Solaris 10 appears

After a steady diet of feature announcements throughout most of this year, Sun Microsystems officials formally launched their next-generation operating system this week.

Solaris 10, which will ship by the end of January, is an extensive makeover of the Sun operating system with more than 600 new features.

Development took about 3,000 engineering years, company officials said, and a total research and development investment of more than $500 million.

Sun officials will charge nothing for the operating system. Instead, they will make money from subscription-based support services, charging per-processor prices of $240 a year for 12-hour support, five days a week, and $360 a year for 24-hour support seven days a week.

Company officials will also charge $120 per processor for bug fixes.

That kind of model brings the new Solaris system closer to how Linux vendors make their money.

In addition to trying to compete with Linux, however, Sun officials are aware of the need to make products that work simultaneously with the rapidly growing Linux. With Solaris 10, Linux and Solaris applications can run together on the same server at near native speeds using a Linux application environment, said Mark McClain, Sun's vice president of software marketing.

Other features include:

Dtrace: A dynamic tracing diagnostic tool that can be used to sort performance bottlenecks and track bugs.

Solaris Containers: This feature lets users partition a server into as many as 8,000 secure partitions and consolidate thousands of applications onto one system.

Predictive Self-Healing: The operating system can detect and fix errors in hardware, software and data before they cause a failure.

ZFS file system: This system eliminates the need to manage and provision volumes by creating a common storage pool that thousands or even millions of file systems can draw from, with each system consuming only as much space as it needs.

Sun has also boosted the security of Solaris compared with past versions by including features that were previously only available in Trusted Solaris, used by parts of the military and some civilian agencies.

Brian Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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