Sun takes aim at Red Hat with Solaris 10

Sun takes aim at Red Hat with Solaris 10

Summary: At the end of last year, Oracle took aim at Red Hat with a support program that seriously undercut Red Hat's pricing. Oracle's pricing claims might be a bit of smoke and mirrors, but it is giving customers something to think about as contracts come up for renewal.

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TOPICS: Oracle
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At the end of last year, Oracle took aim at Red Hat with a support program that seriously undercut Red Hat's pricing. Oracle's pricing claims might be a bit of smoke and mirrors, but it is giving customers something to think about as contracts come up for renewal.

Now Sun is planning to attack Red Hat, as well as Oracle, claiming that the leading open source Linux company is under-serving customers and that Solaris can do the job better. "The big take away is that it is not just the [Solaris] technology," said Rich Green, executive vice-president of software at Sun. "There is a vacuum that is not being served by Red Hat or served by Microsoft. We are well positioned and fully intend to fill the gap." The big volume gap is primarily the Web tier and edge content serving for startups and small businesses, which has been a Red Hat stronghold.

Sun offers free access to Solaris 10 (no support contract required) and support that the company claims is 20 to 50 percent cheaper than Red Hat support, and is priced competitively with Oracle Red Hat support. Sun also touts Solaris as a superior (more robust, secure and supportable) operating system to Red Hat Linux or other distributions for enterprises as well as smaller businesses and startups.

"Today with Web 2.0, the amount of content and applications is growing and businesses rely 100 percent on Web," Green said. "The choice of how to build systems is now extremely relevant." With nearly 7 million downloads of free Solaris, Sun hopes to engage customers in conversations that could lead to Solaris deployments irregardless of hardware platform, said Peder Ulander, vice president of software marketing at Sun.

As part of the support offering, Sun introduced The Sun Connection service, which provides life cycle management of Solaris in the Web tier, and migration programs and new programs for resellers.

"We can provide better support than Red Hat or Oracle, and we have an aggressive campaign to educate partners and to engage with the startup community, partnering with VCs and luminaries to get Solaris into the higher volume Web tier," Ulander claimed.

"We have an opportunity right now with new versions of Windows, Red Hat and others. With the release of a new Red Hat operating system, there is a lot of cost associated with migration and re-certifying hardware and software. Solaris has always been binary-compatible through the migration of the platform, which gives us an advantage. There is an opportunity in the market, and ours to take," Ulander continued.

Ulander said that Sun has corporate goals--metrics for success--around volume, new design wins, and start ups, which influence the compensation program in the company.

Sun's attack on Red Hat should be good for users, but it remains to be seen just how successful Sun will be at slowing down Red Hat and achieving its metrics for success. 

Topic: Oracle

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  • Very nice, I'm sure

    However, Sun has a fundamental problem in the hardware dimension. They don't have much in the way of driver support for inexpensive platforms, their hardware (though good) is pricy, and outside of the basic AMP stack they don't have much in the way of applications.

    For instance, all of the Solaris support for engineering applications is for old Sun SPARC hardware -- which is horribly cost-ineffective comparted to AMD-64 stuff.

    As for desktops, suffice to say that CDE sucks bricks -- and that's the [b]good[/b] news about Sun's desktops.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • YouMUST B. Kidding....

      Don't they teach you anything at anti-Sun Troll school??

      - "They [Sun] don't have much in the way of driver support

      Have you even looked at Solaris 10 (or OpenSolaris) in the past 18 months? Third-party driver support is impressive, even compared to the Linix distro-of-the-week. There are hundreds of machines on the hardware compatibility list.

      - "Their hardware (though goos) is pricey"

      SPARC or AMD? I'd tend to agree on SPARC, though the T1000 and T2000 are resonably priced for their unique multi-threading capability. On the AMD side, Sun crushes HP and IBM on price, and for about the same $$ they're faster, cooler, and more energy efficient than Dell.

      - "Outside of the basic AMP stack they don't have much in the way of applications"

      ....you mean compared to that long list of applications that RedHat offers??? Or HP (after Openview, what apps can HP lay claim to?) True, Sun can't touch IBM in the apps space, but with the entire Java Enterprise suite (email, IM, web app, directory, ID management, etc) Netbeans IDE, traditional C/C++ compilers, and the Java platform I'd say they've got a pretty decent portfolio.

      - "all..Solaris support for engineering applications is for old Sun Sparc hardware - which is horribly cost-ineffective compared to AMD stuff"

      Old Sparc hardware? You mean like a SparcStation 2 circa 1989? What's "old" about the 8-core, 32-thread Niagra boxes - which by the way are 100% binary compatible with that old SparcStation 2 and can run all those engineering apps that you speak of.

      And price/performance wise, the Niagras (not to mention UltraSparc IV+ boxes) are quite cost effective compared to similarly powered AMD machines. IMHO the AMD boxes are there primarily so that Sun can sell into brain-dead Windows shops who would otherwise never look at a Sun-brnaded anything.

      - "As for desktops, suffice it to say that CDE sucks bricks"

      Agreed, but what's your point? NOBODY with 1/4 brain actually uses CDE anymore. That's what KDE, Gnome, and the Gnome-based Java Desktop interfaces are for. Even Sun is dropping CDE just as soon as they can ween the last big customers off of it.

      Bottom line is that if the trolls would just drop the "big, bad, slow, stupid, old Sun" rhetoric and actually test drive Solaris 10 (and Niagra and/or Sun's AMD boxes) they'd realize that there is a LOT of positive things happening at Sun these days.

      We now return to our regularly scheduled trolling...
      jg1013
  • An interesting observation.

    Quoting:

    "Ulander said that Sun has corporate goals?metrics for success?around volume, new design wins, and start ups, which influence the compensation program in the company."

    The traditional way was to award bonuses by selling products and thus making money for the company. Sun breaks new ground by rewarding the number of times it has failed to gain revenue from use of its products.

    The next quarterly results will boast that the overall loss is less than the revenue sacrificed with Solaris and Java.
    Anton Philidor
  • lets hope its a direct hit

    It definitly is not in the best interest for SUN to bankrupt just because an open source OS Linux started replacing Unix (solaris, aix, hp-ux ).

    Lets hope that Red Hat gets called that because they turned Red from the Heat.
    zzz1234567890
  • Competition...

    I am a fan of open platform software but what I'm more interested in is competition...and w have a lot on the OS market right now. This could only mean that customers are winning and that's a plus.
    LexArrow