Good Solaris news from Oracle for once

August 4, 2010

For once, there's two pieces of good Solaris news from Oracle. The first is that Oracle has announced an agreement with Dell and HP that makes Solaris officially supported on hardware from the latter; you will be able to run it legally and you will be able to get support, including patch access. The one cautious provisio is that we don't yet know if this covers all of HP's and Dell's servers or only some of them.

(The Oracle press release about this is here.)

For me, the important thing about this deal is not so much that we can run Solaris on (some) third-party hardware but that we once again have a source of affordable small servers that we can legally run Solaris on. Oracle's apparent termination of all of Sun's inexpensive 1U and 2U server line left a big hole at the bottom of the Solaris hardware range, a hole that has now (probably) been plugged.

(I'll miss the Sun Fire ILOMs, but I can see why Oracle got out of the market; the small server segment is cut throat competitive and I don't think anyone is making very much money there.)

Second, a commentator on my recent entry pointed out that Oracle now appears to be letting people using white box hardware buy Solaris support, as covered on this Oracle web page. The listed terms are very expansive and general; any system listed on the Solaris Hardware Compatibility List qualifies, and inspection of the list shows lots of servers from people other than Dell and HP.

(Of course, the actual mileage you get from your Oracle sales person may vary. But people have apparently been able to buy Solaris support on various third party hardware, and Oracle does appear to say that existing support contracts will still be honored if a system is removed from the HCL.)

The Dell and HP deal got wide coverage, but the general change in Oracle's Solaris support policy seems to have been far less publicized (or perhaps it was big news in places I don't read). This does make me a bit nervous that Oracle is going to change it again, given their past behavior, but for now I'm cautiously optimistic. At this rate, Solaris may be back in our long term future.

(Before this news, it seemed likely that we would simply be priced out of the Solaris market because we couldn't run Solaris on anything except very expensive servers since Oracle wasn't making inexpensive ones any more.)

Comments on this page:

From at 2010-08-04 08:34:50:

Oracle didn't terminate the 1U and 2U servers. They've refreshed all the Intel ones:

X2270M2: X4170M2: X4270M2:

There's not really a "hole" there, unless you really want CPU's from AMD (which tend to cost less).

By cks at 2010-08-04 08:51:27:

So they have. For some reason we had the impression that they'd ended the 1U servers and we'd have to find another vendor. The official listed prices look high compared to what we were paying, but we did get academic discounts (although those have apparently gone down); we'll have to see when it comes time for the next hardware order.

(Our quest for another inexpensive server vendor hasn't been a very high priority item, since at the moment we don't have any spare money for hardware and do have all of the server hardware we need right now.)

Written on 04 August 2010.
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