In one of the largest technology unveilings in its history, Sun Microsystems, Inc., answers the “availability is everything” call by introducing the highly-anticipated Sun Fire servers . The new systems redefine the profile of traditional midrange servers and challenge the conventional economics of uptime with prices that start below $75,000. With this new arsenal of systems, Sun increases the competitive pressure on HP, IBM and Compaq and is poised to widen its existing marketshare gap and capture more of the $60 billion server market.
Called Midframe servers because they incorporate features from the traditional mainframe –long known for robust features that made it highly reliable, but extremely expensive — the four new systems, available now, rewrite the rules for this class of system. Extending Sun’s current family of industry-leading systems, the new Sun Fire servers are designed to deliver unprecedented levels of system availability, real-world application performance, flexibility and investment protection in a server line. The new servers are the cornerstone of Sun’s systems, software and new availability environment that will help customers take advantage of the economic benefits of the worldwide build out of the Internet infrastructure.
The foundation for these Midframe systems is breakthrough technology and a next-generation, balanced system design that delivers mainframe-class functionality. Design innovations such as redundant component interconnection technology, the ability to dynamically split one system into multiple systems, duplicate hardware components, and “on-the-fly” processor upgrades –once unheard of in this class of system — are standard features. At their core are the award-winning UltraSPARC III processor , Sun’s third-generation 64-bit chip, and industry-leading Solaris[tm] 8 Operating Environment.
Scott McNealy, Sun Microsystems chairman and CEO said, “It’s more bad news for the competition. After a year in which IBM and HP threw everything they could at us, including old products with new names and new products with “super” names, we still took marketshare away from them. This time we’re tearing into what those re-branded mainframe makers thought was their safe haven– continuous up time, round-the-clock availability, and investment protection–and bringing it to customers who understand the value of a dollar.”
“It’s all about availability,” said John Shoemaker, executive vice president of Sun’s System Products Group. “Starting now, the new measures of midrange computing performance include availability for real world applications and return on investment. The new Sun Fire Midframe is just what customers need to leverage higher returns from their information technology investments.”
The Difference is Uptime
The Sun Fire servers include several innovations — new to this class of system– designed to deliver a balanced array of performance measures tuned to the needs of network computing along with superior levels of availability.
At the core of the servers’ unprecedented availability levels is the Sun Fireplane[tm] interconnection or backplane. This fully-redundant backplane — a design “first” for this class of system — enables fault-isolated partitioning and dynamic partitioning in a full production environment. This ability to split the computer into separate domains enables customers the ability to design midrange systems with unprecedented levels of security, fault tolerance, uptime and flexibility in accommodating system growth or varying service demands.
Its cable-free design gives the Sun Fireplane interconnect greater bandwidth for more predictable performance and lower latency, which results in higher application performance. At 9.6 GB/sec sustained performance, the Sun Fireplane interconnect offers nearly five times the throughput of IBM’s P680 system.
The Sun Fire systems are the only servers in this new class to offer online upgradability, which further contributes to maximum uptime. “Hot” CPU upgrades, I/O and memory upgrades, and the ability to modify core components of the Solaris Operating Environment will create shorter maintenance windows, which lead to higher uptime and service levels. In addition, the systems allow for concurrent maintenance, enabling repairs while the system — and applications — are up and running. This is the equivalent of a car that can have its oil changed and engine tuned while running down the freeway at high speed.
As a complement to the redundant interconnect, all hardware components — from data and memory paths, system controller and power, to cooling and even the clock — are fully redundant, in effect delivering systems with no single point of hardware failure. Comparatively, if something as simple as the clock fails in a million-dollar HP Superdome or an IBM P680, the system dies.
The Sun servers also feature end-to-end ECC (error checking correction code) for parity checking on data, address and external cache.
The Sun Fire servers ship with Sun[tm] Management Center software, a rich, powerful and efficient web-based management tool that provides a central point for managing and monitoring all aspects of Sun servers. In addition to increasing efficiency, Sun Management Center software assists the customer by providing sophisticated system analysis, instrumentation and configuration management.
Pricing and Availability
Starting prices for the new Sun Fire server family are as follows:
- A Sun Fire 3800 server with 2-CPUs (750MHz), 2GBytes of memory US$73,195.
- A Sun Fire 4800 server with 2 CPUs(750MHz), 2GBytes of memory US$129,995.
- A Sun Fire 4810 rackable server with 2 CPUs(750MHz), 2GBytes of memory US$129,995.
- A Sun Fire 6800 with 2 CPUs(750MHz), 2GBytes of memory US$250,995.
All Sun servers come standard with the Solaris Operating Environment. The systems are shipping today.
For a complete online press kit, please go to www.sun.com/midframe/presskit.
About Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision – The Network Is The Computer[tm] — has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW), to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that power the Internet and allow companies worldwide to dot-com their businesses. With $19.2 billion in annual revenues, Sun can be found in more than 170 countries and on the World Wide Web at http://sun.com.