Sun launches 64-bit x86 servers and workstations


Sun launched its 64-bit x86 servers in India this week (Mumbai and Bangalore).

None other than its CTO John Fowler, an IT veteran of fame was in India for the launch.

I had the fortune of not only listening to John, but the honor of John showing me the inner details of Sun Fire 4100 and 2100 servers; interestingly, the “hand” of Andy Bechtolshiem the “designer par excellence” was there to see – an absolute “clean” layout with redundant “hot swap” features for fan, power, disk etc., built into a box that is deceptively small. The 2100 box has a price point that would let many jaws drop – $ 745 for an entry level server!

Andy Bechtolshiem was the man behind the Sun Workstations of the 80’s; many of us fondly remember the neatly engineered Sun workstations (I had one (Sun 3/60) for six years on my table that was a delight to use). With Andy back in Sun, we expect a renewed energy and output from Sun; even the approach is similar; way back then Sun built its workstations around Motorola processors and BSD; they are now doing it with AMD Opteron processors (dual core and single core) and multiple O/S (Solaris, Linux and Windows). In the process, they have a server that runs faster, cheaper, and more importantly, cooler (less heat means less cost too, particularly in hot countries like India that imports most of its oil when prices are soaring like mad)

This announcement will be music to the ears of the enterprise computing users, particularly those in the SME sector.

With ERP running for years, the databases need 64-bit addressability; with analytics becoming a necessity for CRM applications, enterprise users too need high performance computing. These users need O/S that they are more familiar with (Windows & Linux); by not insisting on Solaris (that is perceived by enterprise users as good but “difficult”), Sun has taken an “inclusive” approach; by offering a server that betters even the world’s fastest selling servers from HP, the Sun offer will be attractive to the “cost conscious” enterprise computing users; the “legacy” protection that the shift from 32-bit to 64-bit offers (thanks to x86), is a big “comforter” for enterprise users; with the simplicity of management (that one is used to with Sun servers), it could be a “killer” server product; of course, only time will tell!

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