HP will distribute and support Sun's Solaris 10 operating system on its Proliant and blade servers.
The companies on Wednesday unveiled a multi-year pact that will provide Sun with more distribution for its Solaris 10 platform (statement). HP will resell Solaris subscriptions. HP also noted that the Solaris distribution pact will be limited to its Proliant lineup and not its Integrity servers, which use HP's flavor of Unix--HP-UX.
In other words, HP is distributing Solaris, but isn't giving it a massive endorsement. In a footnote, HP says:
HP-UX, remains the preferred UNIX operating environment to address customers’ mission-critical computing requirements.
With the footnotes out of the way, Sun does appear to get some much needed exposure for Solaris given that its server sales are sliding. Under the HP deal, Sun is a Proliant OS distribution partner. The two companies will also work together to expand demand for Solaris and OpenSolaris.
HP and Sun will offer one point of contact for purchase and support.
My read: Sun can't count on its own hardware anymore to distribute its software. And the IDC market share statistics tell the tale. Sun's worldwide sales have fallen off and by partnering with HP it gets much more exposure for its Solaris software.
Update: Sun made the following points following my post and remarks about its hardware standing. Data is based on IDC data.
- Sun was the only top 5 server vendor to experience positive x86 server revenue growth in the quarter – growing factory revenue 21.3% – and gaining x86 market share in the process.
- In the blades market, Sun (along w/ Dell and Fujitsu/Fujitsu-Siemens) significantly outperformed the market with year-over-year revenue growth of more than 60% respectively.
- Also interesting to note is that UNIX (excluding Linux) was the largest OS segment by revenue last quarter, eclipsing Windows which slipped to #2.