Sun shines light on servers, storage in latest lineup

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Sun's latest quarterly products announcement emphasises servers, workstations and storage in a growing push towards utility computing and lower cost networking, company executives said.

The vendor's latest 24-product launch, announced 22 September, expanded its StorEdge family of storage systems, previewed new features for its Solaris 10 OS and unveiled new SPARC and Opteron systems.

Dan Kieran, national storage business manager at Sun Microsystems in Australia, said the vendor had released a StorEdge system for the mid-range featuring utility pricing.

The mid-range 6920 system was offered on pay-for-use terms at US$1.27 per month, including hardware, software, installation and support services, he said.
Sun initially offered pay-for-use on enterprise-level StorEdge back in June.

"The 6900 range is building on technology we acquired over the past few years," Kieran said. "You can scale for more platforms by adding more cash, more controllers or connectivity."

Sun already had customer numbers "in the teens" for StorEdge 6920 in Australia and was talking to many more who were interested, he said.

Kieran said Sun had also released StorEdge 9990, a box with virtualisation, replication and data movement capabilities that would scale to 330 terabytes (TB) inside the system and 32 petabytes (PB) of externally attached storage.

"We have customers looking at three or four sub-systems. We have about a dozen customers who'll fit this nicely and that's just raising the bar from the high end," he said.

Sun had also released a StorEdge 5210 NAS with support for various platforms, targeting businesses needing 500GB to 2.5TB of storage, Kieran said.

Robert Becker, business manager for servers and workstations at Sun Microsystems in Australia, said other highlights of this quarterly release included Sun Fire V490 and Sun Fire V890 servers using UltraSPARC IV multithreading.

Using multithreading on the chip provided twice the throughput of Sun's existing four- and eight-way systems for a similar price, facilitating 10,000 connections of web SSL, Becker said.

Multithreading would help businesses wanting to do more e-business, he said.

"The other announcement is we'll expand our AMD Opteron product family to include the four-way V40z," Becker said. "Previously, it was only for two-way."

Four-way was more of an application and database play, he said. Sun had also announced two new Opteron-based Sun Java workstations, the uni-processor W1100z and the dual-processor W2100z.

"The uni-processor uses technology from NVIDIA," Becker said. "Previously, we only had SPARC Solaris workstations."

All of those Opteron-based products worked with Windows, Red Hat and SuSE Linux as well as Solaris, Becker said.

Kieran said the next quarterly release was likely to add further performance elements and greater expandability to Sun's storage range.

"[Also] in the 6000 family, we're going to add more data services into the environment and connectivity options and I think there may be an announcement about reference architecture," Kieran said.

Becker added that the server announcements looked forward to the next release of Solaris 10 and to the next step in its N1 grid computing vision.

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