Suns Solaris 10; Wild and Crazy

Sun Solaris 10 is triply intriguing. Solaris on Sparc( and now Intel and AMD) is the first operating system to tackle on demand/grid computing, virtualization, 1-100way operation, and auto-repairing/self healing functions among others. Sure, Microsoft is talking about these things as is IBM. But under Mr. Palmisano, IBM is getting out of the commodity, low margin computing businesses – and that means hardware and software(sold PC division, you name whats next – Mr. Palmisano is making some awfully big bets on services and consulting carrying the company forward). So “self-healing, self managing” mainframes or Linux or Unix/AIX software from IBM may be still born.

And of course Bill Gates could only wish for the calibre of security and reliability that Solaris delivers now. And as for the grid, virtualization, self-healing – well Bill can only wish as Microsoft plays catchup once again. And Redmond really has no excuse for its shortcomings – they started working on OS/2 with IBM roughly at the same time as Sun started working on Solaris. So both camps have had equal time to hatch a good OS. So Solaris 10 has a shot at becoming a major OS player – first intrigue, will it measure up ?

Second, just as Sun emerges as a potential serious contender to Microsoft Windows Server – Sun settles with Microsoft, gets $2B for Microsofts right to poison Java on the desktop for 3 more years until 2007 with an obsolete version of the JVM. Sun and Microsoft agree to co-operate on Identity, Authentication, and OS server interoperation. Wow. Second intrigue, why would either party want to do this ?

Now the most interesting thing – Sun is going to Open Source Solaris. We dont know how much and on what platforms – but Open Source it will be. Now this is our third intrigue. Why Open the Kimono to IBM, HP, Microsoft and any all OS vendors and competitors? They can and will go in and see how Solaris does that virtulaization or failsafe file system or system and data self repair. Problems with WinFS up in Redmond? Just wait for Solaris 10 source to become available in January. Austin been having problems with self-healing – keep January open.

In short, Sun is gambling a lot on going Open Source. This hopefully will kickstart Solaris acceptance primarily as server but also as workstation OS. But the price to pay is large as well. Immediate revenue streams will be lower and the opposition will have open season on stealing everything in sight.

In downhill skiing they say to win you have to be good plus “wild and crazy” ” – a bit like American skier-edge-of-crazy-man Bode Miller. With Jonathan Schwartz I am convinced now Sun is “wild and crazy” – I just hope Solaris is really, really good.