Another major x86 server vendor will soon start offering Sun's Solaris operating system. After inking distribution deals with IBM and Dell in 2007, Sun Microsystems has successfully wooed HP into signing a similar agreement.
This "multi-year partnership" will allow HP to distribute Solaris 10 on its ProLiant and blade servers. Just like Dell, HP will provide technical support for the Unix-based operating system directly. According to the press release, HP and Solaris also plan to work together to integrate Solaris 10 and HP's Insight software—an effort that should yield "usability and management enhancements."
Admittedly, HP has been supporting Solaris for a few years. Now that HP, Dell, and IBM are all distributing Solaris-based servers, though, Sun's operating system is available to a considerable portion of the market. According to Gartner numbers, HP, Dell, IBM, and Sun accounted for almost three quarters of global server shipments in the third quarter of 2008—and HP shipped the most units.