Unix may still be the core of Sun Microsystems' server universe, but the newest version of its Solaris operating system also reflects a growing accommodation of Windows NT in the company's long-term plans.
Announced last week, Solaris 7 is the new branding for the operating system previously dubbed 2.7. It includes enhanced 64-bit support, more Java and Web-serving capabilities and scalability clustering. Other new technologies make it easier to install Solaris applications, and offer better partitioning support and interoperability with Windows NT.
Don Lowe, Sun Microsystems' marketing director, said the new version incorporates a range of new software features, either licensed, acquired or developed internally. One of these is a configuration agent software designed to allow users to manage and configure Solaris and Windows NT environments using wizards and tools similar to those used by Windows NT.
Integration with Windows NT's directory services, security authentication and file and print features will also enable Solaris to be the primary domain controller in mixed environments.
Users will also be able to leverage Windows NT tools to manage Windows NT services running on Solaris.
Other new features in Solaris 7 include an upgraded Java Virtual Machine (JVM) which Lowe claims will offer users enhanced performance.
Despite its moves to more effectively interoperate with Windows NT, Sun has no intention of running the operating system on its own hardware, Lowe said. Rather, Sun is backing Solaris' robustness to be used as a central server managing heterogeneous environments.
This correlates with the opinions of US-based users and analysts who claim the enhanced features in Solaris 7 are as much an attempt to boost Unix application performance as they are a way to convince skittish users that Sun's anti-NT hardware stance will not maroon them on a Unix island.
Continuing on a path it set with last May's release of Solaris 2.6, Sun will offer the latest release as a range of modules.