Sun Microsystems shipped Solaris 7 today, the latest version of its Unix operating system. Highlights of the system include a 64-bit kernel, Windows NT and Intel integration, and easier administration and management.
At an event in New York, Sun chief operating officer Ed Zander spoke of the enterprise functionality of Solaris in the face of unfulfilled mergers and partnerships between competing Unix operating systems. According to Zander, that enterprise focus allows Sun to deliver mainframe-class capacity and reliability, easy administration, and network and Java integration far ahead of rival Unix systems.
Sun is the last major Unix system vendor, among Compaq Computer, Hewlett Packard, and IBM, to deliver a 64-bit Unix kernel. This version will add to Solaris' capacity, as the system will now support applications requiring very large memory--without splitting up the application.
Unlike the other vendors, Sun already has the 64-CPU UltraEnterprise 10000 server ready to run Solaris 7. Moreover, the same operating system will run on Intel or Sparc processors--meaning that Sun is ready to take advantage of the Merced chip when it ships from Intel.
Solaris servers now have seamless integration with Windows and Windows NT clients. According to Sun, customers can replace NT servers with Solaris servers now, and keep the network and Windows clients exactly the same. To ease administration, IS customers will view the same interface that they see for NT, because Sun is now using the same program, and they can add memory capacity while the system is up and running.
Jon Oltsik, senior analyst with Forrester Research, says that the 64-bit kernel and Wintel integration will make Sun stronger than ever. "Sun is reinforcing its position as the market leader by catching up with or surpassing anything out there," says Oltsik. "Sun is neck-and-neck with HP regarding these capabilities but is already way ahead regarding brand-new Internet-style application support."