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By | Ashlee Vance 14th November 2007 21:08

Four years and 1000 promises land Solaris at Dell

Waiting for HP

SC07 By our count, it has taken Sun about four years and 1,000s of promises to bring Dell over to the Solaris camp in a proper fashion.

Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz assured us of a Dell win so many times in the past that the discussion started to lose all meaning. "When will you line Dell up?" we'd ask. "Stay tuned. It's on the way," Schwartz would reply.

But here we are and Sun has indeed captured the Roundest Rock. Dell joins IBM as a company that can pre-bundle Solaris on its machines. In addition, both Dell and IBM can sell support for Solaris or let Sun do the dirty work.

This is a funny turn of events if you've followed the Solaris x86 saga.

In the old days, Compaq was the largest non-Sun consumer of Solaris x86. After the merger, HP ignored Solaris for awhile but then actually started certifying the OS on all of its latest and greatest servers. HP still does this today, although it now stands as the lone Tier 1 that cannot officially support Solaris.

Shouldn't HP have been the first to give Solaris the service squeeze?

"That would have been what we thought also," Sun's server and storage chief John Fowler told us today at the Supercomputing conference. "We would love it if they did."

Dell has supported Solaris in the past, although it relied on a "when requested" as opposed to "direct" model. Customers would need to place a special order for the OS.

But now we're talking about a co-marketing, co-selling type arrangement. In addition, Sun and Dell say they will craft products together that include software bundles from third parties.

We're dismayed that given this positive step to a concrete deal, Schwartz would resort back to his familiar lines.

"This is going to be the first of many such agreements between the two companies," Schwartz told Reuters. "I would stay tuned in the next 30 to 60 days." ®

Register editor Ashlee Vance has just pumped out a new book that's a guide to Silicon Valley. The book starts with the electronics pioneers present in the Bay Area in the early 20th century and marches up to today's heavies. Want to know where Gordon Moore eats Chinese food, how unions affected the rise of microprocessors or how Fairchild Semiconductor got its start? This is the book for you - available at Amazon US here or in the UK here.

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