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Sun Microsystems IBM IT

Solaris Now an Option for IBM Blades 101

Amiga Trombone writes to tell us that IBM and Sun have reached an agreement allowing Solaris 10 to be supported on IBM BladeCenter servers. From the article: "IBM confirmed the move in a statement, saying Sun is among more than 700 partners in the "BladeCenter ecosystem" and that as an operating system option, Solaris joins Windows, Linux for x86 and Power chips, and IBM's AIX version of Unix. IBM won't sell Solaris or support for the operating system to customers, IBM said. Anyone interested will have to purchase the software and support from Sun."
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Solaris Now an Option for IBM Blades

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  • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <<akaimbatman> <at> <gmail.com>> on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @01:43PM (#13934162) Homepage Journal
    Me: Hey Dante, what's wrong?

    Dante: Oh nothing, nothing at all.

    Me: Come on, you can't fool me. Something's up.

    Dante: Alright. You've heard about the news from Sun and IBM, right?

    Me: No, not at all.

    Dante: Well, apparently IBM is now bundling Solaris on some of its machines.

    Me: No kidding? That's pretty shocking. But why does that bum you?

    Dante: You see, me and my buddy Virgil just took another tour of hell. Sort of a "Dante's Inferno for the Modern Sinner" type of thing. We wanted everyone to know that hell is just as bad as before.

    Me: And?

    Dante: And we're having to change the name of the book. Hell is not only bad, it's worse than ever! The only down side is that "Dante's Not So Inferno" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

    Me: No! You don't mean...

    Dante: That's right, hell has officially frozen over!
  • Purchase it? [sun.com] You can get it for free.
    • Yea, and get no support. You can also get OpenSolaris for Free. Support starts @ $120/yr and up. IBM tells you up front they won't support Solaris, you gotta go to Sun for that.
  • News from the future (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hritcu ( 871613 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @01:47PM (#13934206) Homepage
    IBM buys Sun.
    • > IBM buys Sun.

      No, you've got it wrong. It's not IBM. A much larger and more international company will buy out Sun. The only question is whether it will be McDonald's or Coca-Cola...
      • Does this mean I get OpenSolaris CDs in my Big Kid's Meal?

        • > Does this mean I get OpenSolaris CDs in my Big Kid's Meal?

          Actually, I just happen to have inside information here about several upcoming Happy Meal promotions. There are going to be two with free CDs in the near future, but unfortunately neither is OpenSolaris; one is the Rootkit Happy Meal, and the other is the 2LiveCrew Happy Meal. Also coming up are the Pamela Anderson Happy Meal (with plush poseable), the Chernobyl Happy Meal (with free glowing rock), and the Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese Ha
  • by turgid ( 580780 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @01:57PM (#13934314) Journal

    It's no secret that AIX sucks and IBM wanted to battle Solaris with Linux, but Solaris has a lot of advantages over Linux still. Give it another 3-5 years,thoug.

    It's an open secret that Solaris doesn't just run on SPARC and x86. It's highly portable, and earlier this year, there was an official port of Open Solaris to PowerPC announced over at opensolaris.org. Heck, there was even an itanic port of Solaris last decade to prove that itanic sucks compared to everything else.

    I reckon we'll see Solaris on big multi-processor POWER iron soon. Watch this space.

    • Yup. They call it Polaris. Here is the link to the Subversion repository: Polaris [genunix.org]

      They are not [blogspot.com] happy with the name, though.

    • I reckon we'll see Solaris on big multi-processor POWER iron soon. Watch this space.

      With pSeries logical partitioning? I kinda doubt it. IBM just got 'round to adding it to the Linux kernels they support for Power4 and Power5, and other than that it's been AIX's ace in the hole.

      I can't check the Polaris project blog, since the repressive net-monitoring regime at work blocks blogspot. Are they planning to try to fit LPAR into the Polaris kernel, or is a p6 or p5 series box just gonna be a really big SMP bo

    • The biggest advantage Solaris on x86 has over Linux on x86 is... ...well, it...

