Sun rises over mid-range

Sun rises over mid-range

Sun Microsystems has unveiled its latest range of servers designed to provide mainframe computing at midrange prices.

Based on the company's 64-bit UltraSPARC III chip, Sun has released four models in a range of Sun Fire Servers, aimed at the mid-to-large enterprise market. According to the company, the servers contain a number of features previously only available in its high-end E10,000 product. This includes partitioning or domaining, which allows the server to run as two or more independent systems without affecting the performance of either system.

The entry level rack mounted F3800 server, with a starting price of $164,000, scales up to eight CPUs, 64GB of RAM and can enable two domains. The F4800 and F4810 models, which have the same feature set but different form factors, start at $260,000, scale to 12 CPUs and offer up to 96GB of RAM. The high-end F6800 can scale up to 24 CPUs, 192GB of RAM and contains up to four domains.

The Sun Fire range runs the vendor's Solaris 8 operating system and, according to John Fennel, national product sales manager, Sun Microsystems Australasia, the new servers provide no single point of failure as the majority of key components are hot-swappable. He also dismissed suggestions that the new range may cannibalise Sun's existing server sales.

In the meantime, Fennel insists that Sun will continue the development and release of its existing Enterprise Server range for the next 18 months and continue to support the range for a further three years.

Jim Hassell, managing director of Sun Microsystems Australasia, told ARN there will be "a lot of opportunities for the channel" when it comes to the new offerings but conceded that, under current economic conditions, the market is still very "cautious" about purchasing new technology.

The company has already signed up four customers in Australia under a pilot launch project, Hassell said.

The vendor also took the US launch opportunity to slam its competitors HP and IBM. "After a year in which IBM and HP threw everything they could at us, including old products with new names and new products with ‘super' names, we still took market share away from them. This time we're tearing into what those rebranded mainframe makers thought was their safe haven and bringing it to customers who understand the value of the dollar," Sun chairman and CEO Scott McNealy said.

Photograph: Jim Hassell, Sun Microsystem's managing director

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