"The agreement between Sun and Dell is another indication of the momentum Solaris has gained on x86," said Errol Rasit, a senior research analyst at Gartner.
"Increasingly, x86 Solaris is viewed as a viable Windows/Linux alternative, which is likely to add to independent software vendor participation, further accelerating the increase in Solaris adoption.
"Customers now have, in addition to Sun, two major server vendors supporting Solaris on their x86 platforms: IBM and Dell."
The analyst firm's comments follow Dell's announcement on 14 November that it has signed an OEM agreement with Sun that will enable Dell to offer Solaris and Solaris support services directly to customers for selected Dell PowerEdge servers.
The Solaris x86 market accounted for 1.6 per cent of x86 server unit volume shipments worldwide during the first half of this year.
The largest Solaris installed base currently resides on Sun or Fujitsu/Fujitsu Siemens Computers Sparc Risc-based servers.
However, enterprises have been increasingly migrating applications from Sparc to x86-based systems to take advantage of the associated cost savings, Gartner reports.
"Dell hopes to exploit this migrating base and to compete more effectively against Sun, IBM, FSC and HP," said Rasit.
"Should the popularity of Solaris on x86 continue to grow, Dell would be in a good position to compete against vendors that are not participating in similar agreements."
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