Sun Preps Sub-$1,000 Server

In its quarterly product launch this week, Sun intends to unveil its long-awaited line of high-performance Galaxy servers, which are based on architecture inherited through its acquisition of Kealia last year. Kealia was started up by one of Sun&s co-founders, Andy Bechtolsheim, now senior vice president of Sun&s Network Systems Group.

The AMD Opteron-based Galaxy servers have an architecture that gives them 50 percent more performance than any Intel x86-based server, while consuming 60 percent less power than equivalent Itanium-based servers, said Lisa Sieker, vice president of marketing for the Network Systems Group.

With a starting price point of less than $1,000, the servers could turn open-systems computing upside-down, said Mark Teter, CTO of Advanced Systems Group, a Sun solution provider in Denver.

“All of a sudden, customers can run Solaris, Windows or Linux at new price points,” he said. “This will create some real marketing—something Sun hasn&t been able to do for some time. Why buy Dell when Sun has the best performance, the best reliability and now the best price?”

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Sun will unveil three initial models in the Galaxy constellation. The first, dubbed Sun Fire X2100, is a 1U server with a single processor. The single-core model starts at $745—Sun&s first sub-$1,000 server—while the dual-core model starts at $2,000.

The Sun Fire X4100 is a 1U server with one or two processors and starts at $2,195. And the Sun Fire X4200 is a 2U, two-CPU server starting at $2,595.

All three models come with Solaris 10 preinstalled; customers can also have them configured for Windows or Red Hat Linux.

Going forward, Sun plans to offer other models with the same common design that provide room for four and eight processors, Sieker said.

Channel sources said Sun is also expected to offer by December an eight-processor Galaxy server based on the upcoming Niagara SPARC processor.