Sun Microsystems this week matured a bit as an x86 server vendor by kicking off a broad partnership with VMware that will see the companies team on engineering and sales efforts.
Of most immediate help to customers is the support of VMware's highest-end partitioning product - ESX Server - with Sun's line of Opteron-based hardware. Down the road, VMware plans to bring all of its software packages to Sun's systems, including support for the StorEdge 6920 array. This will even up Sun's x86 server partitioning play with rivals IBM, HP and Dell, which all enjoy a long-standing VMware relationship.
(VMware also manages to pull Sun from the Xen-only camp.)
Sun has secured a small edge over rivals with VMware agreeing to support Solaris 10 x86 as a guest operating system in VMware's desktop and server products. That puts Sun's version of Unix next to Windows and Linux as options for customers. Sun has done a decent job of building out the ISV camp for Solaris x86 and VMware is a fine scalp to take.
Also as part of their deal, Sun will resell VMware's ESX Server, GSX Server and Workstation products.
Sun rival EMC owns VMware, but the storage giant has done its best to keep VMware's vendor neutral roots. Apparently, VMware executives were impressed enough with Sun's progress in the x86 server market to warrant broad support.
Sun is soon expected to release a new fleet of Opteron servers that will complement existing two- and four-socket systems. The Sun gossip mill, however, has been unusually quiet, making many wonder if the new servers will be delayed yet again. ®