IBM To Offer Sun Solaris On Intel-Based Servers - InformationWeek

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IBM To Offer Sun Solaris On Intel-Based Servers

The deal also calls for joint marketing efforts around Solaris-on-IBM products.

IBM and Sun Microsystems on Thursday disclosed an agreement under which IBM has pledged to offer Sun's Solaris 10 operating system as an officially supported option on its Intel-based servers and blades. Under the deal, IBM customers will be able to select Solaris 10 as the operating system on a range of IBM System x and BladeCenter servers.

Sun president CEO Jonathan Schwartz said the agreement marks "a tectonic shift" in the business computing landscape that will benefit both IBM and Sun. "There's no more important tier one relationship" for Sun than IBM, said Schwartz at a press conference, referring to IBM's status as the industry's largest vendor of servers and business software.

Although Sun already provides support for Solaris on IBM hardware, Thursday's deal means the two companies will officially support the combination and work together to jointly develop drivers and other performance optimizing utilities. The deal also calls for joint marketing efforts around Solaris-on-IBM products.

"Hopefully, this is the beginning of what could be a stronger, cooperative set of offerings between our two firms," said Bill Zeitler, senior VP for IBM's Systems & Technology Group, speaking at Thursday's press conference. Zeitler noted that IBM and Sun are also working to port Sun's Open Solaris operating system to IBM mainframes.

Zeitler said the deal should not be interpreted as IBM lessening its commitment to its own AIX operating system, Microsoft Windows or to Linux, an open source OS in which the company has invested heavily in recent years.

"I don't see a single operating system as being the choice," said Zeitler. "Customers make choices and mature vendors react."

The deal is Sun's latest move in a campaign to widen Solaris' market base through technical and marketing agreements with some of computing's biggest players. In January, Sun revealed a pact with chipmaker Intel under which Intel pledged to support the use of Solaris on its microprocessors. The downside for Sun: Such deals could cut into the company's sales of its own SPARC-based hardware.

The IBM products that will support Solaris 10 include BladeCenter HS21 and LS41 servers and IBM System x3650, System x3755 and System x3850 servers.

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