OpenSolaris, the open-source varient of Sun's Solaris, is getting an in-kernel CIFS (Common Internet File System) service. This will allow Microsoft users to store and retrieve files from an OpenSolaris system.
The in-kernel implementation of CIFS in Solaris will result in it gaining tight integration with NFS, ZFS and Active Directory. Why not just use Samba, you ask.
There is a common misconception that Windows interoperability is just a case of implementing file transfer using the CIFS protocol. Unfortunately, that doesn't get you very far. Windows interoperability also requires that a server support various Windows services, typically MSRPC services, and it is very sensitive to the way that those services behave: Windows inter- operability requires that a CIFS server convince a Windows client or server that it "is Windows". This is really only possible if the operating system supports those services at a fundamental level.
Sun will incorporate CIFS Server in the 'Indiana' release of OpenSolaris, due out in the first half of 2008. It probably won't hit the commercial version of Solaris for a year or so...
So there you go. Sun is really serious about being king of the storage (and server) hill.
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Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.