Mainframe Propeller Head

Feb 5 2009   11:20AM GMT

OpenSolaris on IBM System z: Reality or hype?

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

A reader, Chris, wrote in with the following question: I saw this article in December 2008 (on OpenSolaris on IBM System z) but it appears to be from December 2007. Is this reality or hype?

Sun Microsystems’ OpenSolaris on the IBM System z mainframe is a reality, although time will tell whether actual use of it in production will grow to a sustainable level. A company called Sine Nomine Associates did most of the work in getting OpenSolaris working on the mainframe, but had help both from Sun Microsystems and IBM. After working on and testing it for three years, Sine Nomine Associates announced in October that OpenSolaris on the IBM System z mainframe was ready and available. The project has support from Sun on its OpenSolaris site, as well as IBM, which announced in November that OpenSolaris could start running on a mainframe specialty processor called the Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL), which was originally designed to just run Linux applications.

It’s still early in the game, and whether anyone is actually using OpenSolaris on the IBM System z mainframe in production is in question, and not likely. Whether it can grow in popularity like Linux on the IBM System z mainframe is also in question, although it took zLinux quite a few years to catch on with the mainframe crowd.

2  Comments on this Post

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  • Iwoodstock
    OpenSolaris on Z will have the same issues as Linux on Z. Just because you can run the OS doesn't mean you can run the applications, the binaries are different on each platform. Any application that you have for Sparc/Solaris or X86/Solaris will have be be recompiled for z/Solaris - so right away that limits you to open source packages, I'd be surprised to see (m)any software vendors supporting Solaris on Z. It's an interesting technical achievement but that's about it.
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  • Blueboar
    Things may be different in adoption that that of Linux, as I am not sure if this will really runs on the z/VM without any other translators - I assume this is where IBM's recent acquisition of Transitive may come in. If they are able to somehow incorporate Transitive, then you would not have to recompile x86/Solaris applications to run it on Z. Agree this can be an interesting development that may not be too easy to dismiss. Afterall Sun is aiming the Opensolaris platform largely on x86 and not sparc (IMHO), so this development further this, albeit with IBM's blessing.
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