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I worked there, you didn't, so please leave your biases elsewhere.
Now young man, was there any need for that surliness and arrogance? no. Grow some maturity and actually argue on the facts rather than bringing in emotive and provocative language in the vein hope of receiving what has is commonly referred to as a "flame".
If you have ever actually shared responsibility for an IT department of that scale, feel free to share your own experience. Until then, please don't try to cover up an obvious avoidance of clear and rational thought with cultish slogans ("mission critical") and fanboy enthusiasms.
Again, more use of emotive and derogatory language in the vein hope of puffing ones chest up and exclaiming that one is more experienced.
I owned a business and sold x86 servers and I know what they are and aren't capable of doing. Unlike your original post, I am under no illusions that there are places where expensive SUN systems can be replaced, however, I also see places where SUN machines still play a major roll in the over all machinary of the business.
Managers care about reliability, but they care more about money. There's no reason to spend money to achieve a level of reliability and performance that are not needed. If a business could operate successfully using a squadron of Sinclair QL machines, that's exactly what they ought to do.
Yes, that is true, however you will find that although for you a certain configuration may be perfectly acceptable as the mean time of failure falls into the companies acceptable limits, another company may find that this mean time to failure is too high for the type of functions that are to be carried out using the equipment.
None of the servers in question -- NT or those running Solaris -- ran IIS. (There are other kinds of servers, you know, besides web servers.) We ran only a few web servers -- Apache on the Sun's and then Lotus servers when we ditched the Sun boxes for Wintel.
We found Sun support to be costly and inadequate. We found Sun hardware to be no more reliable than our Wintel boxes, and considerably more expensive to maintain. (Commodity hardware and peripherals were, by and large, unavailable for the Suns. If something broke, you paid Sun prices for Sun hardware. When your boss knows that a Sun hard drive costs 10 times as much as an equivalent Wintel drive, you won't bew able to convince her that the Sun drive is worth cost.
You bring up figures such as "Sun hard drive costs 10 times as much as an equivalent Wintel drive" when in actual fact from my last contact with a sun machine, they use a standard Fujitsu SCSI hard disk that one can purchase from any third party vendor and 9/10, the only thing that SUN do get picky about is the use of non-certified third party memory modules. Since most new SUN machines now use standard PC modules, one can purchase certified modules from kingston and a few other memory vendors who are licensed to produced SUN certified modules.
Others may have had different experiences. In my case, the cost of Sun and Solaris weren't commensurate with performance and reliability.
The experience you had was running Solaris on SPARC hardware. You lack of configuration details of these servers mearly re-enforces a number of other posters notions that you have no idea what you are talking about.
I've seen Solaris running just as reliably on x86 hardware as on SPARC, minus a few high end features, however, it seems to me that your organisation did not partake in due diligence and investigate all the options that were at their disposal. Not only is that reckless management but completely unacceptable in any organisation who demand accountability by all decision makers.
If the above senario is an example of the type of management that took place at your place of employment, I would question the competency of your management team and ability to analyse and make a decision based purely on the facts rather than emotive, vendor induced hyped.