The Right Stuff for
x86 Space"> With those first AMD servers, Sun was able to push its way into the No. 6 spot among x86 systems vendors. John Fowler, NSG executive vice president, said the new systems will enable Sun to move up into the fourth spot in the competitive $25 billion market. Backed up by a series of slides, Fowler said the new Galaxy systems offer more than 95 percent or one and a half times the performance of similar systems from Dell, HP and IBM, while consuming half the power and a quarter of the data center space, all key issues for enterprises.Bechtolsheim, in an interview with reporters after the event, said Sun engineers were able to improve the airflow in the systems by using the smaller 2.5-inch disk drives and low-profile PCI slots, which enabled them to offer better cooling capabilities even though the systems are using faster and more power-hungry Opteron chips than other vendors.AMD officials have said the company will make these chips generally available to the market later this quarter. Gordon Haff, an analyst with Illuminata Inc. in Nashua, N.H., said Sun is making the right moves to make its way into the x86 space, even after being so late to make the decision. How that translates into helping the companys bottom line remains to be seen. "Certainly theyre going to be the No. 4 x86 server provider for a long time, but frankly, there are a lot of other companies in the x86 space, like Fujitsu, who have good technology that Sun is going to jump over," Haff said. "Theyve made pretty good progress, but how that will translate into financial results is a complicated issue." Schwartz said that before embracing AMD, Sun already was losing business to the x86 vendors. Now the companywith its Opteron servers that run not only Solaris but also Linux and Microsoft Corp.s Windows operating systemshas a chance not only to keep that business, but also to make a run at competitors customers. In a marked turnaround for the company from a few years ago, Schwartz said Sun is no longer worried about what businesses are asking for. Instead, he wants to be able to supply the products to meet their demands. "I just want the shelf space," he said. EDS (Electronic Data Systems Corp.), which beta tested the new Opteron systems, is looking at the Galaxy systems to power its Virtual Server Services, a virtualized computing offering. Larry Lozon, vice president of hosting systems at Plano, Texas-based EDS, said that operating system flexibility is just as important to him as the performance and cooling capabilities of the new systems. "The ability for the platform to support multiple OSes is really a key play for a hosting service like this," Lozon said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.