Sun Microsystems Inc. is pumping up the power and cutting the costs in two of its low-end and midrange servers, another move in its aggressive strategy in that space.
The Santa Clara, Calif., company equipped its eight-way Sun Fire v880 server with a 1.05GHz UltraSPARC III processor—which Sun officials say offers up to 17 percent performance increase—while at the same time slashing the price of the system by 25 percent, Sun announced Tuesday. A v880 with two processors and 4GB of memory now starts at $32,995.
Sun also is cutting the price of its four-way v480 system, to $19,995 for two chips and 4GB of memory.
The moves illustrate Suns focus over the last few months on the low end. In February, the company rolled out its first blade server architecture, featuring its Sun Fire Blade Servers and Sun Fire B1600 Intelligent Shelf chassis, as the first key ingredients in its N1 data center virtualization strategy. Sun also is trying to carve out a larger chunk of the low-end x86 architecture space, and this summer is expected to roll out 1U and 2U blade servers for the x86 market that will be able to run either Solaris x86 or Linux.
Furthermore, at an event last month, Chairman and CEO Scott McNealy announced a tighter relationship with Oracle Corp. in which he and his counterpart, Larry Ellison, talked of future data centers running smaller servers linked together to give businesses greater flexibility. At the same time, Sun unveiled two low-end servers—the Sun Fire V60x and V65x—that can run either Linux or Suns x86 Solaris Platform Edition.
But Subodh Bapat, chief technology officer of Suns Volume System Products Group, said Sun has had a presence in the low end for years, having introduced a 1U (1.75-inch-high) server in 1997.
“Its not just the midrange and high-end markets that Sun has been a player in,” Bapat said in an interview with eWEEK. “Weve always been players [in the low end]. We believe in addressing all segments of the market, from the low end to the high end, with [a Solaris] operating system that spans the entire range.”
Suns Throughput Computing chip strategy—which is aimed at maximizing the total amount of work done by a processor—also will play into the low-end push, by enabling more work to be done in a smaller footprint, he said. Sun also is working to strengthen the backplane performance of its rack-mount server architecture, with enhanced networking and management planes, and improve upon the software stack and provisioning capabilities of the systems.
“This is what is going to be the differentiators [for Sun] going forward,” Bapat said.
Suns second generations of blades and backplane fabric are due next year, with greater connectivity to storage-area networks, speed bumps and InfiniBand capabilities, he said.