Solaris gears up for new processors

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Sun has confirmed that its Open Solaris operating system will be ready to use new features on the forthcoming Intel Nehalem processor range before it actually launches.

The company is now been working for the last 18 months to develop platforms running Solaris and Open Solaris on Intel architecture. According to Sun’s director of business management Herb Hinstorff, some code that has been optimized for Nehalem.

“By Fall we want all Nehalem features ready on Open Solaris before the new procesors are released,” he said.

“Every six months we do a total refresh of the Open Solaris. The first release was in May so the new release will come six months later in November.”

This gives a clearer picture of Intel’s release cycle, since the chip maker hasn’t disclosed a final release date as yet. Full release times are expected at the next Intel Developer Forum in August.

Some of the new features of the processor will include simultaneous multithreading (SMT), which allows one core to be virtualised into many. This was a feature of the Pentuim 4 family but was dropped for the Core 2 Duo platform.

Power management is also going to be improved, as is reliability, The Open Solaris platform running on Nehalem will offer system administrators a lot more options before shutting down a system.

“It can take what would be a fatal error and turn it into a simple memory error,” said Andy roach, senior director of X64 engineering at Sun.

“This would allow hotswapping to keep systems up and running. It’s about using various levels of fault management.”

Hinstorff also explained that the cooperation with Intel had proved very beneficial to the company, with almost 1,000 Intel systems now capable of running Solaris and a huge uptake of Open Solaris.
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