Sun Woos Microsoft Solution Providers with Opteron Promotions


Sun Microsystems is hoping to woo Microsoft solution providers to sell Windows running on Sun's new Advanced Micro Devices Opteron boxes with two new promotions launched this week.

At an event in San Francisco Tuesday night, Sun, Santa Clara, Calif., unveiled the promotions, which run through Nov. 30, for its new Opteron workstations and four-way servers, both of which recently have been certified to run Windows.

Sun is offering up to 35 percent off the regular prices for select models of Opteron workstations and servers certified to run Windows, said John Fowler, executive vice president of Sun's Network Systems Group, at the event.

This promotion is open to Microsoft Certified Professionals, including Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers. MCSEs and MCPs also can offer 50 percent off the Sun Java Creator IDE tool for Java development, which is certified to run on Windows.

The second promotion is open to all customers and partners, and offers up to 25 percent off select multiple unit purchases of the Sun Fire V40z four-way Solaris server, which also runs Red Hat or SuSE Linux, as well as Windows OSes with Microsoft Hardware Compatibility certifications.

Solution providers and analysts recently have noted an uptick in Sun's server sales, particularly among entry-level servers based on AMD Opteron processors. In the past year, Sun beefed up its partnership with AMD and released a slew of new boxes to take on commodity server vendors such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

In July, Sun executives pointed to a preliminary report on second-quarter 2004 server sales by research firm Gartner Dataquest to prove the company's server sales are on the way up.

The report, according to Sun, shows Sun's year-to-year server volume growth at 35.5 percent, which outpaced all other tracked vendors and topped the 24.6 percent growth rate for the overall market. In addition, Sun is the only vendor in the top five that had double-digit growth in terms of server volume on a year-over-year and a quarter-over-quarter basis, executives said.

Rob Wolfe, president and CEO of Sun solution provider AvcomEast, Silver Spring, Md., said he hasn't seen much business from customers around the boxes offered in the promotion--the Opteron workstations and the four-way servers. But Sun's two-way Opteron server, the Sun Fire v20z, while not exactly flying off the shelves, has certainly given his customers a viable alternative to running Windows or Linux on Intel x86 Dell or HP boxes, he said.

"These boxes have us in a position where we're benchmarking against Dell and HP and we're winning on a performance basis," Wolfe said. "What's amazing is people are running it with Windows 2003 and Linux. We're seeing more people doing that than anything."

In related Sun partner news Wednesday, the vendor expanded its relationship with one of its key services-only partners, Back Bay Technologies, Needham, Mass.

Back Bay now is working closely with Sun to provide strategic assessments and custom-built solutions architected on the Sun Java Enterprise System for a series of vertical markets, including financial services, insurance, health care and manufacturing.

In addition, Back Bay Technologies has been appointed to the Sun National Advisory Council, a group of U.S. channel partners that advises Sun on its partner policies and programs and helps drive changes and process improvements across Sun.