I recently spoke with a large financial customer that has several hundred sparc boxes ( mostly inherited from an acquisiton). These systems are a challenge in that they are aging - some running out of available maintenance, slow, old, and the expertise in the company just doesn't extend to this architecture.
They were also very proud of there virtualized Xeon architecture where they could move vm's quickly to maximize efficiency and optimize resources. I think it is time to bring these two together.
So given 500 solaris servers:
about half of these are running enterprise applications - like Oracle(tm) - that run just great under windows or linux. Move these today.
Of the other half, most of these are - performance wise - tiny servers. You could put dozens of them - maybe all of them - in VMs on just a few large xeon servers. ( Don't forget about the phenominal virtualization perofrmance on the Xeon 7400 that Intel announced last week at IDF )
So how do I move these custom solaris sparc based physical servers into my super efficient Xeon based virtual machines?
1) recompile the apps for solaris 10 - which runs great in a vm on your virtualized pool
2) Use transitive quicktransit and move the binaries to Solaris 10 or Linux vms in the pool
3) Move to the windows or linux version of the software, or replace it with software that does the same business function.
Presto - 500 physical legacy servers - collapsed into a more efficient, more manageable, more modern pool of resources. What will you do with all the free space?