Sun Microsystems is preparing to release the latest version of its key Solaris operating system on Wednesday.
While the company is keeping tight-lipped, analysts have indicated that the much anticipated Solaris 9 operating environment includes a number of enhanced features, but none that are revolutionary.
George Weiss, at Gartner Group, said: "There are a lot of incremental enhancements in Solaris 9 covering different areas like performance, scalability, security and deployment.
"Sun believes that an operating system is [not] just a kernel, but an environment."
Version 9 comes just as Sun celebrates a good first quarter for its Solaris systems.
The company shipped more Unix systems in the first quarter this year than all its competitors combined, with growth rates of almost 17 per cent year-on-year, according to Gartner Dataquest.
One of the features in Solaris 9 is more integrated resource management to enable applications to be run and managed in multiple instances.
Sun is using the concept of containers to explain the extension of resource utilisation and virtualisation.
In addition, there will be an improved threading library and multiple page size support to improve raw performance and the manageability of multi-threaded applications.
While the latest Solaris release will bring a range of enhanced features, analysts believe that it will see little demand from existing customers for some time yet.
"In general, operating systems upgrades are viewed as disruptive and enterprise customers do not opt for them quickly," said Weiss.
While the latest version of Solaris is unlikely to help Sun win market share, it does include features that are becoming increasingly necessary in order to remain in the market.
"Sun is staying in the game and remaining competitive," explained Weiss.
Sun has long competed against rivals such as IBM and Hewlett Packard in its key Unix server market, and now has to contend with additional competition from newer Linux offerings.
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