Sun to Use AMD Chips in Blade Servers

The blades will play a key role in Sun's N1 data center strategy.

Sun Microsystems Inc., which earlier this month rolled out a blade server platform that will play a key part in the companys N1 data center strategy, will use processors from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. in the x86 versions of the blades.

Sun spokesperson Kasey Holman said the company will use AMDs 32-bit Athlon XP-M chip, starting at speeds of 1.2GHz.

"From a technical perspective, [AMDs technology] provided a better solution for our needs," said Holman, who declined to elaborate.

However, she said that using AMDs chip now doesnt mean that Sun will not use chips from Intel Corp. down the road.

"Weve got a great relationship with both Intel and AMD," she said. "We will continue to work with both and select the appropriate chips for our needs."

Suns N1 initiative is similar to IBMs on-demand and Hewlett-Packard Co.s utility computing strategies, all designed to ease the management of data centers and increase the utilization of their resources.

The Santa Clara, Calif., companys Sun Fire Blade Server Platform will include systems that run SPARC Solaris, x86 Solaris or x86 Linux operating systems. Single-processor blades using Suns UltraSPARC III chip will appear in April. Blades that are compatible with Intel-based x86 systems are expected in the middle of the year.

Servers with multiple processors will appear later this year.

Also part of Suns blade server platform is the Sun Fire B1600 Intelligent Shelf chassis, which will be able to hold up to 16 Sun blades. Later this year, Sun will ship specialty blades for load balancing and Secure Sockets Layer acceleration, and the N1 Provisioning Server 3.0 Blades Edition, which will manage the blade environment.

For AMD, of Sunnyvale, Calif., Suns decision is important as it continues to try to chip away at Intels dominance in the enterprise.