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Sun to launch next version of Solaris on Nov. 15

It is promoting Solaris as an alternative to Linux on Intel's x86 processors

By Robert McMillan
November 1, 2004 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - Sun Microsystems Inc. will formally launch the next major release of its flagship Solaris operating system at a press event Nov. 15 at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, company officials confirmed Friday. The launch will be part of Sun's quarterly network computing product announcement, which is expected to include new product offerings from a variety of Sun's product groups.
Already available in an "early access" beta version, Solaris 10 will have a number of major new features, including a new error-detection system, a highly scalable file system called ZFS and a diagnostic tool known as DTrace. The new version of Sun's Unix operating system will also include significant performance enhancements such as a new TCP/IP stack and improved multithreading capabilities.
One of the most interesting features of Solaris 10 is that it will be the first version of the operating system to support Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s Opteron processors while running in 64-bit mode, said Dennis Clarke, director of Blastwave.org, a Cobourg, Ontario-based company that develops open-source software for Solaris. Current versions of Solaris for x86 process data in smaller, 32-bit chunks, which means they do not perform as well as Solaris 10 in certain types of applications, he said.
"It will be the big leap for enterprise-class Solaris users in that they will now have far greater performance then they've been able to achieve previously on low-cost architectures, and they're going to be able to do it on a Posix Unix," he said.
Another new feature will be N1 Grid Containers, which will allow customers to split Solaris into as many as 4,000 independent computing environments, known as containers. Applications can be run in these environments to improve security and performance, according to Sun.
The Solaris 10 launch comes as Sun is increasingly promoting Solaris as an alternative to Linux on processors that use Intel Corp.'s x86 instruction set. Sun executives have acknowledged that the company misjudged the appeal of inexpensive x86 systems as an alternative to its UltraSparc-based systems, and over the past year Sun has taken a number of steps to strengthen Solaris' position as an operating system for x86 servers.
In November 2003, the computer maker announced a new line of workstations and servers based on AMD's x86-compatible Opteron processor. It has also certified Solaris x86 to run on a wide range of other hardware, including systems made by competitors such as Dell Inc. and IBM. Sun has also taken steps to increase the number of applications that support Solaris x86.
"We only have one major ISV who's not committed

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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