Sun Microsystems, in an effort to broaden the scope of its flagship enterprise operating system, is offering support for the open-source Postgres database.
In addition, the company is integrating its 128-bit file systems, Solaris ZFS, into the OpenSolaris project, which is another nod to open-source technology.
The Solaris ZFS file system is designed to improve earlier file systems with advanced error detection and correction, task automation for data storage, and built-in storage virtualization. It will be commercially available in the first half of 2006.
Slated for 2006
In addition, Sun is actively participating in the Xen project, an open-source community developing virtualization technologies that allow multiple operating systems to run simultaneously on a single hardware system.
The software will initially be added to OpenSolaris and eventually find its way into future updates to Solaris 10.
Also, Sun said its Solaris Containers for Linux, enabling Red Hat applications to run in a virtual space on the flagship operating system, will be featured in OpenSolaris by year's end, providing a single platform for multiple software systems.
Targeting Red Hat
"This is all part of Sun's effort to remain relevant by making Solaris more attractive to users and blunting the growing interest in Linux by offering their own open-source technology," said Frank Gillett, principal analyst at Forrester.
He suggested that the company is more concerned with grabbing attention, and business, away from Red Hat than it is with providing an alternative to Linux and Windows.
"The company is focused on sharing with OpenSolaris and inviting input on the operating system, and they may eventually offer the OS for free with customers paying only for support," Gillett said.
Solaris Users on the Rise
"Sun is moving into a new area by offering database technology, as they have strong ties with Oracle, and it will be a challenge for them to provide support to PostgresSQL customers," said Forrester Research analyst Noel Yuhanna.
Still, he added, integrating the database in Solaris will strengthen and improve the performance of the OS.
Sun claims that some 3.3 million Solaris 10 OS licenses have been issued and that the software is now supported on an estimated 500 Sun x86 and AMD Opteron processor systems. The OpenSolaris community, launched five months ago, has about 10,000 members.
Sun will provide Postgres for the Solaris 10 OS this month and integrate it into the Solaris 10 OS in the first half of 2006. Support for Xen and for the Solaris Containers for Linux will be available to OpenSolaris developers in December.