Sun luring enterprise customers away from Intel

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Santa Clara (CA) - Sun today announced new AMD-based performance datacenter servers, which can carry up to 16 processors or up to 24 TB of storage space in one 4U chassis. The new models are squarely aimed at the Intel-based competition and Sun hopes that the sparkling AMD Opteron brand will once again fuel the firm's growth in the x86 server segment.

It's no secret anymore that the today's server market growth is driven by just a few growth pockets. Those include x86 systems, which have seen a dramatic increase in popularity over the past quarters. Sun was able to participate in that growth through its decision to put its x86 focus solely on AMD's Opteron processor, which has been eating away Intel's market share not only in the multi-processor system market but more recently in the more volume-oriented dual-processor segment as well.

Sun's Fire X4600 server

Sun's new Fire x4600 server debuts in a segment where Intel cannot challenge AMD at this time - in the high-margin multi-processor arena. Sun claims that it is the first 4-16-way server that is built into a 4U rack chassis and promises that the device "is the industry's fastest 4-16-way server built for the datacenter." According to Sun, the performance of the new server is enough "to consolidate up to 76 x86 Xeon servers onto a single Sun Fire X4600 server." The company did not provide further details on this comparison.

Also new is the Fire x4500, a data server that uses four Opteron processors and integrates up to 24 TB of storage space in a 4U server. Pricing of the device has not been revealed, but the company promised that the cost per gigabyte will be "as low as" $2, making it a solution that is looking for customers who run "demanding, high-bandwidth applications such as high-performance computing (HPC), data warehousing/business intelligence, digital media streaming and digital surveillance."

Complementing the parade is Sun's new Blade 8000 modular system, which claims to use 20% less energy and half the space of today's rack-mounted servers. Customers can combine up to ten Opteron-based 4-socket blades. Each module provides up to 192 Gb/s I/O throughput, according to Sun.

Pricing of Sun's new volume and midrange x86 servers has not been announced.