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Sun Solaris gets new partitioning feature

Feature, called Logical Domains, lets Sparc-based servers run multiple copies of Unix variant in separate partitions.

Sun Microsystems has updated its Solaris operating system with a feature that lets its newest Sparc-based servers run multiple copies of the Unix variant in separate partitions.

The feature, called Logical Domains, or LDoms, is in Solaris 11/06, the company plans to announce Tuesday. As reported, the feature catches Sun partway up with Unix server rivals Hewlett-Packard and IBM, and augments a technology that lets administrators divide a single copy of Solaris into several separate "containers."

The move is part of Sun's effort to rebuild its server reputation and market share. It's had some success in restoring its fortunes after years of pain, but top rivals HP and IBM have advantages they lacked during Sun's dot-com dominance.

In addition, Sun plans to announce that it will incorporate a feature comparable to LDoms, the open-source Xen hypervisor, in its "Galaxy" line of x86 servers in 2007. Xen is scheduled to arrive in the next update of Solaris, due this summer, Sun said.

Xen is incorporated into Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server and will be in Red Hat's Enterprise Linux 6, due February 28.

A year ago, Sun's server chief, John Fowler, said he thought it would be possible to support Xen on Sun's x86 servers in 2006, but the project has been in high flux, complicating integration factors. In addition, Xen works most commonly with Linux, but Sun is integrating it tightly with Solaris as well.