Sun Microsystems and IBM will heat up their high-end server battle later this year, as Sun is expected to release its mainframe-style product code named StarCat on September 26 and IBM should release its new Regatta server one week later, according to industry sources.
Sun sent out letters to press and analysts Friday, detailing a September 26 product launch date for its "New Star of the Data Center." The product launch in New York will be hosted by Ed Zander, president and chief operating officer at Sun.
The "new star" will likely be a high-end Unix server code named StarCat, which industry analysts have been expecting to arrive in September. The server should take advantage of UltraSPARC III processors. Sun has said it would have 900MHz versions of the UltraSPARC III in workstations some time this quarter and then push the product into its higher-end hardware as well.
IBM will counter Sun with its Regatta system set for release on October 2, according to sources. IBM will also boost its chip technology, debuting the Power4 processor in 32-way Regatta systems. IBM began circulating a James Bond-style Web movie on Friday to help spur interest in the soon to be released hardware. Users can find the movie on the Web at: http://www-1.ibm.com/servers/eserver/pseries/projectregatta/aix5l/index.html?c=pSeries&n=regatta_callouts_pseries&t=ad#.
Sun and IBM are perhaps the fiercest rivals in the high-end server game with both vendors constantly slinging competitive barbs at each other.
Both companies have begun pushing high-end features further down their product lines, giving users more power and stability on lower priced hardware. Sun began offering a sub-US$1000 workstation earlier this year and plans to spread the UltraSPARC III processors across its enter product line.
Similarly, IBM has brought much of its mainframe computing features to its high-end servers, offering users software designed to help with diagnostic functions and automatic repair tasks. IBM is also going to allow users to create both Linux and Unix partitions on Regatta systems via its AIX 5L operating system.