      I got nothin'.
      • Filesystem performace is slower than ext3 with small files? Er....

        System hangs with Adaptec SCSI adapters? No, that's not good either....

        I know! Even Worse Video Card Support! Yay Solaris!

        I tried "Solaris Admins Already Know How To Admin It," an argument recommended by Sun, and our Solaris admins said, "We're Not Touching Solaris x86. You want x86, you get Linux."

      • First thoughts are dtrace, QOS partitioning, and being able to reduce processes running as root to almost nothing. Excellent lights-out-management services built in (no add-on cards needed) makes remote maintenance wicked simple.

        Add onto that one-call support for a down machine, I don't have to worry about whether it is an OS issue or a hardware issue, I just call Sun.

        They might even be able to fix it .....
        • Add onto that one-call support for a down machine, I don't have to worry about whether it is an OS issue or a hardware issue, I just call Sun.

          Unless we're talking Solaris x86 on an IBM BladeCenter. Then, it's call IBM, who says it's an OS issue so call Sun, who says it's a hardware issue, so call IBM...ad nauseum...

    • AIX sucks? And how's that? I find that it's quite well polished and my only gripes are the whole "ODM" thing and that you're forced to use logical volume management on everything.

      I like LVM, but it really introduces an unnecessary layer of complexity when you're dealing with the boot disks.
  • For x86 blades only (Score:4, Informative)

    by sapbasisnerd ( 729448 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @01:58PM (#13934326)
    TFA and the summary are confusing.

    This announcement covers running Solaris 10 for x86 on Xeon EM64T or AMD blades (HS20 and LS20) it does NOT mean that Solaris will run on the JS20 PowerPC blades.

    • Wake me up when there is a Debian distro I can download.

      Thanks.
    • Great for Solaris, but how 'bout FC4 on HS20 blades [google.com]? I have been able to get it to work with some boot-up messages, but not reliably. I guess there aren't many people that use "unsupported" operating systems on these things. Bladecenters are a really good idea, but horribly poor implementation. IBM must not have a QA department.
      • Don't waste your time with Fedora. It is a subpar Linux distribution, especially if you have serious work to get done. Indeed, your best bet is to use basically any other general purpose Linux distribution, including Debian, SuSE, and Slackware. Just avoid Fedora. As you have found, the quality is severely lacking.

      • I guess there aren't many people that use "unsupported" operating systems on these things.

        Given the support infrastructure that all blade datacenters seem to have, I'd be surprised if anyone there blinked when it came to spending a few thousand a year for O/S support. It's typically just another relatively fixed cost, and is one of the things factored in when discussing expansion plans. I'm guessing that you're not trying to run FC on the "spare" blade of your four-blade data center... ;)
        • =_) No, we have a few hundred blades! The idea is to use Xen, and I found it convenient that FC4 comes with Xen. Part of our problem is that lots of things that run on "normal" computers do not work on IBM blades -- FreeBSD was a total bitch and a half just to get working -- nonstandard USB, weird KVM management, and other bizarre oddities. Turns out that the Xen-unstable is more stable than the release of Xen -- at least on these hosts.
          • The idea is to use Xen

            Patience grasshopper http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1879130,00.as p [eweek.com]

            As for abnormality, hey, there's no free lunch, you want to cram 14 2Way servers and SAN switchs and GBE switchs into 7U of rack you gotta give something up. You want something that behaves like a "normal" computer then get 14 1U pizza boxes and break out the cable ties.

