Sun Ups Workstation, Grid Ante

Sun rolls out three new workstations with the Solaris 10 operating system preloaded. Two of the workstations also come with Sun's N1 grid software.

Sun Microsystems on Jan. 30 is unveiling three new workstations, including two running on Advanced Micro Devices Opteron processor and all with the Solaris 10 operating system preinstalled.

Two of the workstations—the Opteron-based Ultra 40 and UltraSPARC IIIi-powered Ultra 45—also come preloaded with Suns N1 grid software, a key for users who need flexibility in how they deploy their compute resources.

"Our customers dont buy one unit or two units," said Rajesh Shakkarwar, senior marketing director for Suns workstation products. "They buy lots of them—100, 500, 1,000. The grid engine allows you to collect cycles and handle them together in a grid environment."

/zimages/6/28571.gifSun is trying to entice more developers and software makers to create applications for its Sun Grid initiative. Click here to read more.

The Ultra 40 can run on single- or dual-core Opterons, multiple 8GB-per-second HyperTransport interconnects. The other AMD-based system, the Ultra 20, is aimed at the software development and design markets, including the academic research, electronic design automation and mechanical computer-aided design sectors, Shakkarwar said.

The Ultra 45 workstation offers up to two 1.6GHz UltraSPARC IIIi chips and comes with a new chassis designed for greater air flow and noise reduction.

The systems also bring a host of bundled software, including Sun Studio, Java Studio Creator and Java Studio Enterprise. They also can run Linux and Windows, a key consideration in the $4.5 billion workstation space. Sun officials, quoting numbers from analyst group Gartner, said about 59 percent of the workstations shipped running Unix or Linux workloads came from the company, followed by Hewlett-Packard with 16 percent.

The new systems are also more quiet, he said. For example, the Ultra 40 runs 39 percent more quietly than HPs xw9300 workstation, Shakkarwar said.

"When you have machines operating at the desks, you want them to run quietly," he said.

The Ultra 20 and 40 systems are shipping now, with pricing starting at $895 and $2,295, respectively. The Ultra 45 will start shipping in February, starting at $3,695.

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