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Sun Slashes Entry-Level Server Prices

By Clint Boulton (Send Email)
Posted Jun 3, 2003


Hardware server vendors continue to undercut each other in terms of price while they try to outdo each other in terms of server performance.

Sun Tuesday became the latest outfit to wage an assault on rivals HP and IBM when it pared prices on its entry-level Sun Fire V480 and V880 models by as much as 20 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

Sun Microsystems Tuesday became the latest outfit to wage an assault on rivals Hewlett-Packard and IBM when it pared prices on its entry-level, Sun Fire V480 and V880 models by as much as 20 percent and 25 percent, respectively. The Santa Clara, Calif. company also boosted the speed of its V880 machine by 17 percent with the inclusion of a 1.05 GHz UltraSPARC III Cu processor because the configuration sold so well.

The Sun V880 machine is used to consolidate multiple applications on a single server in a variety of markets, including education, telecom, financial services, and government. More than 250 universities in the United States, including Stanford, John Hopkins, and Cal Poly Pomona, use the Sun Fire V880 and V480 systems in their IT infrastructure.

Pointing out that rivals such as IBM and HP cut prices aggressively on its server lines, Warren Mootrey, director of marketing for volume system products, Sun Microsystems, said his employer was able to make pricing adjustments for several reasons.

For one, Sun's entry-level volume sales, particularly those of the V880, have increased. For another, commodity processing costs for Sun's UltraSPARC chips have gone down. Both of these factors had no impact on their margins, Sun felt comfortable enough to make the v480 and v880 machines more attractive price-wise.

According to IDC's worldwide server report for the first quarter of 2003, Sun enjoyed its greatest degree of success in selling 8-processor servers, its V880, than Dell, HP, or IBM.

"That success combined with the phenomenal acceptance of our Sun Fire V480 server has helped us grow significant revenue market share in this category," Mootrey said. "With these reductions in price and the increase in performance, we expect to penetrate the market even more by providing enterprise-class systems at low-cost computing prices."

Mootrey told internetnews.com that beginning Tuesday enterprises can purchase a 2-processor, 4 GB memory system for $19,995, down from $22,995, a savings of 13 percent. A 4-CPU, 8 GB system is $43,995 from $34,995, a 20 percent decrease. And the 4-CPU, 16 GB system will sell for $42,995, down from $46,995.

The Sun Fire V880s feature even more decreases, Mootrey said. A 2-CPU machine with 4 GB of memory is $32,995, down from $36,995, but the real value lies in the 4-CPU, 8 GB system, which is selling at a quarter less its original retail value -- from $59,995 to $44,995. More powerful systems such as the 8-CPU, 16 GB system and the 8-CPU 32 GB systems are selling for $85,995, down from $99,995, and $109,995, down from $129,995, respectively.

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