I really try not to write about IBM news but this one is more about Sun than IBM…..

IBM & Sun announced:

“IBM will distribute the Solaris Operating System and Solaris Subscriptions for select x86-based IBM System x servers and BladeCenter servers to clients through IBM’s routes to market.”

This definitely sounds like Sun isn’t competing with Red Hat ;-) Note that I believe that there is nothing wrong with Sun (or anyone) competing with Red Hat. Competition is good for customers and good for vendors.

The deal is essentially an OEM relationship in which IBM sells the hardware and, based on customer requirements, could sell Linux, Windows or Solaris. If customers choose Solaris, the support subscription is delivered by Sun. IBM is compensated by Sun for their part in driving the sale of the Solaris support subscription. Note that the deal is different than what IBM or HP are currently doing with Solaris on x86. Yesterday, neither IBM, nor, HP were able to OEM or sell support subscriptions to Solaris on x86 servers. Today (well in 90 days apparently?), IBM becomes the only OEM vendor for Solaris on x86.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear Schwartz and Zeitler (IBM) that this deal is about customer choice. A few questions on the conference call asked:

“Won’t this deal increase the likelihood of an IBM HW customer who chooses Solaris to later move to Sun hardware? Or a Solaris customer who chooses IBM HW to later choose AIX or Linux?”

The answer from Sun & IBM was:

“You’re better off to meet customers with solutions that they are seeking versus trying to restrict the customer to one stack or another”.

Choice is a wonderful thing.