Sun wows the crowd at Oracle OpenWorld

Sun wows the crowd at Oracle OpenWorld

Partners with Dell and announces a new set of virtualisation offerings

Sun Microsystems grabbed all the attention Wednesday at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco, unveiling a partnership with erstwhile rival Dell and Sun xVM, a family of virtualisation products.

Both announcements were made during Sun chief executive Jonathan Schwartz' keynote, with Michael Dell, chief executive of Dell, joining Schwartz on stage.

The new distribution agreement will see the Solaris operating system officially supported on Dell PowerEdge servers for the first time. Dell will also be able to offer support packages to Solaris users.

"A third of Solaris users are running Dell systems," Schwartz said. "Our customers love working with Dell, and this is an opportunity that began from the customer base. The big message is you've got a lot more choice this year than last year."

Dell added, "Our customers want better support for Solaris, so it's greater choice for customers."

During a press panel briefing after the keynote, Schwartz said the agreement will improve support programs for Solaris enterprise users. "If you're a bank and you have a big Solaris deployment on Dell, you can now call Dell. We've also formalised the process for connecting to the Sun back line if necessary to do work such as patching." He added that the previous rivalry between Sun and Dell was part of the firm's "history", and that Sun would not benefit from telling its customers they had made a mistake buying Dell hardware.

During his keynote, Schwartz also unveiled the Sun xVM family of datacentre virtualisation products. The xVM Server is a hypervisor based on development work from the Xen open-source community, and this is supported by xVM Ops Center, a console that lets firms manage their virtual and physical datacentre resources from a single point.

Schwartz said that the advantage of its virtualisation offering over existing products was the ecosystem of products around it, including a file and storage system, a robust network virtualisation system and a diagnostics tool – and the fact that the products are freely available.

xVM will run on x86/64 and Sparc systems from vendors such as Dell, HP and Sun. Firms will be able to deploy the hypervisor free of charge, but can choose to sign up for paid support programs once it is implemented, according to Rich Green, executive vice president of software at Sun.