Sun unveils 64-bit Ultra Enterprise server line

Aiming to compete head-on with IBM and Hewlett-Packard Co., Sun yesterday announced its Ultra Enterprise line of servers.

The speedy internal data transfer rates of the line's architecture will competitively position the four new business-level servers against systems from HP and IBM, Sun officials told a group of journalists, analysts, and customers in New York. The Ultra Enterprise machines are faster than the HP 9000 T520 and the IBM RS/6000 R30 and comparable in I/O throughput to the top-of-the-line IBM CMOS mainframe, the officials say. The Sun systems are based on the company's 64-bit UltraSparc RISC processors. The top of the Ultra Enterprise line will accommodate as many as 30 processors, 30Gb of memory, and 10 terabytes of data, says Sun.

Sun is also touting the Unix servers' ability to exploit business applications now under development that are based on Sun's Java programming language.

Bringing long-term scalability to the line, the Ultra Enterprise servers share common components -- processors, memory, disk drives -- that can be moved from one server to another, allowing customers to upgrade by swapping in a new processor rather than buying a new machine. It also features hot-swapping capabilities and improvements in scalability, reliability, and management, officials said.

Pricing for the machines starts at US$39,100 for the Ultra Enterprise 3000. The top-of-the-line Ultra Enterprise 6000 starts at US$213,095. The machines will become available this quarter, says Sun.

The line also includes two new servers for LANs and Workgroups: the Ultra Enterprise 2, due in May with prices starting at US$20,995, and the Ultra Enterprise 150, due in the third quarter with prices starting at US$16,495.

The announcement comes on the heels of Monday's strong report on Sun's financial health. Sun posted a 33% gain in profits on top of a 22% gain in sales for its latest quarter as compared to a year ago. Sales were a record US$1.84 billion for the three-month period, says the company.

Sun can be reached at

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