Sun Looks To SPARC Its Server Sales


In addition to the new processors, the servers also feature a new Sun chipset with eight floating point units compared to only one in the previous generation of the server family, said Warren Mootrey, senior director of volume SPARC systems at Sun.

"The extra floating point operations are for financial institutions running Monte Carlo simulations, or wherever customers run security applications such as encryption," Mootrey said. "We're seeing a lot of opportunities because of this."

The new servers, which are similar to the new Xeon-based servers Sun unveiled late last month, come in three flavors, Mootrey said.

The SPARC Enterprise T5120 packs a single processor socked for either a four-core, six-core, or eight-core processor, as well as up to four hot-plug SAS hard drives, up to 64 Gbytes of memory, and three open I/O slots, all in a 1U enclosure, Mootrey said.

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The SPARC Enterprise T5220 is similar, but its 2U enclosure has two extra I/O slots and room for four more hard drives.

The third server is the Sun Blade T6320, a blade version of the T5120.

All three include Sun's integrated lights-out management for monitoring networking, security, and authentication, which is found on all Sun's servers, Mootrey said. "We're starting to drive to common packaging and management where possible," he said.

Sun is also including a tool that will let customers who have not yet ported all their Solaris 8 applications to Solaris 10, run those applications in a virtual Solaris 10 container, Mootrey said.

The expanded floating point capability will make a big difference to customers, said Kip Lindberg, vice president of enterprise sales at Ncell Systems, a Minnetonka, Minn.-based Sun solution provider.

"I was replacing older Sun Fire 4800s with the T2000 servers with eight processor cores and a single floating point unit," Lindberg said. "The T2000 wasn't really recommended for databases before a lot of testing was done, but we always found it performed well. The new serves should be much faster."

The new servers could also be a way to introduce new customers to the Sun platform, Lindberg said. "I have seen openings in customer environments to replace IBM servers for WebSphere, and Dell and HP servers running WebLogic," he said. "A lot of people have bought the T2000 in the past who traditionally didn't look at Sun."

Lindberg said the fact that Sun is using the same basic server packaging for its Xeon and UltraSPARC servers will also help expand the market. "It will help us open up the door in non-traditional server environments," he said.

The T5120 and T5220 are shipping this week, and the T6320 is expected to ship by the end of the month, Mootrey said. About 70 percent of Sun's sales go through indirect channels, he said.