Sun releases Solaris upgrade with bundled app server

Sun Microsystems has released a version of its Solaris operating system which features a bundled application server and runs on...

Sun Microsystems has released a version of its Solaris operating system which features a bundled application server and runs on Intel x86 hardware.

Solaris 9 12/02 is an incremental update to Sun's Unix OS. Inclusion of the Java-based application server, the Platform Edition of Sun One (Open Net Environment) Application Server 7, in Solaris was formally announced last May.

However, initial plans to do so, revealed informally by a Sun official in March, set off a momentary selling of stock in BEA Systems, which thrives on selling Java application servers for Sun systems.

On Friday a Sun official said there were no hard feelings between the two companies regarding Sun's application server bundling.

"Our reason for doing this is to widen the adoption of the J2EE platform. By putting this into Solaris 9, we ensure that every copy of Solaris 9 going out has an application server built into it so people can build and deploy J2EE applications," said Solaris product line manager Bill Moffitt.

"We make sure [BEA] WebLogic Server 7 is included in the media kit with Solaris, which means people who prefer can simply take out and install the BEA application server," he said.

Moffitt acknowledged the BEA product only comes with a six-month trial licence while the Sun offering has no such time limit. Still, Sun's application server is for single-machine, smaller application deployments, not enterprise-level applications that require functions such as load-balancing and horizontal scaling.

"What the [BEA] executives I spoke to said was they supported the idea of making the J2EE platform as ubiquitous as possible and getting a rising tide to [raise] all boats. They don't see the Sun One Application Server as being that much competition to them. Their market share is much greater than ours."

Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff downplayed any rift between Sun and BEA Systems. IBM also has its own application server, WebSphere, despite partners having theirs as well.

Support for Intel x86 on Solaris is re-established with Version 9 12/02. Despite reports that said Sun was abandoning x86 on Solaris, Moffitt said this was never the case; the project merely was delayed.

The application server, however, does not yet work with the Intel release of Solaris 9 12/02, but it will do so in a future release, according to a Sun representative.

Haff said Sparc still remains the primary platform for Solaris. "X86 Intel is not nearly as strategic a platform as Solaris for Sparc. However, it is widely used."

He asserted that Sun did indeed want to end the x86 version of Solaris. "There was certainly a school of thought within Sun that said Solaris on Intel wasn't something that was worth bringing forward," Haff said.

Sun in November made available on its Web site an early-access version of its Solaris 9 operating system for Intel-compatible processors. Version 9 12/02 has been available for download since last month, but Sun did not announce the OS until Friday, when it became available on digital media.

Also included in Solaris 9 12/02 are enhancements to the logging function in Unix File System (UFS) to boost performance. The logging function is a journalling capability for keeping track of files to minimise downtime when a system shuts down. With the new release there is no longer any performance penalty to pay for keeping the logging function on.

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