Sun to light Viacom sites

Media giant Viacom will use hardware from Sun Microsystems and the Solaris OS for its interactive services division, the companies said.

Media giant Viacom will use Sun Microsystems' hardware and the Solaris operating system to run its interactive services division, the companies said.

Viacom Interactive Services is responsible for the online arms of the company's popular cable channels such as MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1, Comedy Central, and Showtime, as well as the company's corporate Web site. They will all run on Sun products.

The announcement comes amid a growing fight in the server market between the Unix vendors, including Sun, Hewlett-Packard, and Silicon Graphics, and Microsoft, which is trying to displace Unix with its PC-based Windows NT system. NT is gaining market share at the low end of the server market, but it is generally acknowledged to be unable to match the computing scale of large Unix systems.

Sun recently announced that RealNetworks' streaming media products are being developed for the Solaris platform. The Viacom deal, which will add more than 30 Sun servers to Viacom's network infrastructure, is also a vote of confidence for RealNetworks. The Seattle-based company is looking to corporate customers as the backbone of its business of selling media server software and the development tools for customizing those servers on a corporate network or commercial site.