Sun touts Intel Xeon-based grid

Sun Microsystems has introduced a reference architecture and product bundle for setting up Intel-based computing grids. It...

Sun Microsystems has introduced a reference architecture and product bundle for setting up Intel-based computing grids. It also announced a four-processor UltraSparc IIIi server and the company's first tower server in five years.

Launched at the SunNetwork 2003 conference in San Francisco, the Sun Fire V60x Compute Grid is a reference platform featuring an integrated hardware and software combination for technical customers in design automation, mechanical computer-aided engineering, petroleum and life sciences markets.

It will feature Sun Control Station 2.0 management software and Sun Grid Engine Enterprise Edition, preloaded on a Cluster Grid Manager management node for simplifying grid management and improving compute resource utilisation.

"We'll be able to ship to the customer under one model number everything integrated into [the grid]," said Neil Knox, Sun executive vice-president of volume systems products.

A rack consisting of 32 dual-2.8 GHz or 3.06 GHz x Intel Xeon processors, Sun Fire V60x servers and integrated management software starts at $185,000 (£116,000).

A Sparc-based grid reference architecture is planned for 2004.

Among the UltraSparc IIIi boxes being rolled out is the Sun Fire V440 Server, a four-processor, rack-optimised UltraSparc server priced at $9,995 (£6,289).

The system was described by Knox as a "very aggressively architected, low-cost, four-way system" intended to compete with Intel boxes. 

The Sun Fire V250 Tower Server is priced at $2,995. The system features a SunPCI III Coprocessor Card, enabling users to run multiple separate operating environments including Solaris, Linux, and Windows on a single sever. Samba, also included, provides open-source code for running workgroup file and print applications. The V250 is Sun's first tower release in five years.

"We became very rack-optimised during the [economic] boom but we found a lot of our customers in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific are used to tower configurations," Knox said.

Sun's new Sun Fire 1500 technical workstation is intended to beat Hewlett-Packard and IBM on price performance. It starts at $2,995.

"It's going to give us an UltraSparc IIIi implementation for the 64-bit workstation marketplace," said Knox.

Sun also is announcing enhancements to its Sun Ray thin-client product line, including Sun Ray Building Blocks and a Sun Ray system. Sun Ray Building Blocks is a desktop offering that combines 15 Sun Ray 1 clients and a Sun Fire V210 or V250 sever with smart cards for a workgroup offering.

The Sun Ray 1g client features resolutions of as much as 1,920-by-1,200 dpi at full 24-bit color resolution, for use in EDA, publishing, software development, and network operations centres.

Paul Krill writes for InfoWorld

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