With the release of Solaris 9 in the first half of 2002, Sun has said the costs of supporting Solaris 9 running on Intel was not worth the cost to the company.
Most corporate Solaris users run the operating system on Sun's own 64-bit UltraSparc processors. However a number of users have also worked with the software on servers carrying Intel's 32-bit chips. Companies such as Dell Computer typically load Solaris onto Intel-based servers upon customer request.
Graham Lovell, director of product marketing for Solaris at Sun said: "We are focusing more on our bottom line."
The decision to drop Intel support puts Sun at odds with rival server makers that support the Intel architecture. Both companies offer Linux running on their Intel-based systems and have roadmaps extending to 64-bit Itanium servers.
Sun does not offer Solaris support for Intel's 64-bit Itanium chips. Sun has also ceased development of a version of Solaris that would run on Itanium.
Lovell said users currently running Solaris 8 on Intel-based servers would continue to receive support for about the next seven years. He noted that many of these users may hold on to Solaris 8 for some time, so Sun's decision on Solaris 9 may have little immediate impact.