SUN SQUARES UP TO WINDOWS 2000 WITH SOLARIS 7.
On the same day that Microsoft Corp squared up to Unix's resurgence with Windows 2000 (see separate story), its public enemy number one, Sun Microsystems Inc, went to New York to introduce Solaris 7, its 64-bit Unix kernel. Solaris 7 is being made available with four extensions that stack up squarely against Microsoft's four Windows 2000 (NT 5.0) cuts, including the new enterprise version. How fitting it was then that the event, Sun claimed, was its first big event dedicated solely to an operating system release. Sun and Microsoft are now squared up directly against each other because unlike the rest of the hardware industry, neither is a customer of the other in the system space. In addition to a 64-bit kernel, the basic Solaris 7, which is rebranded from what would have been a 2.7, dot release of the operating system, includes many more integrated features. It is also available with Easy Access 2.0 (formerly Solaris for intranets), ISP Server 2.0 (Solaris for ISPs) and Enterprise Server extensions; and there's a desktop cut for good measure. Management, clustering, mail and web servers, security, interoperability and applications serving are seen as the most important of the integrated features. Solaris 7 Enterprise Server incorporates the first phase of Sun's Full Moon clustering technology including SunCluster 2.2 with support for 256 CPUs (four-nodes); Resource Manager 1.0 which allocates system resources to applications; Bandwidth Manager 1.5; Solstice Disk Suite 4.2; and enterprise authentication. Also included is the more questionable Project Cascade for NT, which is Sun's way of trying to sell its boxes into NT-only hardware environments. Easy Access 7 includes the Solaris Directory Services, Web Server, Internet Mail Server and Sunlink PC 2.0 for LAN file and application sharing. ISP Server offers all of the Easy Access features plus IP management, security and encryption technologies. Solaris 8 is to deliver eight-way clustering, a clustered file system single system image, support for Microsoft Active Directory (though it does not say from where), and what appears to be an integrated version of the NetDynamics application server, supposedly Sun's route to enterprise developers. Solaris 9 will feature native Java APIs for Solaris so that Unix applications can be developed in Java, Jini and native Java middleware support. Indeed Sun's own words are that this release "will complete the promise of a true, ubiquitous computing environment." It declined to indicate exactly what this says about Solaris 7 and 8. Applications written in 64-bits for Solaris 7 will run up to 10 times as fast as 32-bit applications, Sun claims. It's also offering new 64-bit versions of its C++ and Fortran programming tools. The basic Solaris server is $695. Extensions for Easy Access will be available in November and cost $450; ISP extensions will be available from December for $6,000. The enterprise version won't be out until mid-1999, in time for its next-generation Serengeti servers. Sun doesn't tend to trumpet its software advantages even though many commentators argue Solaris technologies are far superior to what NT offers. In fact, it was left to CEO Scott McNealy to rally round Sun's often ghettoized software enterprise. By satellite he described the company's software stack - Solaris, Java and Jini - as its jewels.
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|Date:||Oct 28, 1998|
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