Sun to take Ubuntu into the data centre on Niagara

By   |  May 30, 2006

Sun has officially announced that Ubuntu Dapper Drake will run on its UltraSPARC T1 processor. With Canonical having said that Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (Long-Term Support) is to be the first corporate distribution in its short but eventful history, the announcement adds meat to its promise by taking Ubuntu into the data centre.

The UltraSPARC T1 – also known as the Niagara – runs Sun’s current range of Sun Fire T1000 and T2000 servers. Through the OpenSPARC initiative, Canonical engineering and the Ubuntu community were given open access to the design of the UltraSPARC T1 processor. The release of the Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution on UltraSPARC T1 took only ten weeks after the open source release of the chip design.

Sun had some very nice things to say about the distribution started by South African Mark Shuttleworth: “Ubuntu is arguably one of the most important – if not the most important – GNU/Linux distribution on the planet and will soon blaze new trails in support for SPARC-based servers,” says John Fowler, VP Sun Microsystems. “The availability of both Solaris and Linux-based operating systems on the Niagara platform will further expand our lead in delivering chip multi-threaded innovation and choice to customers.”

“There has been a vibrant community working with Ubuntu on SPARC for some time. Given the broadening of our offering from desktops to servers, and the power and promise of CoolThreads servers, official support for SPARC was a natural fit with our upcoming enterprise-ready release of Ubuntu 6.06 LTS,” says Shuttleworth.

With the release of Ubuntu 6.06 LTS – expected Thursday 1 June – SPARC will become one of Ubuntu’s officially supported server architectures. Ubuntu 6.06 LTS server support will be available for a period of five years, and apart from free security updates, Canonical will also offer technical support for SPARC-based systems on a paid, commercial basis.

Introduced in December 2005, Sun’s CoolThreads server line has been embraced by leading Internet and Web 2.0 companies like eBay, Bank of America and Chinese Web giant Sina.com that now use the industry’s first eight-core, 32-threaded server in their data centres.

The Sun Fire T1000 server starts at $2 995 and the Sun Fire T2000 Server at $7 795. Canonical’s technical support for Ubuntu on SPARC servers starts at $700 per year for a single machine.

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