Sun Offers Steep Discounts On Systems, Storage, Solaris And Services

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said Monday it would offer customers in the United States and United Kingdom steep discounts on systems, storage and services -- more than 50 percent in most cases.

Discounts include a 50 percent price cut on the Sun Fire x4500, up to 50 percent on the 16-way x64 Sun Fire x4600, 60 percent off Sun Fire CoolThreads system, and as much as 50 percent off x64 and x86 and SPARC workstations.

The sale on servers lasts until May 9, and discounts on software and service extend to the end of June. The prices are in effect for purchases from Sun's Web site, the company said.

An entry-level hybrid Sun Fire x4500, based on AMD Opteron processors, for example, has been reduced to $24,000, from $48,000, Sun said.

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Sun Fire T2000 servers, based on a four-core UltraSPARC T1 with Solaris 10 preinstalled, now costs roughly $5,000, down from roughly $10,000. Sun's eco-friendly T1000, based on a 1GHz, six-core UltraSPARC T1, is now priced at roughly $2,500, half of what it previoulsy. One of the x4600 systems, based on four Opterons, is priced at $13,340, down from $25,000 previously, Sun said.

On the storage front, Sun said it will shave 65 percent off NAS systems, including StorageTek 5320 and 5220 NAS appliances. The 5220 NAS price tag has plummeted to about $11,000, from $27,000.

Sun also announced solid cuts on software and service plans that will remain in effect until June 30. These include as much as 40 percent off service plans with the SunSpectrum Instant Upgrade program and 25 percent off Solaris standard and premium support subscriptions. One Solaris support contract that normally costs about $750 is now priced at $540.

Industry observers note that Sun is responding to deep cuts in the standard server space.

Although VARs won't appreciate the direct online discounts handed to customers, Sun is slowly rebuilding by embracing industry standards, one partner said several weeks ago as Sun introduced its UltraSparc IV+ processors.

"Solaris has a huge installed base and remains mission-critical in many data centers. On the low end, Solaris has been competing with Linux, particularly on the x86 platform. Sun has needed to improve Solaris performance, and they are doing it," the partner said. "Sun used to have a price/performance advantage on the SPARC platform. They lost that edge, and now they're reclaiming it."

Not all Sun partners are miffed about the fire sale.

"Channel partners have already been notified about this. The sale is not a permanent price change. It will seed and stimulate the market. It's also nice for Sun developers. I don't see any problem here," said Ron Herardian, CEO of Global System Services, Mountain View, Calif.