Sun is hoping to convince users that their money is better spent on hardware from a company offering a single operating system and chip technology on all of its hardware.
IBM offers one of the industry's largest portfolios of servers based on its own Power4 processors and Intel's processors in machines that run the AIX, Linux and Windows operating systems. Scott McNealy, chairman and chief executive officer at Sun, claimed that because his company focused solely on the Solaris operating system and UltraSparc processors, a great deal of complexity for users is eliminated because they can work and develop on a single platform.
McNealy pointed to Sun's tight development relationship with Oracle and the two companies' joint certification programme. Preconfigured sets of hardware and software are offered to customers at a discounted price.
Sun and Oracle have now launched a new hardware and software pairing designed to pull users away from mainframes and onto Sun's high-end Sun Fire 15K server. IBM dominates the mainframe market, and Sun has been looking to steal parts of this business for some time with its Unix servers.
Over the next 60 days, the two vendors will give users an implementation guide for running the Oracle9i Real Application Clusters software on the Sun Fire 15K. Sun is pushing users to link two or more Sun Fire 15Ks with its StorEdge 9900 arrays and the Oracle software, positioning this combination as a mainframe alternative.
As with their other certified configurations, Sun and Oracle will jointly support the pairing.
"We are offering what we think is a very interesting mainframe alternative," McNealy said. "I am pushing my company very hard on some standard configurations. You might get a little more product than you need, but you get it at a lower cost."
Users can expect hardware vendors to continue the trend toward making application server software free on servers, McNealy said.
Sun has said it plans to bundle the iPlanet Application Server with its Solaris operating system next year.