            • Yeah, no shit. Just wish IBM had a QA department, or wouldn't advertise these things as suitable replacements for 1U rack jobs. People succumb to the marketing information -- and on specs alone, they look like good units. Then you use a bank of 'em, and find that the KVM works when it wants to, there are no serial ports period, the hardware is wacky enough to confuse even the most standard of distributions (pick one). Then you find out that half the features don't work. They put so much effort, hardware, an
  • by rainer_d ( 115765 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @02:05PM (#13934393) Homepage
    Immediately as "new" broke about this, I mailed the guys who sold us our LS20-bladecenter.
    The reality is that as of today, no specific information is available.
    Rumor has it that it will be certified still in Q4, but Q1 2006 is as likely.
    Officially, you won't get anything out of IBM about this.

    I'd love to run Solaris on our Dual-Core, Dual Opteron blades, but I doubt that:
      - I can get SAN-boot to work
      - I can get MP-failover to work
      - overall support for our HP EVA3000 SAN for the above two features.

    We don't have disks inside the blades and we will not buy any (they're not hot-swappable anyway).

    IMO, it's mostly a publicity-stunt.

    cheers,
    Rainer

    • by OS24Ever ( 245667 ) * <trekkie@nomorestars.com> on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @02:25PM (#13934561) Homepage Journal
      Sun 'leaked it out [sun.com]' via a blog post on Mr. Schwartz weblog. Official support from IBM as far as being posted on the NOS Cert site will be December.

      Update 1 is needed to support the BladeCenter's USB DVD-ROM drive for a local install, however you can PXE boot install it and it works fine. Update 1 is coming out shortly which is why IBM hadn't published anything about their intent to support it as an OS. Software and Utility support (RAID Manager, Systems Management software drivers) will be coming forward over the course of the 1H of 2006. If you have a BladeCenter, or are interested in one, feel free to contact your local IBM person and they should be able to give you more information.

      The reason your rep was probably caught by surprise when you called them is that we hadn't told them we were working on it yet as it was under non-disclosure.

      You might try talking to your IBM rep again as more information has been given out internally, we're just not advertising it officiall until later this month, with the support posted in December.

      Your three concern points, well, i don't know about the EVA portion but I thought HP supported Solaris. However I'd assume if Solaris supports SAN Boot and MP Failover as it is, the hardware in the BladeCenter wouldn't affect it any and allow it to work. The big one though would be EVA support though because if their multipath driver isn't done/working/whatever the rest might be a moot point.

      Our intentions deep within the bowels of IBM was not to support Solaris 10 as a 'publicity stunt', but more as we are getting requests to support it on the platform from customers. Our intent is to support both Intel architecture as well as AMD Architecture processors, but not Power.

      FWIW, my day job is:

      Tom Boucher
      IBM Americas xSeries BladeCenter/x3 Architecture Product Manager
      tboucher at us dot ibm dot com

      As a CYA I'm not posting this for my employer, more because I'm as interested in technology as the rest of us that view this site. Views expressed are my own, etc. etc.
      • > If you have a BladeCenter,

        Yes. With 8 LS 20 blades.
        Well, no. The company I work for owns one. Or it's leased, I don't remember. ;-)

        > Your three concern points, well, i don't know about the EVA portion but I thought HP supported Solaris.

        Yes.
        On SPARC.
        Upto Solaris9.
        Officially.
        I was planning to go to Linux-world in Frankfurt, later this month and grill SUN+HP about it, but I don't know if I can make it there.

        It was painfull enough to get it to boot RH4 from the SAN. The lesson learned is that unless the
      • Our intent is to support both Intel architecture as well as AMD Architecture processors, but not Power.

        So why not Power? If Sun is prepared to do the port and is going to be doing the OS support anyway, you'd think it would be in IBM's interest to provide as many options as possible for their hardware, and further establish the Power platform as a standard. It's not like it would take a disproportionately large investment on IBM's part.

        Who knows? If it got popular, perhaps Sun would be inclined to develop s
        • At the moment to my knowledge there isn't a power version, so we can't support it. I'm aware of only a porting effort caled 'portaris' that is in work, but it's more community based to my knowledge and not something Sun is working on.

