Sun's galactic server makeover

Sun's galactic server makeover

Summary: Stephen Shankland has the scoop on Sun's new Galaxy family of Opteron servers, which will be introduced on Monday morning. Sun is claiming that these x86 servers will be the fastest, most energy-efficient and reliable systems.

TOPICS: Oracle

sungalaxy.jpgStephen Shankland has the scoop on Sun's new Galaxy family of Opteron servers, which will be introduced on Monday morning. Sun is claiming that these x86 servers will be the fastest, most energy-efficient and reliable systems.  Sun is also touting a 'next-generation' rack mount chassis. Analysts give Sun a few kudos for its improved x86 offerings, and competitors predictably are saying that it will be tough for Sun to differentiate itself and gain much traction. Without more focus on Linux and Windows (Sun is staunchly behind OpenSolaris), it will be difficult for Sun to grow rapidly in the rankings. Sun doesn't expect to topple the volume leaders like Dell and HP any time soon. Currently in sixth place in x86 server revenue, according to Gartner, Sun hopes to get into fourth place by the end of 2006, passing NEC and Fujitsu-Siemens.

Legendary computer designer Andy Bechtolsheim, a Sun co-founder who left the company in1995 and then recently returned, led the development of the Galaxy servers (one of the new systems at left, a Sun Fire X4100). In an interview, Shankland asks Bechtolsheim how Sun's Opeteron servers stand out from the rest of the crowd. He said that Sun worked with AMD on a higher performance version of the dual-core Opteron, which makes Galaxy systems faster than competitors, at least for now.  "...with this higher power chip that we have in both the Galaxy boxes, and that we'll support in all our future boxes, we can bridge the performance gap between dual-core and single-core to the point where we now have truly the world's highest throughput 1U and 2U enterprise boxes," Bechtolsheim said.

Graham Lovell, senior director of x64 servers at Sun, told me that the performance gain on the tweaked Opteron is about 11 percent. Versus a four-way Dell PowerEdge, an equivalently configured dual-core Galaxy will deliver 1.5 times the performance at half the price, one-third the power consumption and a quarter of the size, Lovell said. If that's true, Sun has a price/value proposition to crow about in the marketplace...which is far more attractive to customers than just being faster.  Let the independent testing begin...

More on Sun's quarterly product announcments tomorrow... 

Topic: Oracle

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  • First off

    STOP with the Windoze talk already! This is a case where Windoze really is a bit player - let me explain. Sun (and UNIX in general) is losing out to Linux. This Opteron server runs OpenSolaris (true), but it also runs Linux - which Sun WILL offer. Sun is trying to get back their server business from their previous bad decisions to ignore Linux - and this server just might do some of that. Just because its x86 capable doesn't mean that it has to run Windoze.
    Roger Ramjet
    • Agree

      Looks like a Linux tower of power to me! I like the name too. I hope it does well in the market.
  • SUN = Enterprise Computing

    The new SUN boxes are cool and powerful. Builtin remote management, quad-GbE, hotswap everything...
  • Sounds nice on paper...

    As someone else has stated these machines can run other OS's other than Solaris (Roger, a two CPU server is also in Microsoft's niche). However, with Sun's continued emphasis on Solaris over the alternatives it seems that Sun is stuck in the rut, they want to preach to their own choir. I thought that this was part of their strategy of regaining their past market prominence but their emphasis of Solaris in their propaganda is probably better aimed at maintaining the market that they already have.

    Many companies sell dual processor AMD machines and more will in the future and most of them are probably priced below Sun's server. Comparing your prices against a high priced vendor really doesn't say anything important. I have not checked, has anyone looked into how they compare to one the Linux server vendors?
    • It is not the other small AMD server vendors

      I do not think that major competitors are other small Linux servers/vendors. Sun is competing against IBM/HP/Dell in BIG companies, not against SME vendors that use white boxes. For competing in large companies one must have a name, a proper support policy and everything that makes large bussines CEOs and technicians happy. And so they can charge a bit more (than me building a super AMD server for low price and can be gone tomorrow). And if they can get something more from such machine (stacking, management.....) than better. And if they can run several OSes fine!
      very good move from Sun