As many are already aware, we embarked upon a journey a couple years ago to formally separate the Solaris operating system from Sun’s hardware business – as well as bring Solaris to the free and open source software world via a community effort named OpenSolaris. None of these changes were easy, but I’d like to believe both were successful. What’s my proof?
Words alone cannot describe how great it feels to type that sentence. In fact, I think I’ll type it again.
By now, you’ve seen the news that Sun and IBM have struck a deal to support Solaris on IBM hardware.
Through the relationship, IBM will become a Solaris OEM, and will resell subscriptions on their System X and BladeCenter hardware – in addition, we’ll both work on optimizations for drivers and system performance, and collaborate to serve customers that want choice. (As I said to a journalist today after the announcement, vendors that don’t offer choice can only serve customers that don’t want choice… while IBM and Sun can serve the rest.)
To me, this is a tectonic shift in the marketplace – bringing together erstwhile competitors to serve a marketplace IBM and Sun agree is bigger than the both of us. By working together, we can serve customers wanting to run Solaris on IBM hardware, and deliver a unique set of solutions (including IBM’s middleware, the majority of which is certified on Solaris, too). This isn’t about displacing partners or revenue streams, it’s about growing both – and as the first Tier 1 x86 system vendor to sign on as a comprehensive Solaris OEM, IBM is clearly in the pole position to capture that growth.
Does this change the world? Answering for Sun, I think yes – it does. The announcement validates what we’ve been saying all along – the momentum around Solaris as a cross platform, open source operating system is indisputable. Driven by integrated virtualization, extreme performance, the integrity of the open source OpenSolaris community, and most of all… driven by tons of new developers and customers, across the world, building new solutions and businesses on the web.
We’ve also said, all along, that a groundswell of developer adoption is the best leading indicator of commercial opportunities – for us, our developers and partners. This relationship puts that debate to rest.
So thank you, IBM – we’re looking forward to working together. We couldn’t be more excited (but that was probably obvious). A world of opportunity awaits us both…