Sun shines light on Solaris 9

Security and management components added to the new Solaris 9 operating system are getting the thumbs-up from Canadian Unix users.

The Solaris 9 update, unveiled last month by Sun Microsystems Inc., integrates the company’s Application Server, Directory Server and Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition, and enhancements in the Unix File System and Solaris Volume Manager, which provides storage management tools.

At Sun’s Menlo Park, Calif.-based headquarters, executives positioned Solaris 9 as the biggest upgrade in a decade. Bundling Sun’s application server and directory server with Solaris 9 transforms the operating system into a complete platform for deploying Java applications and Web services, according to Ed Zander, Sun’s president and chief operating officer.

“I don’t believe Solaris 9 is an operating system any more,” he said. “This is not an operating system announcement, it’s a new class of product.”

Sun touted more than 300 new product features intended to boost the performance of applications and improve the security, partitioning and management features in its flagship OS. Besides the middleware products from its Sun ONE (Open Network Environment) family, Solaris 9 adds what the company called an “enterprise class” firewall at no charge with each copy of Solaris 9, as well as new provisioning and change management software.

James Ko, an Ottawa-based architect with Nortel Networks Corp.’s CDN passport management group and Solaris 8 customer, said he is definitely planning to upgrade. Ko was particularly enthusiastic about Solaris 9’s security features, including the Sunscreen firewall and the addition of IPsec with Internet Key Exchange (IKE).

Customers typically take their time upgrading to a new server OS, but when they do they will find features that make it easier to install, reboot, run and secure the product, according to Sun. Solaris users will now be able to upgrade both their root partition and a copy of the partition at the same time, instead of separately as is currently required, which could help save time and avoid potential user errors. Sun also improved its server reboot tools so that skipping lengthy system checks after a crash by enabling logging will not compromise the performance of processing transactions, for example, as was the case with Solaris 8, said Bill Moffitt, product line manager for Solaris.

Customers who are on one of Sun’s maintenance programs can upgrade to Solaris 9 free of charge. For others, Sun has reduced the number of processors in a system that are covered under its free download program. In the past, users could download Solaris for free for use on servers with up to eight processors.

Solaris 9 is available immediately with the Sun ONE Directory Server fully integrated, including a license for as many as 200,000 named users. Integration of the Sun ONE Application Server 7, Platform Edition, is slated for the end of calendar 2002, the company said. For more information, visit the company’s Canadian Web site at

– With files from IDG News Service