Sun Microsystems Inc. is continuing its push into the low-end server space with several new products that the company will unveil Wednesday at its SunNetwork 2003 Conference in Berlin.
Included in the rollout—the latest in Suns quarterly flood of new offerings—are x86-based systems, servers targeted at the telecommunications industry, reference architectures and a number of products aimed at the high-performance computing space. The new products represent about $500 million in research and development costs, according to Sun officials.
“The theme [of the new offerings] is both scale out and scale up,” said Clark Masters, executive vice president of Suns Enterprise Systems Products group.
However, a good chunk of that is in the scale-out area. Sun, of Santa Clara, Calif., last month announced an alliance with chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. in which the two companies will build low-cost Sun Fire servers based on AMDs 64-bit Opteron chip. The first of the two- to four-way servers to feature the chip—which enables both 32-bit and 64-bit computing—will start appearing in the first quarter of 2004, with more systems appearing throughout the year. Servers with eight or more chips may also appear, officials with both companies said during the announcement at the Comdex show in Las Vegas.
“Customers want to buy the right product for them,” said Masters, pointing out that Sun now offers systems powered by chips from AMD and Intel Corp., as well as its own SPARC processors. “This is a market opportunity for Sun because customers want this stuff and are buying this stuff.”
Some of the announcements Wednesday will build on the momentum from the alliance with AMD, of Sunnyvale, Calif., said David Lawler, group marketing manager for Suns Volume Systems Products group. Sun will unveil the Sun Fire B100x, a one-way blade system powered by AMDs 1.54GHz Mobile Athlon XP 1800 processor. In February, Sun rolled out the Sun Fire B1600 Blade Platform, designed to enable enterprises to run blades of different architectures within the same environment. The B100x, available immediately starting at $1,795, can run Solaris 9 x86 Platform Edition and Linux operating systems. In addition, Sun will roll out a new specialty blade—the B10p SSL Proxy Blade—which helps offload SSL encryption from the compute blades, giving users better performance, Lawler said. The proxy blade is available immediately, starting at $13,800.
Sun also is giving its one- and two-way V60x and V65x servers a power boost with Intels 3.2GHz Xeon chips, Masters said. They had been running 2.8GHz chips.
In addition, Sun will roll out its Sun Blade 2500 workstation, part of several offerings targeting the HPTC (high performance technical computing) space. The 2500, available immediately, is powered by Suns 1.2GHz UltraSPARC IIIi and offers up to 8GB of memory, 72GB of storage and Gigabit Ethernet support, starting at $4,995. Other new HPTC offerings include the Sun Fire Visualization Grid System to enable greater collaboration on high-visualization projects and more resource flexibility, the XVR-600 Graphics Accelerator, and the SX1500 and SX2500 Netra boards for single- and dual-processor systems. The grid system, which starts at less than $200,000, and the XVR-600, at $1,195, are available immediately. The SX1500 will be available later this month starting at $2,095, and the SX2500, at $5,795, will be available in January, officials said.
For the telecom industry, Sun is rolling out two new servers, including the Netra 240, a ruggedized 2U (3.5-inch) server powered by UltraSPARC III and featuring preinstalled Advanced Lights Out Manager software and Solaris 8. The Netra CT820, available later this month starting at $32,995, offers support for the PICMG (PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group) 2.16 telecom standards. Powered by SPARC technology, the system includes a blade chassis. Both Netra servers are NEBS (Network Equipment Building Standard) Level 3 compliant. The standard is designed for telecommunications servers that often are housed in physically harsh environments rather than in climate-controlled data centers.
In the midrange and high end, Sun is bumping up the speed of the four-way Sun Fire V480 and 12-processor V1280 servers with 1.2GHz UltraSPARC III chips, and enhancing the management features in its 52-way 12K and 72-processor 15K systems, Masters said. The two systems now come with automatic diagnosis and recovery capabilities that enable them to better detect and respond to system failures and allow administrators to swap out failed components without having to bring the servers down.
In addition, Sun is rolling out five new reference architectures—tested proof-of-concept implementations designed to reduce the complexity of deploying Sun environments. The new reference architectures are aimed at supply chain management, Web serving, enhanced communications services for telecom companies, application security via firewalls and Hewlett-Packard Co.s Tru64 customers who want to migrate to Sun technology. In July, Sun introduced its HP Away program designed to lure AlphaServer users concerned about HPs plans to discontinue the technology as it standardizes its 64-bit systems on Intels Itanium chip. Masters said that Sun already has exceeded its goal of bringing more than 40 AlphaServer users in North America to its UltraSPARC technology, and now is taking the program global.
In a similar move, Sun is rolling out its Infrastructure Solution for Mainframe Migration, an offshoot of an earlier announced reference architecture designed to bring legacy mainframe users over to Sun technology.
Sun also is introducing its Red Hat Linux Education Solution that will offer courses, exams and certification on the open-source operating system. Suns embrace of Linux is a key part of the companys push into low-cost, standards-based technology.
Discuss This in the eWEEK Forum