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Sun Takes Aim At Red Hat

Sun fired a major counter-offensive against Linux nemesis Red Hat Tuesday by announcing hefty discounts on its forthcoming Solaris 10 Unix upgrade on commodity hardware.

Sun President Jonathan Schwartz, speaking at a Wall-Street conference, revealed plans to offer a 50 percent discount to any Red Hat Linux customer that switches to the Solaris 10 Unix upgrade and will repurchase any customer's Xeon-based server and give them a "big" discount of $1,250 off AMD's Opteron servers.

In addition to those price incentives, Sun said it will provide a global Unix/Linux support center to handle customers' technical issues 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

In the financial services market, Sun sales have been hit hard by the cost-efficient Linux-based x86 server alternative. Schwartz didn't try to tiptoe around the intended target of its cost cutting campaign, noting that Solaris 10 outperforms any Red Hat benchmark and is the first version of the Unix OS to support Linux workloads natively. He claimed customers have quietly complained about Red Hat's technical support.

"We are targeting Red Hat specifically," said Schwartz at the New York event, outlining the company's next-generation software, server and storage assault designed to slow the spread of Linux. "Linux isn't so free anymore; it's $1,000 per CPU and customers are frustrated by Linux support." Rather than shy away from its Unix heritage, Schwartz instead unleashed a war of words against Red Hat and claimed that Sun's next-generation Solaris significantly outpaces Linux in price and performance as well as multi-platform support and better technical support.

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