Sun is introducing three levels of paid support for the OpenSolaris 2008.5 code drop for developers and end users. Support starts at $49 per incident for developers and runs to $2,160 per system per year for tailored customizations, and includes 24x7 phone support along with fixes and updates.
The OpenSolaris 2008.5 bundle is also available without support but Sun claimed its price and service levels beat doing it yourself and also compare "very favorably" to Linux rival - and partner - Red Hat, which s Dan Roberts, director of marketing for Solaris and Sun's database products, called just a "packaging company".
"With Sun, you get that [engineering] experience top to bottom - the people who wrote the kernel can write and deliver fixes back to you," he said.
Sun is also pushing the integration of features such as ZFS and its image packaging system - to download and consume packages for Solaris such as Apache, PHP or development tools - that it said provide roll-back of a complete system, against distros like Ubuntu.
If current or potential Red Hat and Ubuntu users are one designated target, then so to are developers using hosted computing platforms to keep their infrastructure costs down while building applications.
Amazon is offering selected developers the ability to run OpenSolaris applications on its EC2 "cloud computing" servers. Participation for now is by invitation only - the service has a beta tag while the company learns how to scale up.