Over the past year Sun has come under pressure as users seeking to reduce datacentre costs have begun migrating from proprietary Unix hardware to commodity Intel systems running Linux.
Solaris 10, which can run on x86 commodity PC servers, is Sun's response. Chris Baker, product manager at Sun, said, "The advantage of Solaris [over Linux] is that there is only one version of the kernel and Sun will guarantee forward compatibility."
The operating system will offer Solaris Containers server virtualisation technology; the DTrace real-time trouble-shooting utility; ZFS, a new file system designed to simplify storage management; and predictive self-healing for recovering from application and hardware failures.
Sun said it had also revamped security within Solaris, with what it described as "a redesigned cryptographic framework".
Sun has a large installed base among financial services institutions. Analyst firm Gartner said many banks were running beta programs for Solaris 10 with projected implementations (assuming successful trials) in the second quarter of 2005.