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Slide Show: Sun To Use Intel Chips In Servers

Sun Microsystems and Intel are the latest archrivals in the IT industry to put down their guns and make peace. The computer giants on Monday unveiled a broad alliance that marries Sun's Solaris Unix OS with Intel's Xeon processors.

Sun Microsystems and Intel are the latest archrivals in the IT industry to put down their guns and make peace.


Slide Show: Intel, Sun Announce Broad Partnership

The two computer giants on Monday unveiled a broad alliance that marries Sun's Solaris Unix operating system with Intel's Xeon processors. Under the pact, Intel will endorse Solaris as a mainstream OS and Unix platform of choice plus distribute OEM copies of Solaris. In exchange, Sun will develop and sell Xeon servers and optimize Solaris for Xeon and Intel's upcoming 45-nanometer multicore processors, which will run multiple OSes on a single piece of silicon.

The Sun-Intel alliance follows similar truces between industry rivals, including Microsoft and Sun, Microsoft and Novell, and Intel and Apple.

Sun pledges to ship dual-core Intel Xeon systems optimized for Solaris by the end of the first half. Later on, though no timetable was given, Sun plans to ship multi-way Xeon systems, including an eight-way server -- a high end server that would compete well against Sun's own UltraSparc Unix servers.

The Sun-Intel pact will likely expand opportunities for Sun VAR partners that have been limited to UltraSPARC and AMD Opteron architectures, as well as would give Intel partners another OS option -- in addition to Windows and Linux -- to preload on industry-standard servers, Sun and Intel executives said.

In a Webcast on Monday, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz said the Sun-Intel pairing may appear strange after decades of intense competition, but he insisted that both companies are committed to ending the era of negative rhetoric that once divided the Unix and Intel worlds.

"We want Solaris to scream on Xeon and blow everyone in the marketplace away," Schwartz said. "Intel and Sun getting together around the promotion of Solaris changes the game in the marketplace."

Sun and Intel plan to collaborate on engineering, and Intel promises to offer support for Sun's Open Solaris, Java efforts and NetBeans IDE.

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