OPENWORLD - Dell to offer Solaris systems under pact with Sun

Schwartz says Sun can no longer keep Solaris from non-Sun servers

The top executives of Sun Microsystems and Dell joined forces at the Oracle OpenWorld user conference on Wednesday to unveil an agreement that lets Dell offer Sun's Solaris operating system on its PowerEdge servers.

Dell CEO and Chairman Michael Dell made a surprise appearance during a keynote speech by Sun CEO and President Jonathan Schwartz to announce the signing of a multiyear distribution and reseller agreement that will let Dell provide Solaris on selected PowerEdge servers.

Schwartz said that Sun has reached a "different phase" in its history and is now more interested in establishing the largest Solaris customer base possible rather than cutting off support to customers running the operating system on non-Sun hardware.

"The stupidest thing in the world we could have done is gone to those [Solaris] customers and say, 'You blew it; you made a mistake.' And they could have looked at us and said, 'No you don't understand me,'" said Schwartz.

After an acrimonious past littered with years of head-to-head hardware sales battles between Sun and Dell, Schwartz remarked that "history is behind us, and today is proof."

According to Schwartz, the agreement will let Dell technicians respond to customers calls for Solaris 10 support. He said that Sun will work directly with Dell personnel to "seamlessly" push updated patches or bug fixes out to the PowerEdge install base when necessary.

"We heard from customers [who] wanted us to provide better support for Solaris so that's exactly what we're going to do," Dell added.

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