Oracle puts Solaris, Sparc servers back on track

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Oracle puts Solaris, Sparc servers back on track

Oracle will provide a new release of the Solaris operating system next year and is committed to a five-year development road map for Sun Sparc-based servers.

Oracle's plans for Solaris and Sparc, outlined in a presentation Tuesday by John Fowler, executive vice president of systems, are aimed at reassuring customers and channel partners about the future of Sun Microsystems technology.

Oracle acquired Sun in January for $7.4 billion with the overall goal of developing integrated hardware/software systems combining Sun servers and storage systems with Oracle database, middleware and application software.

"Complete, open and integrated has been Oracle's mantra for years," Fowler said in his presentation. "The Sun acquisition is about extending that."

Customers and channel partners have been waiting for details about Oracle's plans. Some resellers have been hedging their bets by reselling hardware products from Oracle/Sun competitors IBM and Hewlett-Packard. And nervous customers have held off Sun hardware purchases: Oracle server shipments in the first quarter of this year fell 29.5 percent year-over-year, according to market-research firm Gartner.

Solaris 11, the first major update to the Unix-based operating system in almost six years, will debut next year, Fowler said in his presentation. While virtually every aspect of Solaris will be enhanced in the new release, he specifically said the operating system's scalability, virtualisation capabilities, and security and file systems would see the biggest improvements.

Oracle will continue to support Solaris 10 users until they move to the new release.

On the hardware side, Fowler said Oracle will "at least double the application performance [of Sparc systems] every other year," and push Sparc-based servers from their current limit of 32 cores and 4 TB of memory to 128 cores and 64 TB of memory by 2015.

Oracle also will continue to develop rack and blade servers based on Intel x86 microprocessors. While Sun had also sold servers based on Advanced Micro Devices processors, Oracle has said it will discontinue using those chips.

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