Sun Takes a Shine to Linux in New Web Stack

Much of the open source community relies on the popular LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and
PHP) application stack, a setup that traditionally has been offered through Linux

Sun Microsystems is now joining the party with its own take on the LAMP stack — one
that could pose a challenge to the LAMP offerings from Linux vendors, since it’s aimed at
users of Linux as well as Sun Solaris. Eventually, it will support Windows and Mac OS X,

Officially called the Web Stack by Sun, the new enterprise “AMP” (Apache, MySQL and
PHP) stack also aims to create a new revenue stream from Linux for Sun.

“We’ve now made the commitment to provide full enterprise support for the AMP stack on
Solaris and Linux this year and probably early next year, on Windows and Mac OS X,” Ken
Drachnik, community development and marketing manager for Sun’s open source group, told

“The key here is we’re now expanding our open source model and providing open source
not just on distributions from Sun, but we’re integrating components from other open
source communities, providing version control and a regular release cycle for other
OSes,” he said.

Not all flavors of Linux will be supported initially, however. Drachnik said Sun would
first provide the Web Stack on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, with other distributions, like
Ubuntu Linux, to follow.

“We have a good relationship with Ubuntu and we’ll get there over time,” Drachnik
said. Sun has provided hardware support for
since at least 2006.

The offering builds on Sun’s previous enterprise AMP stack for Solaris users, which
Drachnik said had been geared specifically for Solaris developers who wanted an
integrated stack without the need to cobble one together for themselves.

With the new release, Sun is banking that developers will be enticed by the fact that
the company’s new Web Stack offers standardized components across Linux as well as
Solaris — and ultimately Windows and OS X. Typically, many develop on one operating
system and then deploy on another, which can make development difficult.

As a result, Drachnik views Sun’s stack as offering a major differentiator against the
Linux-only stacks offered directly by LAMP’s supporters.

“A key feature of our AMP stack will be tightly controlled versions across the OS’s,”
Drachnik said.

In addition to widening support to most Linux users, Sun is also providing a new
degree of version control for the AMP stack, which Drachnik said would make it simpler
for users to deploy.

“Our intent is to standardize on a configuration and ensure that configuration and the
versions of software it contains are controlled across OSes that we provide support for,”
Drachnik said. “So if you get the AMP stack for Solaris, the same components are versions
will be available for Linux and Windows.”

Sun plans to update the Web Stack on a regular release cycle to keep the components up
to date, although Drachnik was unable to provide an exact timeline as to how often the
offering would be updated.

Though Sun is now providing support for AMP across platforms, Drachnik doesn’t see it
as a threat to Sun’s existing Java business.

“Typically, a LAMP stack is used for Web applications,” he said. “The LAMP stack gets
deployed on the edge but within the core of the enterprise. Where people are dealing with
very secure, high-speed transactions, they’ll want to have a dedicated Java application
server and they probably wouldn’t use a LAMP stack back there.”

While Drachnik conceded that there may be overlap between the offerings, he added that
the goal is to make sure that Sun covers all of its bases.

“We’re getting questions from customers about how can we get an AMP stack in addition
to or in place of an existing Sun Java Web system,” Drachnik said. “We’ll continue to
offer both.”

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