Sun Updates Solaris

Incremental update features enhanced memory management.

Upgrades to Unix operating systems were in the offing on Tuesday as IBM Corp. introduced a significant update to its AIX 5L operating environment. On the same day, Sun Microsystems Inc. unveiled an update to its Solaris 9 operating environment that should enhance Solaris’ performance on large SMP systems.

The most significant enhancement to Sun Solaris 9/02—an enhanced memory management technology called Memory Placement Optimization (MPO)—is intended for the Unix kingpin’s high-end SunFire SPARC-based servers. MPO is said to optimize memory access in Sun’s SunFire 3800 through its SunFire 15000 servers. The company says MPO makes it possible for the chips in a large SMP system, such as Sun’s 106-way SunFire 15000, to exploit memory resources that are physically close to them, which results in faster access times that can help to augment performance in data-warehousing and transaction-oriented environments.

"Sun’s high-end systems, like most on the market, can access some memory from a given processor faster than they can access other memory from another processor, so obviously you’d like to keep your access to memory as close as possible," explains Gordon Haff, an analyst with consultancy Illuminata Inc., who notes that IBM introduced a similar feature in AIX 5.2. "Microsoft has also said that they’re working on this."

Solaris 9/02 also features an IP Quality of Service (IPQoS) feature that permits system operators to provision network resources such as bandwidth to users, customers or applications that need them most.

As part of the upgrade, Sun is bundling developer versions of its Sun ONE Portal Server and Sun ONE Web Server. Customers who choose to deploy production applications on the Sun ONE Portal must pay $57,000 per CPU. The per-CPU price tag for the Sun ONE Web Server is $1,495.

According to Illuminata’s Haff, Sun’s Solaris 9/02 release is an "incremental update," largely because Sun shipped its massive Solaris 9 overhaul several months ago. "It’s a fairly modest update, but remember that Solaris 9 was quite a large release," he observes. "[Solaris 9/02] includes some relatively small pieces that will certainly appeal to individual groups in specific industries."

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.