Sun touts Intel Xeon-based grid

SAN FRANCISCO (09/17/2003) - Sun Microsystems Inc. on Tuesday introduced a reference architecture and product bundle for setting up Intel Corp.-based computing grids. At the same time it announced a four-processor UltraSparc IIIi server and the company's first tower server in five years.

Launched at the SunNetwork 2003 conference in San Francisco, Calif., the Sun Fire V60x Compute Grid is a reference platform featuring an integrated hardware and software combination for technical customers in design automation, mechanical computer-aided engineering, petroleum, and life sciences markets. Featured are Sun Control Station 2.0 management software and Sun Grid Engine Enterprise Edition, preloaded on a Cluster Grid Manager management node for simplifying grid management and improving compute resource utilization, according to Sun.

"We'll be able to ship to the customer under one model number everything integrated into (the grid)," said Neil Knox, Sun executive vice president of Volume Systems Products.

A rack consisting of 32 dual-2.8 GHz or 3.06 GHz x Intel Xeon processors, Sun Fire V60x servers and integrated management software starts in price at US$185,000, Sun said.

A Sparc-based grid reference architecture is planned for 2004, Knox said.

Among the new UltraSparc IIIi boxes being rolled out Tuesday is the Sun Fire V440 Server, a four-processor, rack-optimized UltraSparc server priced at $9,995. Sun is targeting rivals such as Dell Computer with this Solaris system, which is suited for application server deployments, according to Sun. The system was described by Knox as a "very aggressively architected, low-cost, four-way system," intended to compete with Intel boxes.

The Sun Fire V250 Tower Server, also being unveiled by Sun, is priced at $2,995. The system features a SunPCI III Coprocessor Card, enabling users to run multiple separate operating environments including Solaris, Linux, and Windows on a single sever. Samba, also included, provides open source code for running workgroup file and print applications. The V250 is Sun's first tower release in five years.

"We became very rack-optimized during the [economic] boom but we found a lot of our customers in EMEA (Europe Middle East Africa) and APAC (Asia-Pacific) are used to tower configurations," Knox said.

Sun's new Sun Fire 1500 technical workstation is intended to beat out Hewlett-Packard and IBM on price performance. It starts in price at $2,995.

"It's going to give us an UltraSparc IIIi implementation for the 64-bit workstation marketplace," said Knox.

Sun also is announcing enhancements to its Sun Ray thin-client product line, including Sun Ray Building Blocks and a new Sun Ray system. Sun Ray Building Blocks is a desktop offering that combines 15 Sun Ray 1 clients and a Sun Fire V210 or V250 sever with smart cards for a workgroup offering.

The new Sun Ray 1g client features resolutions of as much as 1,920-by-1,200 dpi at full 24-bit color resolution, for use in EDA, publishing, software development, and network operations centers.

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