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Solaris Rising

Is Sun reshaping itself from a vendor known mainly for its RISC-based workstations and servers into a software intellectual-property powerhouse?

That's my main takeaway from a recent briefing by Sun executives, who visited VARBusiness to tout the company's renewed focus on its long-time financial-services customer base on Wall Street.

While Sun certainly has been going gangbusters on the hardware front -- its Opteron-based servers have become wildly popular -- much of its success moving forward will be tied to what it does with its Solaris operating system and Java software platform.

The first leg of Sun's new strategy is to broaden the appeal of Solaris beyond its Sparc roots. With an update called Solaris 10 due for release by year's end, Sun is embarking on a major marketing push to emphasize the OS as a solution for all platforms. (Interestingly, that's a back-to-the-future plan, initially attempted with Solaris-on-x86 in the early 1990s; however, that never took off to the extent the company hoped.)

The not-too-subtle subtext behind the current all-platforms push is that Solaris isn't only an alternative to Windows, but it's also an option for customers who might otherwise consider Linux.

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