IBM expanding support for Solaris on x86

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Remember that big announcement I said Sun and IBM were scheduled to make? They’re making it even as I type. Here’s the deal

IBM and Sun today announced that IBM will distribute the Solaris Operating System (OS) and Solaris Subscriptions for select x86-based IBM System x servers and BladeCenter servers to clients through IBM’s routes to market.

This adds Solaris to the Windows and SUSE OS’s already supported on this IBM hardware. The agreement is an extension of the relationship that already exists between the two companies to support Solaris on BladeCenter servers.

As part of the expanded support, Sun and IBM will invest in testing and system qualification so joint customers will realize Solaris’ leading performance and reliability on BladeCenter and System x servers. IBM servers that will support the Solaris OS include: IBM BladeCenter HS21 and LS41 servers; and IBM System x3650, System x3755, and System x3850 servers.

So, what do you think? Is this a big deal?

[Update: The Register just asked how this relationship differs from Sun’s deal with HP. Jon answered that their relationship with HP is “arm’s length” in the sense that they cannot OEM the OS or sell service, both of which IBM will be doing via this agreement.

They also asked about the future of Solaris on System p (frequently used in HPC applications). The answer from Bill was that there are no plans right now but it’s something they “would like to see happen.” Interesting.]