Sun to install Windows Server OS on its hardware

Sun will offer its rival's software on its 64-bit servers in 90 days

Sun Microsystems will start selling its lineup of 64-bit PC servers preinstalled with the Windows Server operating system from Microsoft within 90 days, the two companies said.

The two longtime rivals also said they will cooperate on technical development of Microsoft's server operating system on SunFire hardware, as well as making Sun's Solaris Unix operating system fully manageable under Microsoft's recently introduced System Center Virtual Machine Manager software.

"Management interoperability is part of our management strategy," said Andrew Lees, corporate vice president for the server and tools marketing and solutions group at Microsoft.

The moves could help Sun boost sales of its servers, which have been hurting ever since the bursting of the dot-com bubble saw the rise of cheap PC servers running either Linux or Windows.

"People who might not have in the past considered a Sun server for Windows will now consider it," said Michael Cherry, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft.

Sun has been making aggressive partnership moves. IBM said last month that it would sell PC-based servers and blades using Solaris.

For Microsoft, the tie-up could help the company compete in the hot virtualisation market, where it is second to market leader VMware. Sun has long had its own virtualisation technology, called Solaris Containers.

Today's announcement, the companies said, expanded an initial technical cooperation agreement signed in April 2004, where Microsoft also paid Sun US$1.6 billion to settle lingering anti-trust and patent disputes.

"What we have had has already produced good fruit, but we are looking forward to a significant expansion," Lees said.

Sun will also build an interoperability centre on Microsoft's US campus in Redmond. The companies will also expand their Internet Protocol television partnership, which involves Microsoft's MediaRoom IPTV and multimedia platform and Sun's server and storage systems.

Sun launched its SunFire servers two years ago as its first foray into the fast-growing PC server market. The servers run less expensive but powerful Advanced Micro Devices Opteron processors and start at prices of less than US$1,000.

The SunFire servers already support Windows Server, along with Red Hat Linux, Novell's Suse Enterprise Linux, VMware's ESX virtualisation system and Sun's own Solaris operating system, according to Lisa Sieker, vice president of marketing at Sun Systems.

That allowed customers that had volume-license agreements with Microsoft to send their image DVDs to Sun and have the company preinstall Windows Server, Sieker said.

But with this agreement, Sun will now officially be able to ship servers preinstalled with Windows Server to any customer or channel partner, she said. Windows Server will still be unable to run on Sun Fire servers using Sun's own Sparc64 chips, she said.

Sun will continue to support and resell Red Hat and Suse Linux on its Sun Fire servers, she said. Future versions of those servers will also use Intel processors.

Asked if Sun's latest alliance shows its intent to compete more directly with Linux and VMware, Sieker said, "We are responding to strong customer demand for this. It's a complex marketplace out there."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Eric Lai

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?