Sun Rolls Out Nehalem-Based Servers, Data Center Strategy - Page 2

Other key parts of the strategy include Sun's ILOM (Integrated Lights Out Manager) unified systems management software, Open Storage platforms and Solaris OS, which has been optimized to take advantage of the thermal management capabilities offered in the Nehalem architecture, including the QuickPath chip-to-chip interconnect and Turbo Boost, which can dynamically ramp up the clock speed of individual cores based on demand.

In addition, Sun is offering its new Cooling Door for the Sun Blade 6048 modular system, which can use chilled water or refrigerant gas.

IDC analyst Jean Bozman said Sun is offering interesting products for both HPC customers and enterprises.

"For commercial customers, Sun is improving virtualization for I/O, which is really important because we are seeing that the number of VMs [virtual machines] on [physical] servers is going up," Bozman said. "Having better virtualized I/O is important."

Where IT administrators may have been putting two to four virtual machines on a single server, they're now putting as many as eight or more, which increases the complexity and the need for faster and more efficient networking capabilities.

Offering such innovation will be important for Sun going forward as it tries to gain a stronger foothold in the highly competitive blade market, where rivals HP and IBM hold about 75 percent market share, Bozman said. Add to that the added challenge of Dell and now Cisco, and Sun needs to continue to innovate if it hopes to gain share.

"They really have to show innovation, and Sun continues to innovate," she said.