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Sun backs open-source database PostgreSQL

Company plans to distribute database and optimize it for Solaris. It also plans to include Xen virtualization, Linux compatibility next year.

BOSTON--Sun Microsystems has thrown its weight behind PostgreSQL, announcing plans to distribute and support the open-source database.

The server and software company said Thursday that it will integrate PostgreSQL into its Solaris operating system, and will begin offering support services to business customers running the software.

At a press conference here, company executives said Sun engineers will participate in the PostreSQL open-source project to tune the database for Solaris and beef up its high-end capabilities.

John Loiacono, Sun's executive vice president of software, said Sun will seek to integrate the Postgres database capabilities with Sun's operating system and its management system.

"We're going to take (the database) and do tighter integration with Solaris and support it on a worldwide basis," Loiacono said. The company expects to offer database-related services by next month.

As previously reported, Sun also said that it has released its 128-bit file system, Solaris ZFS, into the OpenSolaris open-source project. The software will be packaged with OpenSolaris next month and fully integrated into "update one" of Solaris 10 in the first half of next year, executives said.

In addition, Sun will add the Xen virtualization software into OpenSolaris and make it available with an update to Solaris 10 due in September of next year.

Sun also said it intends to add a feature called Solaris Containers for Linux applications into OpenSolaris by the end of the year. The software allows Red Hat Linux applications to run on OpenSolaris.

The Solaris Containers for Linux applications feature had been called the Linux Application Environment and is code-named Janus. It's expected to arrive in the production version of Solaris by the middle of 2006, while ZFS is due in early to mid-2006, Sun said in October.

Sun's decision to back Postgres ends months of speculation. Top company executives earlier this year voiced plans to offer services for an open-source database without specifying one product.

With the PostgreSQL offering, Sun is looking to answer customer requests for an open-source database, executives said. In fact, the company expects to offer support services for other databases that run on Solaris 10.

"The strategy has been, and remains, integrating more and more pieces into the operating system," Loiacono said. Customers "very much like the idea of an integrated portfolio."

Sun will be targeting developers with its database primarily with the hope of having it used in new applications.

The company currently has a partnership with Oracle under which Oracle has chosen Sun's Solaris 10 has its preferred 64-bit development platform.

When it updates Solaris 10 next year, Sun will bundle PostgreSQL with its operating system. The pricing for database support will be included in the cost of the Solaris contract, executives said.