SUMMARY: Solaris Licenses

From: Gary Carr (
Date: Wed Jul 16 1997 - 17:42:26 CDT

My Original message was:
>We are currently running a small SunOS site (4.1.4) with 6 SS5s, 1 Tatung
>clone SS5, and one SS4. All the workstations have 1 Gbyte internal disks and
>are setup as stand alone systems. One of the SS5s has a couple of 2.1 Gbyte
>Desktop Disk Packs and serves as an NFS server for all the others. We do
>software development and support the operator interface for a meium sized
>control system with the Sun workstations. We don't use an commercial dbms
>products and none of our applications are particularly disk I/O intensive.
>Performance has been adequate using SunOS 4.1.4 and a little tuning of the
>NFS server. All the workstations are networked using 10Base-T and an
>ethernet switch.
>In August-September we plan to convert to Solaris (2.5.1 or 2.6), upgrade
>the SS5s to 170 MHz, and add three Ultra Sparc 170s to the site. We will
>double the external storage for the workstation serving as an NFS server.
>My question is what type of Solaris should we install on the SS5-170 used as
>an NFS server? The catalog lists two distributions and licenses -- "Desktop
>Solaris" (get a license with every workstation), and "Solaris Application
>Server" (license costs about $1800). Our Sun saleperson recommends buying
>the application server license (surprise, surprise). Is this really
>necessary for a dozen workstations and 8-10 Gbytes of NFS storage? Are other
>people running NFS servers on workstations with a plain vanilla flavored
>"Desktop Solaris" distribution? What kind of experiences have other Sys
>Amins had with this type of configuration?
>We plan to purchase a "real" server in fiscal 98 or 99, but don't have the
>money for it this year.

The majority, if not universal, opinion seemed to be:

1) Solaris is Solaris. A desktop system will run fine as a server and a number
   of people are using them as servers.

2) Technically however, even if they don't enforce it, Sun requires a "server"
   license if:
        a) You "serve" anything, including NFS.
        b) You can have more than 2 users logged into the server at one time.
        c) You run software that will only run on a server such as Solstice
           Disksuite or Solstice Backup.

Many thanks to the following people for thier help:

Ken Owen
Russ Poffenberger
Jens Fisher
Nial o Broin
Charles D Groenveld
Jim Harmon

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