Here comes (and goes) the Sun

It looks like Sun Microsystems isn’t going to jump into bed with IBM after all, at least not in the immediate future, although with deals like this you never really know. Things could change in an hour. Still, after all the necking and heavy petting these two had been doing around Java and then openSolaris you’d have expected they would finally consummate something, at a minimum something teens and twenty-somethings might call friends-with-benefits.

The pundits have had a field day with this ongoing soap opera, giving them lots to write about during a generally slow news period. As expected, the Wall Street Journal’s Deal Journal was right on top of it. Judith Hurwitz, Hurwitz and Associates, called it as well as anyone.

My main interest in the IBM-Sun deal revolved around OpenSolaris on the System z, which I have been following as a way to increase usage of the System z. Such a merger, I figured, couldn’t help but expand the opportunities for OpenSolaris on the System z since IBM would end up with openSolaris and the entire Sun Solaris OS user base. OpenSolaris for the System z, developed by Sine Nomine is available as a download at It requires a System z/9 at a minimum.

The deal seemed a no-brainer. IBM was paying a more than generous price while Sun was floundering, laying off people in droves. (IBM is laying off people too, but it also is hiring like crazy in India and other cheap offshore locales.) After more than two decades covering business and technology as both a reporter and industry analyst the collapse of this non-deal only proved my rule of why seemingly smart companies (Sun, in this case) make stupid decisions—it comes down to two things: ego or greed. Judging from the proceeding month of rumors both ego and greed was in play in a big way.

With Sun struggling, especially in the wake of the collapse of its rescue by IBM, OpenSolaris on the System z should be more appealing than ever to Sun Solaris shops that must be questioning their future with the Sun platform. OpenSolaris on the System z provides a lifeboat for Sun Solaris shops. They can:

  • Move their Solaris applications to a far more viable platform no matter how you look at it
  • Run their Solaris workloads, albeit with some porting effort, and take advantage of the proven enterprise reliability and virtualization of the System z
  • Handle the compute-intensive workloads that were targeted to Solaris on the System z9 or, better still, the z10

With or without the merger OpenSolaris on the System z continues to be an attractive option, one that will only get better as the OpenSolaris community further refines and enhances the code.

With Linux and Solaris already running on the System z, can Windows be too far behind? Lots of people, apparently, are thinking seriously about how to get Windows running on the System z.

One Response to “Here comes (and goes) the Sun”

  1. Test Plan Charlie: 41000 Linux Servers on One Box « UNIX Administratosphere Says:

    […] there was a nice set of updates about OpenSolaris on zSeries over on DancingDinosaur: Here comes (and goes) the Sun (12 April 2009) and Slow times for OpenSolaris on System z (21 July […]

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