Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 14th Jun 2006 16:05 UTC, submitted by _DoubleThink_
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y This paper tries to compare Linux vs. Solaris. Its author comes to many conclusions, among which this is one of the more interesting: "All-in-all Solaris is a powerful, stable, conformant-to-standards OS that can run many open source applications as well as Linux, and some (mainly multithreaded applications) better than Linux. Like in the cases of Red Hat and Suse, the cost of support is extra, but it is more reasonably priced. Security patches are free which makes Solaris similar to Windows."
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Some quibles notwithstanding...
by cr8dle2grave on Wed 14th Jun 2006 18:52 UTC
cr8dle2grave
Member since:
2005-07-11

...I agree with his general conclusion:

Linux has the advantage on workstations and "low level" servers.

It's a wash on "midrange" servers.

Solaris has the advantage on "high end" servers.

Sounds about right to me. That said, I do question how important the high end server market will prove to be over time. The old guard Unix crowd were brought up to regard vertical scalability as a kind of holy grail, and much of the competition in the Unix market of the late eighties and nineties was staged in terms of a battle over SMP support and the support for threaded applications able to capitalize on a high number of processors.

But then something truly disruptive happened to the market, commodity x86 hardware became very powerful and, more importantly, extraordinarily cheap. While it's true that x86 hardware is lacking many of the high end features of big iron, which allow for better vertical scalability and greater reliability, this has been mitigated to a large extent by the use of clustering and horizontal scalability (replacing one big iron box with numerous x86 commodity ones).

I know a lot of the old guard view this as an inelegant and hacky cludge; cheating almost. And, in the purest sense, I agree. It is a more inelegant solution, but--and this has always been the key to Linux's success--it performs "good enough" at a fraction of the cost.

There will probably be a market for big iron for a long time to come--it is the only viable achitecture for some workloads--but look at the market data for last five years. All philosophical questions aside, the market for big iron boxes has remained completely flat, while the market for 4-way and 2-way commodity x86 servers has exploded.

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