Solaris OS Works Across All Systems
Sun also said believes that the floating point capabilities and increased memory bandwidth of the Niagara chips will help the company in the area of HPC (high-performance computing). Keep said he believes these developments will not only help Sun increase its presence with customers looking to support Web applications and database workloads-Oracle, SAP and eventually MySQL-but also with HPC applications such as seismic modeling. Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT Research, said Sun's Niagara-based systems can compete against x86 servers and some of the lower-end IBM Power-based systems. In one way, Sun is ahead of some of the other offerings when it comes to data center consolidation and the "green" computing movement."By having Solaris work across all of its systems, Sun has a real advantage when it comes to getting ISVs and tool makers to create applications," King said. "Also, from a systems management standpoint, Sun has created a pretty powerful argument for customers to buy its servers." Linux is the only other operating system that offers that type of flexibility across different hardware lines, King said. The other advantage that Sun said it believes it is offering its customers is price performance. The 1U (1.75-inch) T5140 system with two SAS (serial-attached SCSI) 146GB hard disk drives and 8GB of RAM starts at $14,995. The 2U (3.5-inch) T5240 system with the same configuration starts at $17,995 and can scale up to 128GB of RAM and 16 SAS drives. In addition to the hardware and Sun's own Solaris operating system, these two systems support the company's virtualization technologies, Solaris Containers and Logical Domains. These will allow users to create up to 128 virtual servers within each system, Keep said. With Solaris Containers, Keep said customers can now run applications that were designed for older versions of the Solaris operating system on the new hardware and with the latest Solaris 10 operating system.The T5140 and T5240 are available from Sun as of April 9.
However, since Sun offering both its own Niagara-based servers and its own line of x64 systems (x86-64 bit) that use Intel and AMD processors, it risks confusing customers by offering two different, lower-end systems that compete for the same group of users. The real key for Sun is that it can offer its own Solaris operating system across all of its hardware, King said.