New Sun Fire and Sun Blade Servers Pack Quad-Core Opterons

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The servers, with 16 memory slots, provide up to twice the memory of other entry 1 RU rack-optimized servers. Users can upgrade existing dual-core systems to quad-core with special kits Sun provides.

The Sun Fire X2200 M2 server is built around Advanced Micro Devices' quad-core Opteron processor, launched last year but delayed for volume shipment until recently due to a silicon glitch that has now been corrected. AMD's quad-core server chips excel at high-scale Web application architectures, and for HPC, financial service, or design clusters running simulations and modeling with large data sets, according to a Sun spokesperson. The new Sun Fire server provides expandability for network connectivity and attached storage devices, with two PCI Express slots and four Ethernet ports, he said. The company maintains that its new servers are superior to similarly-configured servers, such as HP's DL 585 G5, Dell's and IBM's 3755.

"We're cramming the highest capacity into the system configuration," said David Simmons, senior product line director in Sun's x64 Servers and Workstations unit. "We're trying to solve one of the most pressing issues our customer's have -- running out of space in datacenter."

The Sun Fire X4600 M2 server supports up to 256 GB of memory and powers virtualization, database and high performance applications. It also supports virtualization technologies such as XEN, VMware, Solaris Containers, and Microsoft Virtualization.

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Another server, the Sun Fire X4240, is expandable to four-core, in a 2 RU system with integrated power management technology coupled with the Sun xVM Ops Center and Sun xVM Server. It runs on several operating systems including Solaris, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux, Windows and VMware.

The Sun Fire X2200 M2, Sun Fire X4100 M2, Sun Fire X4140, Sun Fire X4200 M2, Sun Fire X4240 and Sun Fire X4440 servers are available now, Simmons said. The Sun Fire X4600 M2 and Sun Blade X8440 servers are slated for release by the end of the quarter. Pricing starts at $2,250 (U.S. list) for the Sun Fire X4100 M2, and $14,126 for the Sun Blade X8440.

In addition, the company's two-year-old Try and Buy program allows channel partners to buy certain products at 25 percent to 45 percent off the list price. Trial products are shipped new and users can run them for 60 days with full return rights and shipping paid. "We have the Try and Buy program in 27 countries and there is a huge adoption rate," Simmons said. "We surveyed our customers and the satisfaction rate is 88 percent. We also found that when systems are returned they are often followed up by requests for different products because customers find that they have different configuration needs."

Damon Poeter contributed to this article