Business Issues -> Change
By: Clay Ryder, President, Sageza Group, Inc.
Published: 8th February 2008
Copyright Sageza Group, Inc. © 2008
Sun Microsystems and Sine Nomine Associates have demonstrated the OpenSolaris code base running on an IBM System z mainframe. The demonstration follows Sine Nomine's announcement last year of an independent project to do the port and August's announcement that IBM and Sun would investigate a project to port OpenSolaris to the System z mainframe. Sine Nomine Associates is a research and engineering firm based in Ashburn, Virginia. In the demonstration, OpenSolaris ran within the System z's z/VM, IBM's mainframe virtualization technology that enables more than 1,000 virtual images on a single hypervisor. z/VM already provides the foundation for running Linux on the mainframe. The Solaris demonstration included support for powerful Solaris features including Solaris ZFS, and Solaris Dynamic Tracing (DTrace), which help customers improve uptime, cut costs, and speed time to market.
The IT marketplace is never a dull place. The successful demonstration of OpenSolaris on a System z is another example of where a good dose of New Think at Sun is creating new opportunities for the company while also potentially stemming some of the abandonment of Solaris for Linux on alternative hardware platforms. The mainframe has continuously re-proven its abilities as a virtualized consolidation platform for a variety of nontraditional workloads including those based on Java and Linux. Solaris has a rich ecosystem of applications, but many of them have been deployed on servers that today would qualify as being long in tooth, and ready for refresh. The combination of Solaris and the mainframe offers benefits not only to IBM and Sun, but to the end-user organizations as well. For Sun, maintaining the vibrancy of Solaris is essential to curry ISV and developer support. For IBM, mainframe sales offer margins and value-added solutions and services on a scale that is hard to duplicate in the industry. But most importantly, organizations can benefit from the substantially enhanced efficiency of a mainframe that requires fewer watts to deliver results than a collection of aging RISC machines. At the same time, organizations can continue to leverage their existing skill sets and software investments related to Solaris, as well as consolidate Java, Linux, and other workloads within a single physical server deployment that should significantly reduce administration and support costs.
This announcement just goes to show that there is always something percolating under the surface of the marketplace. The hardened battle position taken by Sun Microsystems in the early 21st century painted a view of the company where any solution would be welcomed provided that its was based on Solaris and ran on SPARC. If five years ago one were to suggest that in the future Sun would embrace industry-standard processors, open source its operating system, and work towards the day where Solaris would run on the mainframe, the Copernican Company would be the first to disparage such tomfoolery as the obvious antics of a deranged industry malcontent. Well, all hyperbole aside, over the past couple of years Sun has done many things that were once unthinkable. To our way of thinking, this is Sun operating at its brightest and best.
Posted: 12th February 2008 | By Jeff Savit :
It's nice that the author of the report credits Sun for business savvy "Sun operating at it's best and brightest", but he is wrong when he said "The Solaris demonstration included support for powerful Solaris features including Solaris ZFS, and Solaris Dynamic Tracing (DTrace), which help customers improve uptime, cut costs, and speed time to market."
I'm at Sun, have known the developer doing the port for over 15 years, and we communicate on his continuing OpenSolaris port effort on a frequent basis.
The port isn't complete, and many core features of the OS are not yet there. The features named in the article and above are indeed Sun innovations that reduce costs and increase uptime for customers, but they're not available on z.
The port is a work in progress. The trade press should not exaggerate how far this effort has progressed, or assume that this is a fully functioning operating system.
Posted: 12th February 2008 | By anonymous :
I remember Sun driving the original open systems movement by building the first low-cost networked systems using common industry components. Interesting progress, but no reason to abandon the mainframe.
Subsequently, after many years of losses by closed systems vendors and great success of Sun a small number of open systems vendors, the industry transformed itself to adopt both de-facto and open source volume standards.
We can now all reap the benefits of the industry at large endorsing open source and de-facto standards for hardware, operating environments, databases, and applications.
After more than a quarter century, this is still an evolving, market-driven and economic success story, where customer choice-value wins. And new market-drivers, such as free Google Documents (Office applications), Zoho, Thinkfree, etc. continue to transform the business landscape.
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