Solaris goes open source

Sun Microsystems’ decision to open source its Solaris 10 operating system will allow customers of Canadian VARs to save IT infrastructure costs, according to a reseller.

Jack Murphy, CEO of MYRA Systems Corp. a Victoria, B.C.-based IT systems integrator and service provider, said he has

high expectations for the move.

“(The consolidation of servers) will reduce their costs from an operational point of view, and from a management and a server management point of view in particular,” said Murphy. “And we think this has tremendous advantage. This is a step that we’re not seeing in the other OS’s yet that are competing withSolaris. This is a leapfrog step for Solaris and may be significant for organizations that have the strategy of consolidation.”

Founded in 1985, MYRA operates in the government and the small and medium-sized business markets. It has been a Sun IForce partner since 1992 and a national systems provider for Sun since 2002.

Sun recently announced it is making the source code for Solaris 10 available under the Common Development and Distribution Licence (CDDL), approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI). Buildable source code will be made available atthe Web site in the second quarter. Sun is also making available code for its Solaris DTrace technology, a component of Solaris 10.

The open sourcing of Solaris 10 is the first version of the company’s Unix operating system to be made public. Earlier versions of Solaris will eventuallybe made available for open sourcing, according to Sun.

Brad Keates, vice-president of marketing and partners for Sun Canada, said sales of the open source version of Solaris 10 here will be driven by thecompany’s AMD Opteron-powered servers.

“I suspect the biggest driver for Solaris within the reseller community will be related to the x86 line of servers that Sun has right now,” explained Keates.“Those are due for a refresh within the next six months and that’ll likely end up being the biggest driver for Solaris 10.”

He also gently upbraided IBM for not porting its middleware to Solaris for Big Blue’s x86 servers, as has been urged by Sun executives. “They’re likely doing what any software developer would do, they’re trying to see what the business case is to move to a new operating system,” he said.

But porting applications such as WebSphere and the DB2 database “would be a great benefit to customers,” he continued. “It will get to a point, likely in the next six months, where customers will speak very vocally about it, or they will just vote to go with another offering from Sun or from BEA or Oracle.”

Murphy concurs that the x86 line will help resellers move Solaris 10. He also expects clients to move away from open source Linux to open source Solaris,especially customers with large data centres. The reason for this, explained Murphy, is the add-on applications for Solaris 10 replace third-partycomponents and therefore eliminate the need for third-party licences.

According to Keates, Solaris 10 will benefit from being the only commercial open source operating system in the market.

“The significant thing about Solaris being open sourced is that it’s the only commercial operating system that has been open sourced,” he said. “So it’s fair to compare it to IBM open-sourcing AIX, or HP open sourcing HP-UX, or Microsoft open sourcing Windows. As far as I know those aren’t even discussions that arehappening,” said Keates.

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