Hewlett-Packard will sell and support Sun Microsystems’ Solaris on ProLiant servers at the same level it currently does with Microsoft Windows and other operating systems.

The two generation companies, who compete within the server hardware trade, on Wednesday unveiled the expansion of a multiyear partnership settlement beneath which HP will distribute and provide technical enhance for sun’s Solaris 10 operating machine on the HP ProLiant server and blade gadget platforms.

Jonathan Schwartz, president and CEO of Sun, said in a video presentation that the agreement is one that top executives from both companies support.

Both Mark Hurd [HP chairman, president and CEO] and I have heard directly from customers across the world that they are interested in Solaris, running it on HP hardware, along with getting the legendary support, not only from HP organizations [but also from] the innovation they’ve come to expect from the Solaris organization, Schwartz said.

The settlement represents a landmark shift out there for sun’s MySQL database, its Java platform and other innovations in server and storage units, Schwartz said. This creates a compelling choice for patrons which are searching for more efficiency, more efficiency and in the end, lower costs, he stated.

The move will benefit Sun and the Solaris ISV community, said Mark Teter, CTO of Advanced Systems Group, a Denver-based solution provider and partner of both Sun and IBM (NYSE:IBM).

This strengthens Sun’s ISV community and broadens the platform for that community, Teter said. HP has a big market share in the x86 server market. This will give Sun more opportunities to expand their Solaris platform.

It also could mean more opportunities for Sun partners, Teter said.

While application support drives opportunities for Solaris, Linux is still a broader operating system in terms of that support, he said. If Sun can expand its Solaris base, it benefits us with more application support, he said.

Under the agreement, HP will support Solaris at the same level it currently does Windows, SUSE Linux, Red Hat Linux and VMware, said Mark Potter, senior vice president and general manager of ESS infrastructure software and blades at HP.

HP’s customers and channel partners benefit by a single company supporting both the ProLiant servers and blade servers and the Solaris operating system, Potter said. Customers will also know that HP stands behind the complete solution. There’s no finger-pointing, he said.

However, the agreement contains simplest HP’s ProLiant servers, and no longer its Integrity line of challenge-vital servers, so as to handiest be supported with HP’s HP-UX version of Unix, Potter said. HP-UX and Integrity are tied closely in combination for challenge-essential environments, he stated.

With the agreement, HP joins a list of server vendors including Dell, IBM, Fujitsu-Siemens and Intel that support Solaris, said John Fowler, executive vice president of systems at Sun.

Solaris is already certified on more than 1,000 systems, and can be downloaded for free by anybody, Fowler said. It’s available for any customer and any enterprise who needs a first-class operating system, he said.

The agreement helps Sun’s Solaris platform reach vertical markets such as health care, retail and transportation where HP has a strong market share, Fowler said. We’re looking at this as an opportunity to expand our footprint against our competitors, he said.

HP will support Solaris with services, including level-one and level-two support, said Gary Budzinski, senior vice president of technology services at HP. The vendor also will provide application modernization assistance to customers that require it, he said.

Stuart Williams, senior analyst, and Josh Farina, analyst at era business research, a Hampton, N.H.-based totally analyst firm, wrote in a commentary paper that HP seems to be getting a greater deal than sun from the agreement.

HP wins by being better able to take its ProLiant servers into more mission-critical environments thanks to Solaris’ strong power management, its ZFS file systems and other capabilities, letting the company target Sun’s SPARC customers and partners to drive migration to its ProLiant platform, Williams and Farina wrote.

Among existing Sun customers, HP now has a stronger value proposition. TBR believes HP will target Sun’s EDS, telco, government and financial sector customers for the replacement of mission-critical servers. Further, HP will own the customer engagement by offering the entire solution, taking Sun support out of the relationship. Sun loses by ceding support revenue to HP and by losing contact with prospects that Sun could have tried to sell other Sun products and services, they wrote.

While Sun may lose support revenue opportunities to HP, the vendor seems to be hoping the agreement will drive incremental revenue and the sale of development and other software tools and services, Williams and Farina wrote.

Sun may win simply in the course of the expansion of its addressable marketplace — which is a win for sun as HP has a commanding lead in both the x86 and blade server markets. ultimately, this settlement helps consumers who have and are devoted to Solaris — and retaining those customers is a robust win for sun now, they wrote.