New Sun Servers Get Nods From Solution Providers

The new T1000 and T2000 servers are based on Sun's multi-core processors, formerly code-named Niagra, and promise high performance with lower power consumption.

The T1 line is able to accomplish power-performance ratio by bulking up on lower-speed cores -- the processors run at 1GHz or 1.2GHz at 60 Watts to 70 Watts -- and by making use of Solaris and Java&'s native multithreading capabilities, Sun executives said. The T1 can handle up to four threads per core. Most processors can natively handle only one thread per core.

A source close to Sun said at least one power company is expected to offer energy rebates to customers using the new servers. But a spokesman said Sun is not ready to comment on potential energy rebates.

The new servers support processors with four to eight cores in either 1U or 2U rack configurations. Pricing for the 1U T1000 with four- or six-core T1 processors starts at $2,995 and extends to $10,995. The T2000, which includes internal redundancy options in a 2U rack, comes with four- to eight-core T1 processors and is priced at $7,795 to $25,995.

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"We think this is a game changing announcement in the industry," said Fred Kohout, vice president of marketing for the scaleable systems group at Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun. "We have flipped the equation of how a server will deliver."

Sun partners are equally as enthusiastic.

"These are the best new servers I've seen in years," said Mark Teter, CTO of Advanced Systems Group, a Denver, Colo.-based Sun solution provider. "With one-and-a-half times the performance, half the cost, one-quarter the size, and one-third less energy of a Dell server, what's not to like? We have a back order already."

Sun executives, who had initially had touted the T1-based servers as those focusing on edge-of-network type applications now say the servers also should be useful for application servers, mail and messaging servers and running Java applications. Indeed Jeff O'Neal, senior director of the scaleable systems group at Sun, said the company is working with customers to move such applications off of "Wintel" boxes to the new T1-based servers.

Brian Upper, a Sun product area director at Sysix, a Downers Grove, Ill., Sun partner, aggress. He said the multithreaded processors will do a good job of handling standard commercial applications, so long as they are not floating point intensive. Such applications, traditionally in the high-performance computing domain, are often served by x86 servers that have a strong floating point component. Sun is pointing those with strong floating point processing needs toward it recently released Sun Fire Servers, a low-cost line based on Opteron processors from Advanced Micro Systems.

Sun's new servers come with a three-year warranty and a 90-day "try before you buy" program for potential customers. Sun said E-Bay and EDS are two of the first customers using the systems.

JOSEPH KOVAR contributed to this report