Sun to end Trusted Solaris

Sun plans to add security extensions to its Solaris operating system, and will support Elliptic Curve Cryptography in its Java System Web Server.

Sun Microsystems is changing the way it produces a secure version of its Solaris operating system, a decision that will mark the end of the product known as the Trusted Solaris Operating Environment.

Developed for governmental agencies that require a certain level of security certification, Trusted Solaris had developed separately from its flagship Solaris product. But starting this August, Sun will instead offer Solaris Trusted Extensions as an add-on to its standard Solaris product, says Chris Ratcliffe, Sun's director of Solaris marketing.

The change will allow Sun to offer a security-enhanced version of Solaris designed for its Opteron-based servers, an option that had been unavailable with Trusted Solaris.

Sun will continue to sell Trusted Solaris for another year, and will support the product for "at least" eight more years, he says.

Trusted Solaris has received Common Criteria Level 4+ Evaluation Assurance, a widely recognised security standard used by governments and some private industries. Within weeks, Sun plans to begin the process of certifying Solaris with the trusted extensions to this same Common Criteria level, a process that should take about one year, Ratcliffe says.

Pricing for the Trusted Solaris extensions has not yet been determined, Ratcliffe says.

Sun is announcing the extensions at this week's RSA Conference 2006, where the Chief Executive Officer Scott McNealy will deliver a keynote address on Tuesday. Sun has two other announcements planned for the show.

The company plans to introduce support for a new form of encryption technology, called Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC), with its Sun Java System Web Server 7.0, due by July. ECC is an alternative to the RSA encryption already supported by the Java Web Server. Sun, which has contributed to the development of ECC, says that this new form of encryption is less computationally intensive than RSA, and that it can therefore be used on a wider variety of devices.

Sun will also introduce a custom-designed PCI Express card that can handle cryptographic computations on both its UltraSparc- and Opteron-based servers. Called the Sun Crypto Accelerator 6000, the product will be available on April 28. It will cost US$1,350.