Sun Goes After Wintel/Lintel Vendors with New Server Line

By Kevin Reichard (Send Email)
Posted Dec 6, 2001

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Sun Microsystems is taking aim at the high end of the Wintel/Lintel server universe with the introduction of the Sun Fire 280R rack-optimized server, built around the new 900-Mhz UltraSPARC III processor. For Sun, this represents an entry-level offering for the enterprise at a time when the company is losing market share to low-end servers based on Windows 2000 Server and Linux. Sun's new entry-level Sun Fire 280R server line is designed for enterprise buyers who are considering high-end Wintel/Lintel-based servers for database management and application servers.

Positioning in this market is relative, of course. Pricing for a basic Sun Fire 280R begins at 2,995; while that may represent an entry-level Sun Fire server, it represents the higher-end of Wintel/Lintel servers from Compaq, IBM, and Dell. And according to Sun officials, the Sun Fire 280R offers capabilities not found in the Wintel/Lintel world: the 280R comes standard with eight megabytes of Level 2 cache and provides up to eight gigabytes of main memory.

"Even when compared to their [Wintel/Lintel vendors] high end, they are far away from meeting the SunFire standards," says Maggie Chan, Senior Product Marketing Manager of Volume Systems Product at Sun. "We are bringing high end performance to the low end servers."

Chan noted several features that exceed anything in the Wintel/Lintel market. For starters, Wintel/Lintel servers max out at six gigabytes of memory, and none comes close to offering eight megabytes of Level 2 cache. Similarly, Wintel/Lintel servers tend to lack redundant, hot-swappable power supplies, which means that even if a unit burns out a power supply theres already a fully functional supply working.

The original Sun Fire 280R was based on the 750-MHz UltraSPARC III chip; existing Sun Fire 280R customers can upgrade merely by swapping in the 900-MHz CPU and fan tray.

The intended enterprise uses for the new Sun Fire 280R servers center around database management and application servers; Oracle, for instance, already is offering the Oracle9i application server Real Application Clusters Certified Configuration for the Sun Fire 280R line.

The new Sun Fire 280R server line is available immediately. The price for an entry configuration is 2,995 for a dual 900-MHz Sun Fire 280R server with 8 MB of e-cache, 2 GB of memory, dual power supplies, dual 36 GB, 10000-rpm FC-AL internal disks, and DVD-ROM. The Sun Fire 280R server can scale up to 8 GB of memory, with two 73 GB FC-AL disks in a single system.

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