Linked by David Adams on Wed 24th Sep 2008 22:44 UTC, submitted by snydeq
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin has said it is time for Solaris to simply move out of the way and yield the future to Linux. 'The future is Linux and Microsoft Windows. It is not Unix or Solaris,' he claims, contending that Sun's strength in long-lifecycle apps is giving way to Linux, as evidenced by the rise of Web apps, where Linux holds a decided advantage, Zemlin claims. With capabilities such as ZFS and DTrace, Sun is trying to compete based on minor features, he says. 'That's literally like noticing the view from a third-story building as it burns to the ground.'
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Niche
by tony on Fri 26th Sep 2008 18:05 UTC
tony
Member since:
2005-07-06

Solaris ruled the 90's, and it's been in a steady decline since. And it's really only their own fault.

Solaris is pretty niche right now. While it's technically impressive, they shot their own foot several times and hampered it's adoption. They've made some very laudable efforts to be more open and community-friendly (Open Solaris, free Solaris 10 x86), but it seemed to be too late.

One of the things they did wrong (of course hindsight 20/20 and all that) was to cling to the notion that they could charge $30,000 for a web server (E250 anyone?).

Sure, SPARC is a better processor. But is it worth it to spend 2, 3, 10 times the money? For a big-iron database, sure it is. Web server? Not really. Why spend $200,000 on a web farm, when you can spend $10,000, and get the same user experience, same reliability (you're using a load balancer anyway). Solaris made x86 its red-headed step child for so long, terrified that it would cut into its SPARC revenues, that people went to Linux for the vast majority of their (non-Windows server) systems. The Linux community grew by bounds, Solaris shrank.

And it used to be the SPARC was a better *and* faster processor. Now, not so much. x86 is mostly way faster, and even with the impressive Niagra chips, most applications aren't written to take full advantage of them.

Solaris and Open Solaris on x86 hasn't had quite the adoption rate that Sun had hoped. The current and previous Sun CEOs would wax poetic about how millions of people downloaded OpenSolaris, which is fine and good, but it seems most didn't keep it installed on anything.

Linux is pervasive, and Linux works. There aren't enough areas where Solaris is technically superior to make it attractive to go through the trouble of switching over.

Take Cisco, most of their next-gen route/switch platforms have their control planes run not IOS, but Linux with an IOS-like interface on top.

I don't know what Sun could do at this point to make OpenSolaris a breakaway success. They're basically waiting for Linux to screw up big. Which, ironically, is how Linux supplanted Solaris: Sun screwed up, bigtime.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Niche
by Kebabbert on Fri 26th Sep 2008 19:21 in reply to "Niche"
Kebabbert Member since:
2007-07-27

Mostly I agree with you. I think SUN tried to protect their cash cow SPARC cpu. But nowadays an ordinary x86 is way faster for single threaded work. And way cheaper. The T2 SPARC shines with multi threaded apps, such as webserver. An T2 SPARC does work ~95% of the time under full load, whereas an x86 server CPU does work 40-50% under full load. So an T2 waits for data 5% of the time whereas an x86 waits for data 50-60%. Under full load.

Say an x86 CPU is running at 3GHz. As it can only work at 50% of it's capacity because of cache misses, it is something like 1.5GHz. That is not much faster than T2 at 1.4 GHz. Pity though the T2 threads are weak.

But the new SPARC Rock CPU will maybe change that again. It is SUN's highend CPU and it is supposed to have transactional memory! (Not fully developed transactional memory, it is too hard to do). It seems the ROCK will rock the house seriously:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/28/sun_dziuba_tm/

"Sun Microsystems is about to horsef--k the database world, and nobody sees it coming. Imagine a SQL database that can support the absurd level of concurrency promised by HyTM. Conveniently, Sun owns one of the most popular relational databases in the world: MySQL. If MySQL on a single Rock based system can outperform Oracle or Microsoft spread across many systems, then DBAs worldwide would gladly tell Larry Ellison or Steve Ballmer where to shove it."

Reply Parent Score: 1