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IBM, Red Hat Gang Up on Sun Solaris

By Jennifer LeClaire
May 17, 2005 11:44 AM PT

IBM and Red Hat today announced a Solaris-to-Linux server migration program designed to grab market share from Sun Microsystems. The "Solaris to Linux Migration Factory" and additional solutions and support offerings are designed to help customers migrate from Solaris to multi-platform Linux servers.

IBM, Red Hat Gang Up on Sun Solaris

The service includes a pre-funded, pre-sales migration assessment from IBM Systems & Technology Group. The assessment, which is intended to help qualified customers answer difficult questions and determine the right migration strategy to Linux, is free of charge. IBM's Migration Factory is engaged once the assessment is completed and the customer decides they want to continue with the migration.

Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff told LinuxInsider that he wasn't surprised by the coup. "It's not like IBM and Red Hat haven't already been doing all they can to take down Sun," he said. "IBM and Red Hat did not wake up this week and decide to start trying to replace Sun Solaris systems. Both companies have been doing that for the past few years."

Perhaps the only difference this time around is the "factory approach."

The Factory Approach

"A Solaris-to-Linux migration is nothing new at IBM. In fact, since IBM began its Linux journey several years ago, we estimate that more than 3,000 of our approximately 12,000 Linux customer engagements have been with customers moving from a Solaris environment to Linux," said Scott Handy, vice president of worldwide Linux for IBM.

"With volumes like these, we really needed a factory approach. And based on our experience, the number-one issue is that customers don't know just how easy a UNIX-to-Linux migration is, which is why we are offering to cover the cost of the initial assessment for qualified customers."

Haff said this factory approach simply systematizes and puts more focus on a process that has already existed at some level. But in his view, neither the IBM-Red Hat partnership nor this factory approach marks a change in direction for either company.

ISV Commitment Growing

IBM also announced today that another wave of 22 financial services Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) have committed to porting 48 Solaris applications to Linux on IBM's eServer platform since last year, of which 33 are already available as of today.

But Haff said that Sun is fighting back with its own Linux-based platform and actually partners with Red Hat: "To hear Scott McNealy in public you'd never know that Sun backsells a lot of Red Hat."

Chiphopper Sparks Adoption

Big Blue expects the adoption of Linux by formerly Solaris-exclusive ISVs to expand even faster with the recent introduction of IBM eServer Application Advantage for Linux, also known as Chiphopper. Chiphopper combines support and testing tools designed to help deliver on the promise of a cross-platform Linux solution for ISVs.

Since its introduction in February of this year, IBM said Chiphopper has resulted in more than 100 new applications being available on IBM eServers running Linux. While Chiphopper focuses on helping ISVs to move their applications to Linux, IBM said today's Solaris-to-Linux customer migration initiative is designed to help enable customers to move workloads from Solaris to multi-platform Linux faster and easier than in the past.

"Enterprise migration from Solaris to Linux is inevitable. Working with IBM we will make the transition from Solaris to Red Hat Enterprise Linux as efficient and easy as possible," said Paul Cormier, executive vice president of engineering at Red Hat. "The Chiphopper and Migration Factory programs offer clear concise plans to both customers and ISVs to make the move."


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