Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Clearing some misconceptions about Sun and Solaris

I've been following some threads on the Oracle-L list recently and I noticed that there are some misconceptions about Sun and Solaris by some of the members of the Oracle-L community. I made some posts to set the record straight. Let me just summarize them here:

1. In a thread titled "Anyone used 10g Release 2 ( for Solaris Operating System (x86-64)", a member of the list asked:

I have been told I may have to install and support Oracle Database 10g Release 2 ( for Solaris Operating System (x86-64). I have plenty of experience with Solaris for Sparc but the database for the x86 version (64 bit) was just released in March I believe. I am curious about the experiences of anyone that may have this configuration. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
and one of the replies was:

You're paying the cost of using exotic platforms. I sincerely doubt that anybody will be able to respond to your question.

This surprised me because I know that late last year, Oracle choose the Solaris 10 Operating System as its preferred open source 64-bit development and deployment environment. So I replied and provided a link to the press release.
I also pointed out that Solaris is open source because I get the impression that to a lot of people, "open source = Linux" and that Linux is the only Unix-like OS than can run on x86/64 hardware.

The original question also implies that some people think that Solaris 10 SPARC and Solaris 10 x86/64 are entirely different products. The fact is that both are built from the same source tree and so experience with Solaris SPARC will carry over nicely to the x86/64 platform. I know this for a fact because I use both Solaris SPARC and Solaris x86/64.

2. In another thread with the subject "Oracle's relationships with expert DBAs (and the rest of us mere mortals)", another member of Oracle-L said:

Also, I'd suggest you replace those 20 Sun servers with a couple of Opteron-loaded standard boxes. Just for your main production environment, mind you. Might be easier to handle a couple of standard PC boxes than all those refrigerator-size monsters out in the big, cold room.

I understand the reference to "refrigerator-sized monsters" for it is true that Sun has some of these high-end machines and I have used some of these machines in the past. So I pointed out that maybe, the person had this kind of machine in mind. But if, for whatever reason, one prefers Opteron based machines or smaller, less expensive, and cooler running machines in general, then Sun has its Galaxy (from $745) and CoolThreads (from $2,995) line of servers.

My experience is not unique. Sun's new CEO, Jonathan Schwartz, recently said in his blog:

I was with a big potential customer yesterday - in the Fortune 100. After a day of briefings from our technical folks, I joined the meeting to see how we were doing. I asked him and his team how much of what they'd seen was new to them.

He said, "about 70% was a complete surprise."

Ouch. That's not good.

To test, I asked, "before today, did you know that Solaris was open source, or ran on Dell, HP and IBM hardware, not just Sun's?" "Nope."

And like I said, this was a Fortune 100 opportunity.

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