Sun released the new Solaris for its Ultrasparc servers and workstations and for Intel processors this week. However, jealously guarding its server market, Sun is only making Solaris for Intel available for 32-bit systems and not the latest Itanium 64-bit chips.
A key test site is Fujitsu, which produces its own Ultrasparc Sun-compatible servers as well as Intel-based systems through its Fujitsu-Siemens brand.
Ian Batten, IT director at Fujitsu Telecom, said, "Even though we have not started any formal performance testing, we have encountered no compatibility, installation or stability issues.
"The Solaris 9 beta is already the primary computing environment for some of our staff."
Although Sun calls one of its new features Live Upgrade, this is more a dual boot option than a non-stop upgrade. Administrators can load the new operating system onto a disc drive, without overwriting the previous version, reboot into Solaris 9 and then choose to revert to the older Solaris environment. There is also an option for installing a minimal configuration for systems with limited memory.
The system is protected by Kerberos version 5, the open standard authentication software originally developed by the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In operation, Solaris 9 has been designed to make better use of the way applications share processors but this can be monitored and optimised by the administrator to suit individual circumstances.
Solaris is part of the Sun One initiative, the company's product stack designed to provide a platform for offering Web services on demand. Andy Ingram, Sun's vice-president for Solaris marketing, said, "The upcoming version of Solaris software promises to build on the Solaris hallmarks of availability, scalability and security for the Internet age."
Sun has not set a release date for Solaris but said it will be ready for market next year.