Once a popular Unix derivative, Sun's Solaris operating system has largely been eclipsed by Linux over the past few years. However, there's evidently some life in the OS yet. Two years ago, Sun released Solaris as an open-source product free of charge. Today, CNet reports that Dell and Sun entered a multi-year agreement whereby Solaris 10 will be offered as an option on Dell's PowerEdge servers. The agreement also stipulates that Dell will directly support PowerEdge users who run Solaris.
Riding on Dell's market share should help Sun increase its own, but Solaris is far from exclusive to users of Sun's servers in the first place. CNet quotes Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz as saying, "We have 12 million (Solaris) licenses in the marketplace, and a majority of them aren't running on Sun hardware." Schwartz elaborates by mentioning that a third of Solaris users already run Dell systems, and that information allowed Sun to approach Dell and strike the deal. Dell CEO Michael Dell says his company, too, was getting requests for better Solaris support from its customers.