Sun's McNealy: Customer options with Intel deal

Sun's McNealy: Customer options with Intel deal

The alliance with Intel announced yesterday gives Sun Microsystems customers a wide range of options for running the Solaris operating system, Sun founder and chairman Scott McNealy says.

Speaking at a Sun conference for US government customers, McNealy told the audience the Intel partnership gives the open-source Solaris a platform on the two major x86-based processor vendors, Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), as well as Sun hardware. He called the Intel agreement a major step toward wider adoption of Solaris in government agencies and large businesses.

Sun will not push Intel over AMD or vice versa, he claimed in a press conference following his speech. "Some people are Ford folks, and some people are Chevy folks. We're not going to make them choose."

Sun launched a line of servers using AMD chips in late 2003, but Sun expects AMD and Intel to "leapfrog each other" with improvements in their processors and price advantages, added Bill Vass, president and chief operating officer of Sun Microsystems Federal, Sun's government-focused business.

Sun's goal is to provide government and other customers with a complete package of software that runs on multiple architectures, Vass told the conference attendees. Sun's message to customers will be, use the right architecture for the right job..

Sun, by releasing Solaris and other software under open-source licenses and by embracing open standards, wants government customers to see how they can avoid vendor lock-in, McNealy says.

McNealy asked the attendees what they'd like to see Sun do differently. One audience member said Sun needs to help its customers look at migration strategies to Solaris and other open-source software, "beyond just putting a stake in the ground."

"You're right," McNealy answered. "We can't say, 'don't do the wrong thing.' We've got to help people where they are today."

Sun does help customers migrate from legacy systems in steps, by moving applications one or two at a time, Vass added.

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