          Our OS support is based on customer demand, right now the demand was for Intel and AMD Based systems, not Power. If the demand changes and there is a supported OS from Sun available that could always change in the future.
    • So switch to Sun Blades or the new Xseries boxes, and X4200 would work for you. Those run Solaris just fine and boot from SAN. Of course since you just bought IBM Blade Centers I guess that's not an option.
      • > So switch to Sun Blades or the new Xseries boxes, and X4200 would work for you. Those run Solaris just fine and boot
        > from SAN. Of course since you just bought IBM Blade Centers I guess that's not an option.

        We'd also have to buy a SUN SAN.
        Most likely.

        Guess what were going to do, being a RHEL+some FreeBSD shop.

        Rainer
        • Nope, Sun servers work fine with EMC, IBM and others SANs. Just put the right interface cards in there to connect to the switch/server.
        • We'd also have to buy a SUN SAN.

          Call it a Sun StorageTek SAN, and that doesn't sound so scary.

          Actually, the StorEdge 6130 rocks, especially if you are doing a huge number of wierd replications around the place. Its about bloody time Sun got some decent storage, but again, its going to take years before people would even consider looking at Sun as a storage vendor, their past products have been so Crap.

          T3 anybody?

  • by quark007 ( 765762 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @02:05PM (#13934394) Journal
    IBM Tech Support - Hello! May I help you?
    Tommy the admin - My new IBM blade server won't boot up!
    IBM Tech support - Hmm..What OS it has?
    Tommy the admin - Solaris 10.
    IBM Tech support - I am afraid I can't help you. You will need to talk with Sun! Here is the number xxx-xxx-xxxx
    Tommy the admin - ok.
    Calls xxx-xxx-xxxx
    Gets back ~This number does not exist. Please check the number or call directory assistance.~
    Goes to Sun Webpage. Searches for Tech Support.
    ~Gets 10000 hits.~
    ~Clicks on one.~
    ~Gets 404 Page not found error.~
    ~Goes to Google. Searches for Sun Tech Support. Gets the number!~
    ~Calls Sun Tech support.~
    Sun Tech support - Hello! How can I help you today?
    Tommy the admin - My new IBM blade server with Sun Solaris won't boot up!
    Sun Tech Support - I am afraid I can't help you. Please talk with IBM.
    ~hangs up~
    ~Tommy the admin takes zoloft~
    ~Tommy the admin is happy~
  • Hey wow, nice....fun (Score:5, Informative)

    by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @02:31PM (#13934621) Homepage
    Yeah, so I got an IBM blade center, good stuff. HS20s are ok, JS20s are "da bomb" as the kids on the street say (when they are refering to Power based AIX boxes). And you know, I like Solaris 10, I run it at home, it makes a nice KDC and OpenAFS fileserver. I would like to run Solaris 10 on the bladecenter, so you would think this is good news right?

    Well, suprisingly, what has been holding me back is not so much that I have been eagerly awaiting a press release telling me I can. What has been holding me back is that the solaris 10 installer DOES NOT FUCKING SUPPORT USB CDROMS DRIVES! It's been months, and it is a well known issue, that is all the blade center has, and every other damn OS on earth supports it.

    So yes, I could set up a bootp and tftp server and install solaris that way, but you know what? That is just slightly more trouble that I want to go to when I can just throw an AIX or Debian cd in.

    So in closing, IBM and Sun, in the future: Fewer press releases and more support for USB CDROMS would probably go further in getting people to put Solaris on a bladecenter.

    Finkployd

    • > So in closing, IBM and Sun, in the future: Fewer press releases and more support for USB CDROMS would probably go
      > further in getting people to put Solaris on a bladecenter.

      I'd rather say:
        - use a f...ine SCSI DVD.
        - or at least make the DVD USB2! Can you believe it? The CDROM is still USB1.1...

