With an incremental update to its Solaris 10 OS, Sun is extending the platform's virtualization capabilities to accommodate Linux and Solaris on the same computer.
Sun will add to the Solaris Containers capability, which has bolstered server usage by allowing for multiple instances of Solaris on the same server, said Dan Roberts, Sun director of marketing for Solaris. With Solaris 10 8/07, being announced Tuesday, users can run Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS Linux, and Linux applications via Solaris Containers for Linux Applications.
"You can now consolidate your Solaris and Linux apps onto one chassis," Roberts said. Solaris Containers debuted in Solaris 10 two-and a half years ago.
Virtualization, Roberts noted, has become a popular way to get more out of servers that had been running commonly at only a 10- to 15-percent utilization rate.
Because Red Hat and CentOS are only supported on Intel x86 systems, the new Solaris Containers for Linux capability is only supported on that hardware. Customer demand will dictate whether this functionality is extended to other Linux distributions.
Sun's accommodation for Linux helps Solaris in its battle for users with Linux, said analyst Richard Jones, vice president at Burton Group. "I see this as a way for [Solaris] to definitely continue to survive in the market because they're now allowing for a greater level of interoperability with Linux," Jones said.
The move expands the number of applications and services that could run in a Solaris environment, said Jones.
Sun, naturally, sees Solaris as superior to Linux. "You would want to go with this over Linux because you want the most reliable, most secure operating system," as well as features like Solaris Containers, said Roberts. Sun views the upgrade as making it easier to migrate to Solaris.