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Sun debuts OpenSolaris; OS to be served up on Amazon EC2

Shipments begin three years after Sun disclosed plan to open OpenSolaris code

By Heather Havenstein
May 5, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Sun Microsystems Inc. and the OpenSolaris community today debuted the initial version of the open-source OpenSolaris operating system. The new offering was unveiled three years after Sun announced its open-source plan for the Solaris operating system.

At the same time, Sun and Amazon.com Inc. announced that OpenSolaris will be available on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), the latter company's on-demand computing Web service.

The OpenSolaris software, which was previously available only in developer preview releases, combines Solaris technologies and tools with modern desktop applications and applications developed by open-source communities such as Gnome and Mozilla, Sun said.

"Solaris has a very strong following and a very strong user base," said Jim McHugh, vice president of Solaris marketing at Sun. "Now we're taking all the benefits Solaris has had and making it more familiar and accessible to what people who have used other open-source operating systems know. It is really giving access to the big features that someone might have associated in the past with just being Unix features."

In addition, the new open-source operating system is the first to include the Zettabyte File System (ZFS) as a default file system, which allows developers to protect their work with its instant rollback and continual check-summing capabilities, McHugh noted. For example, if a developer was not paying attention and deleted a document or code that he or she needed, ZFS allows the developer to "roll back" to the environment before the deletion. he said.

"I could say that what I had yesterday was a lot better ... and go back to that stage," he added.

LiveCD installation of the operating system and the new network-based OpenSolaris Image Packaging System (IPS) are aimed at simplifying installation and integration of third-party applications. IPS provides better control of applications and dependencies and provides simple system management, McHugh noted.

OpenSolaris also includes Solaris Containers to let developers build virtualization-aware applications that can run applications on more than 1,000 systems, from single machines through multi-CPU and multi-coresystems, according to Sun. The company rolled out the operating system at its CommunityOne Developer Conference in San Francisco.

Reliant Security Inc. announced that it is using OpenSolaris to improve its payment card data security for merchants who need to meet payment card industry (PCI) data security requirements.

"Reliant made a strategic decision to base its Managed PCI System (MPS) product on OpenSolaris because other operating systems didn't meet our security requirements and system resource constraints," said Richard Newman, managing partner at New York-based Reliant Security, in a statement. "With the support of the OpenSolaris community, we have been able to meet a very aggressive production rollout of MPS."

As part of the invitation-only beta alliance with Amazon.com, a handful of vendors including GigaSpaces, RightScale, ThoughtWorks and Zmanda are making their software available for OpenSolaris on EC2. OpenSolaris on Amazon EC2 is available for no additional charge. Users pay only for Amazon EC2 usage, which starts at 10 cents per CPU-hour. Sun is providing free e-mail technical support to EC2 users. Amazon EC2 support is provided by Amazon Web Services.

Read more about Open Source in Computerworld's Open Source Topic Center.



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