Cheaper low-end servers...Sun is stepping up its efforts in the low-end server market - and turning up the heat on its rivals in the process - by releasing two new machines and announcing deeper ties with Oracle and Red Hat. The two new servers - the Sun Fire V60x and V65x - run Intel Xeon processors but, by starting at $2,450, are far cheaper than machines from Dell or IBM, said Sun CEO Scott McNealy. As part of the deal, Oracle has agreed to port its software to Solaris x86, the version of Sun's OS that runs on chips like Xeon that are based on the so-called x86 architecture. Sun will also begin to distribute Red Hat's version of Linux while Red Hat will incorporate Sun's Java virtual machine into its version of Linux. Through these deals, Sun can now boast that its cheap servers can run the same basic software that comes on Windows-based machines from Dell. Oracle has made software for Sun servers running the company's Sparc chip, but this is the first time the database developer has committed to products for Solaris x86. "We didn't have an x86 capability or the Linux support for the products Oracle is pushing before," said McNealy at a press conference in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "We didn't necessarily deliver on the promise of Solaris x86 over the last four to five years." Although Sun is often associated with complex servers costing $10,000 or more, in recent months it has touted its ability to compete in the growing market for relatively inexpensive one-and two-processor servers based around silicon from Intel or AMD. And for good reason. The low-end server market is growing at a much faster rate and in many places displacing the ornate machines Sun traditionally specialises in. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who shared the stage with McNealy, declared that small machines woven together in clusters would phase out big machines. Ellison said: "The future of computing is low-cost components being assembled into larger computers. You get higher performance and reliability."
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