As Solaris turns: HP, Dell to resell Oracle's OS; IBM out

Summary:If you've been tracking the licensing and reselling of Oracle's Solaris operating system you can be forgiven for being a tad confused. HP, Dell are in, but IBM looks out.

If you've been tracking the licensing and reselling of Oracle's Solaris operating system you can be forgiven for being a tad confused.

Let's follow the bouncing parts:

  • First, HP was reportedly out of the Solaris game after Oracle yanked an OEM license. Just a few weeks ago, it looked like HP boxes wouldn't be certified to offer Solaris. Oracle allegedly nixed that deal. Now HP will certify and license Solaris, Oracle Enterprise Linux and Oracle VM on its x86 servers.
  • Dell is on board with a similar deal.
  • IBM, however, appears to be out of the Solaris running on its servers. Insiders at IBM say the Solaris deal is done at the end of August, but no one seems to know which party ended the deal. My hunch: Solaris on IBM is still a possibility if enough people scream. For now, IBM boxes aren't likely to have Solaris on them unless it's some legacy deal Big Blue inherits.

What's going on? Oracle is likely getting better deals than Sun did with Solaris. In addition, IT customers aren't going to be willing to instantly swap their Unix platforms just because giant hardware companies are engaged in a pissing match. Oracle needed to cut deals with Dell and HP just for volume. Toss in the fact that Oracle can isolate IBM---Larry Ellison's sworn enemy---and it's clear that the Big Blue-Solaris combo isn't likely.

Add it up and you have a few quirky quotes. Oracle president Charles Phillips says the deals with Dell and HP highlights his company's "commitment to openness." HP's Paul Miller, vide president of solutions and alliances for HP's enterprise server, storage and networking unit, says many customers "have hardwired stacks of applications and infrastructure that can't rapidly change." HP's hidden message: Customers would change if they could.

We can't wait to hear what IBM has to say when the Solaris shoe drops.

Topics: Servers, Dell, Enterprise Software, Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Open Source, Oracle


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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