Sun Fire Aims To Heat Up SMB Sales

Designed for easier installation, management

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On Monday, Sun Microsystems is slated to unveil an updated version of its entry-level server, which company officials said is more in tune with the needs of the small- and midsize-business market.

The New Sun Fire V100 is essentially the company's Netra X1 server enhanced with a CD-ROM drive and a software bundle that includes Sun's Chili!Soft ASP product.

Chili!Soft, which Sun acquired when it purchased Cobalt in late 2000, allows Web sites and applications that traditionally run on Microsoft Internet Information Web Server (ISS) to be run using Active Server Pages.

Also bundled with the V100 is iPlanet WebServer Enterprise Edition and Apache HTTP Server, said Laura Finkelstein, group manager for Sun's entry servers.

Sun's intention with the new server was to make it easier for SMB customers to install and manage, Finkelstein said.

"In the past, the Netra X1 took about 20 minutes to get up and running, including the software," she said. "Now it takes about five minutes, depending on how complex the task is."

While more than half of the Netra X1 servers sold go through solution providers, Finkelstein expects that percentage to grow with the V100.

"I believe all the SMB space will be reached by the channel," she said. "Our direct-sales effort is more focused on the enterprise."

The past six months have seen demand soar for the Netra X1 and its carrier-grade cousin, the T1, and that spells good news for the V100 in the SMB space, said Keith Trotte, account representative at Sales Strategies, a Metuchen, N.J.-based Sun solution provider.

Sun's entry-level servers are easy to implement, launch applications fast and can be stacked 20 to a rack, said Trotte.

"Solaris is a strong OS, and customers are comfortable with it," he said. "These servers are so inexpensive that customers can buy a handful, give some to their developers and let them do their stuff without using more expensive servers. And if bundled software is included, that's all the better."

The V100 is available through Sun's distributors. The list price is $995, the same as it is for the Netra X1.

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