      Rainer
    • I can just throw an AIX or Debian cd in


      Humm.... AIX on x86? I'm not too sure about that. You choices are AIX and Linux on Power, or Linux and Solaris on x86. I just wanted to clarify that you would not be able to replace AIX with Solaris.
  • by Ed Almos ( 584864 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @02:41PM (#13934700)
    There will be extensive snowfalls throughout Hell and production of snowballs is expected to rise.

    Ed Almos
  • I was wondering when Sun's blade server [sun.com] updates were gonna show up.. I definitely didn't expect IBM to be supplying them!

    (and no, I don't count the Netra blades.. The USIIi is what, 6+ years old now?)
    • We've been hearing about a replacement for the B1600 RSN. This might be it, but I think that there's still an Andy design in the works.

      Not like Sun has anything to replace. I know of one B1600 that was sold in this city, whereas I can probably name a hundred of any other machine they've produced in the last five years. The B1600 was a sales disaster.
      • Not like Sun has anything to replace. I know of one B1600 that was sold in this city, whereas I can probably name a hundred of any other machine they've produced in the last five years. The B1600 was a sales disaster.

        The secret is to make breakeven with 1us when you go to 50-60% utilization of the chassis. IIRC Sun was just way too cute with its pricing. Mehopes the market has kicked Sun in the balls often enough and hard enough for them to price any new blade system within earshot of Dell's 1855s. No mo
  • This option sounds less attractive than a pointy stick in the eye.

  • Symbiosis (Score:3, Informative)

    by Mateito ( 746185 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @03:37PM (#13935194) Homepage
    This will benefit both parties.

    IBM need "Unix" on x86. AMD/Intel have the lions share of cheap processors that will do everything that 90% of customers need. As "Grid" gets more mature they will become more and more important, especially as 10Gbit and faster ethernet speeds become common and optimized TCP/IP stacks and dedicated hardware mean that you don't need to lose a processor in each node just to handle your grid interconnects.

    AIX doesn't run on x86, and it won't be ported to x86. As much as I love linux, it still has still some maturity problems when you start playing in the enterprise space, most of them to do with getting all the right libraries for your various applications to play nicely together and do on-the-fly upgrades that don't break application support. (Of course, some ISVs like that you have to buy a new version of their software to upgrade your OS, but most hardware vendors would prefer that the money came to them rather than the ISVs).

    IBM, HP and I believe Intel are working on a "Standard Linux", which will fix the inter-ISV problems. How long before that becomes (1)stable, (2) ported to by ISVs and (3) accepted by corporations will remain to be seen. (The big trick in the "chicken and egg" scenario between (2) and (3)). I'd say at least a couple of years.

    There are some real funky things in Solaris 10, but these will move into Linux, either by porting code from OpenSolaris or parallel development. A side issue may be the SCO FUD. Although we all know that SCO's claims are baseless, CxOs scare more easily, and may feel that Linux is still open to legal challenges in the future. Solaris is unencumbered (though it might be interesting to see what happens now that they've opened it).

    On the other side of the coin, most people still don't trust Sun with Solaris x86. Although they are finally backing their x86 strategy with some real hardware, many of us remember the on-again, off-again x86 strategy from the last few years. I think they're on the right track now, but CxOs have to be sure before betting the business.

    So, IBM benefit from having an industrial grade Unix on their blade servers for people who don't want to go Linux. Sun benefit by breaking the "proprietary Unix" tag that RedHat are using to attack Sun's installed base, showing that yes, our downloadable OS run's on other people's platforms.
  • This should provide IBM a boost in sales being that it's looking like it's providing true support for Solaris. Last I checked, other x86 blade vendors (HP and Dell come to mind) were only truly supporting Windows and Linux. Even though I consider them both enterprise operating systems, it'd be a lot easier justifying IBM BladeCenters to the higher ups and getting them in-house with Sun's support. In the long run, this could also get the convergence on one *nix OS (linux) easier since the gateway is in pl

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