. What else are they going to load on them, SCO? What choice is there for a real Unix? Solaris is the only game in town for x86. There were mom-and-pop x86 System V r4 offerings like Consensys (I bought that one and ran it on a 386). But where are they now? Gone.

    SCO chose litigation over innovation. Bye-bye, SCO. Sun has been working hard on Solaris. I have installed Solaris 10, and I like it. I really like having a professional-grade Unix on at least one of my boxes. (Yes, I also have HP-UX, but the PA-RISC workstation does draw a large bit of power.) Neither HP or SGI are going to port their OS's to the x86. HP got rid of most of their OS developers, and SGI is primarily Windows and Linux now.

    This move simply makes sense. Maybe Apple will come to its senses and start selling their OS without the bundled hardware, but I doubt it.

  18. Christopher E. Stith

    I think this leaves AIX the same place as before

    It's one more option on IBM's systems. You can have AIX, Linux, Solaris, BSD, Windows, eComStation, Unixware, Netware, or whatever on IBM's small server x86 kit. They sell and support AIX, Linux, Windows, and now Solaris. It's business as usual for IBM.

    The Solaris on z and on Power are intriguing, though. There are considerably fewer after-market OSen one can just throw on a Power, and fewer still on the big iron. If they get Solaris running smoothly both of those places, that'd be neat.

    Also, don't think of this as necessarily one way. IBM has been trimming the fat lately, not buying more lines. I wonder what some collaboration between these two could do with AIX on Sparc. If Solaris can go to Power and z, there's no reason a similar team couldn't put AIX across Sun's whole line. Sun already does both Solaris and Linux. So this could, in the end, give both companies more options to sell to customers.

    One strength of IBM has always been that their services people will work with you on anyone's hardware, too. Imagine a data center with mainframes, T2, Power, Rock, Opteron, and/or Xeon machines each doing what they do best (yes, there are performance differences enough on differing tasks to want both Opteron and Xeon if you're watching cycles closely enough, although who has what lead changes from one generation to the next of the respective lines), and all running either AIX _or_ Solaris. All of that could be backed by a service contract from Big Blue. The mind boggles.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just another stupid move

    When it comes to software running on these platforms

    how many wasteful about faces have these idiots made

    it doesn't make any difference at all none they all run the

    same every one so this is just non news.

  20. Mo


    Er, of course you can't run AIX on VMware. AIX for x86 hasn't existed in about ten years.

    AIX is a POWER operating system, through and through. IBM doesn't really care about being able to run its operating systems in VMware, because IBM's *the* original player in the hypervisor space.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Just another stupid move

    Your comment reads like a bad haiku

    by someone who doesn't know the rules and can't

    figure out how to even structure a sentence not at all

    you just don't get it do you

  22. calagan

    Solaris on Cell?

    If IBM and Sun go hand-in-hand, who knows, we might someday enjoy a Cell version of Solaris running on PS3?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No worries

    Considering Logical Partitioning on P-Series as a direct result of mainframe's architecture I see an easier than it seems path for Solaris. Where does this leaves AIX, well, it's still the OS tailored for those p-processors. No problem.

    All your base will be ours..

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like