Lighting a fire under Solaris

Solaris has been the most widely used version of Unix. But much wind was taken from the operating system's sails by the quick arrival of Linux and the equally quick departure of Sun's prestige when the dot-com boom turned bust. Now Sun is trying to reinvigorate the operating system with advances in performance, networking, reliability and data storage.

The company is trying mightily to reinvigorate the operating system, but Linux remains a fearsome rival. It's not clear whether Sun can keep its edge. Already, the company has matched three advantages Linux has: It has made Solaris free, open source and usable on x86 processors. (Intel's Xeon, Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron and other x86 chips sell in vastly higher quantities than Sun's Sparc chips.) Now the company is looking to get ahead and is working on a long list of features that touch most aspects of the server operating system.

Peder Ulander, Sun's vice president of software marketing, said the company plans to announce in May one significant update to Solaris. The revamp, set to ship in June, will deliver new self-healing abilities, a high-security extension and the high-reliability ZFS, or Zettabyte File System, he said. A second update is set to add Xen virtualization software, which helps run multiple operating systems simultaneously, and to add BrandZ technology, which enables software to run in separate, independent compartments atop a copy of Solaris. This release is likely to be announced in November and to ship by the end of the year.

News source: CNET News

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