The open source movement received a major fillip yesterday when Sun Microsystems launched a new version of its OpenSolaris operating system and a new open storage platform. 

Although Sun has made the Solaris code base available since 2005, OpenSolaris is a new version of the operating system, designed to be easily downloaded and installed.
Sun expects that it will be popular with start-ups and developers who would be using Linux today.
According to Sun, the new distribution includes a small core operating system, a network package repository, application packages, and the Sun-developed Image Packaging System (IPS) to hold it all together.
IPS lets users easily download and install only the OpenSolaris components they want, rather than a monolithic bundle.
And, because IPS supports current Solaris packages, the new OpenSolaris distribution protects existing investments in Solaris.
The new OpenSolaris release also includes the adoption of ZFS as the OpenSolaris root file system. OpenSolaris now leverages ZFS' snapshot capability to deliver instant rollback to a stable state.
The company also announced the addition of developer tools and expanded professional service capabilities to help developers better leverage the growing open source communities that are fast changing the economics of the storage IT landscape.
More than 3 000 members and 30 projects within an active and growing OpenSolaris storage community demonstrate a groundswell within the storage industry for developers and enterprise companies to use open source alternatives to expensive proprietary storage offerings.
Today's storage industry is still largely closed and proprietary, with most customers locked-in to one particular vendor. Sun has opened up the storage platform to deliver dramatic increases in performance and price-performance for customers and, at the same time, created a whole new world for developers to build new applications and innovation in the storage world.
The use of open platforms allows developers to re-purpose and re-use hardware through the simple addition of new software – something not offered by proprietary solutions.
“The Open storage initiative presents an opportunity for companies to substantially reduce their storage related OPEX, by avoiding vendor propriety tie-in," says Manfred Gramlich, storage lead for Sun Microsystems SA.
According to Sun, the storage industry is undergoing a radical transformation that parallels what servers went through a decade ago. Solaris OS, ZFS and the work of the OpenSolaris storage community provide rock-solid, enterprise class scalability and value, giving customers a low-cost way to leverage these open architectures without sacrificing quality or reliability.