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According to a News.com report quoting a Sun Microsystems’ official, the company plans to release a special version of its Solaris that will take advantage of AMD64 architecture found in AMD’s Opteron and Athlon 64 chips in 2004. This is the first public announcement of Sun’s support AMD 64-bit architecture, even though, a quite obvious one, given that the Santa Clara, California-based server company has always been trying to stop Intel’s Itanium processors from becoming popular.

“Sun made the decision because of the speed that software shows on AMD Opteron, Jonathan Schwartz, Sun Software Chief said. “It is highly performant on the systems we have looked at now,” he added.

A test version of Solaris for AMD Opteron platforms is scheduled to arrive in the first quarter of 2004, with the final version later in the year, according to the official from Sun.

The Solaris operating system is a version of Unix used in servers and combines traditional OS functionality, application services and identity management. So far the Solaris has been available only for SPARC and x86 platforms, but not for other 64-bit architectures, such as Intel Itanium-series competing directly with 64-bit solutions developed by Sun.

It is still not clear whether Sun will adopt AMD Opteron processors for its own servers or not, as quite controversy statements came from Sun’s executives in the past.

Seeing the growing demand for relatively low-cost servers Sun earlier adopted Intel and AMD x86 processors, but the company still utilizes its own SPARC chips in high-end servers and workstations. We can even outline its general trend – x86 for cost-effective applications and SPARC for lucrative and high-end machines. Sun did not want competing 64-bit architectures to emerge and now does not want them to become popular. However, understanding the possible demand for 64-bit processing, Sun may choose to push AMD rather than Intel, since the former does not directly compete with Sun’s own solutions at this point.

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