Sun lifts curtain on new Unix OS

NEW YORK— Sun Microsystems Inc. last week introduced a new version of its Solaris operating system with which the company expects to expand its business in low-end and high-end networked environments.

With Solaris 7, Sun is targeting Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT and other Unix purveyors, calling its technology best for moving "up" into the data center and mainframe arenas as well as "deeper" into networked departments.

"We are pushing in two directions— down into the department to compete with NT while delivering [mainframe] capabilities in a network computing environment," said Brian Croll, director of marketing for Solaris.

Solaris 7, which ships in November, has a full 64-bit architecture, which means it can handle larger data sets, a new class of applications and a broader number of processors, according to Sun. The operating system will run on Sun's SPARC reduced instruction-set computer processor and on Intel Corp.-based systems.

Solaris 7 has the ability to run 32-bit applications as well, Sun said.

Solaris 7 comes with three server "extensions" that tailor the operating system for specific users. Easy Access Server 2.0 is designed to provide simple installation and management of applications in a networked PC environment.

Enterprise Server 1.0 is intended to support core business applications in which reliability, scalability and security are critical. The ISP Server is designed for Internet service providers.

"What we are saying is where you used to look at a mainframe operating system for the data center and looked at Unix for the midlevel and [Windows] NT on the desktop, Solaris 7 provides you the ability to unify all that in a single operating environment," said John Leahy, group manager for government affairs at Sun Federal Inc.

According to Sun, the next release of Solaris will offer integrated clustering, clusters server management, eight-node clusters, Microsoft Active Directory support and the recently acquired NetDynamics application server.

Sun also rolled out the Workshop 5.0 set of tools optimized for the Solaris 64-bit environment. Workshop includes Sun Visual Workshop C++ 5.0 and Sun Performance Workshop Fortran 5.0 software.

Pricing for Solaris 7 starts at $450 for the desktop version and $695 for the server version; both versions will ship this month. Solaris Easy Access Server is priced at $595. Solaris ISP Server will cost $5,995 and will ship in December. Solaris Enterprise Server will emerge in the first half of 1999, Sun said.

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