back to article IBM-free Sun unwraps Nehalem EP servers

Sun Microsystems is today finally expected to unwrap two blades, four racks, and a tower workstation based on Intel's quad-core Nehalem EP Xeon 5500 processors. The launch follows a delay that pushed out this next generation of Galaxy servers by two weeks - probably caused by the hubbub surrounding that much discussed, planned, …

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Dead Vulture

And the next annoucement......

will be bankruptcy?

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Go

Whaaaa...?

DId someone say Nehalem-based Sun **desktop workstation**?

Yes please!!

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Flame

ultra 27 must go like the clappers

http://sunsolve.sun.com/handbook_pub/validateUser.do?target=Systems/Ultra27/spec

mines the one with the flaming hot ultra27 in the pocket ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Selling x86 gear will not keep Sun alive

There simply aren't large enough margins in x86 gear. Certainly, Sun builds good hardware, but Dell, HP, IBM and others can simply offer their customers deep discounting on Nahalem-based servers and drive Sun out of the market. Sun's competitors can afford to do this, while Sun cannot.

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Selling x86 gear *alone* will not keep Sun alive

Actually, Sun doesn't sell *just* x86 gear and clearly, not all x86 systems are the same. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.

Sure, you can possibly buy a Dell cheaper, but its not just about assembling the components (cheap and cheerful), but how the system is architected and then optimized with the software stack. Comparing Sun to Dell is like comparing a Casio to Breitling. Sure the Casio will do the job, but it won't have the longevity/durability/build quality nor elegance of the Breitling. Why not check out Sun's launch of these Nehalem servers to see for yourself? http://www.sun.com/launch/2009-0414/index.jsp

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Dead Vulture

"Sun doesn't sell *just* x86 gear"

"Sun doesn't sell *just* x86 gear"

While true, that other hardware is a major part of their declining sales.

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Selling x86...

The SunBlade 6000 is a decent bit of hardware. You can put AMD, Intel, or Sparc blades in it. Every CPU/platform has it's strengths and weaknesses. Beyond CPU differences to meet your needs, they have different IO options (cards, modules, and a disk blade). An external vendor even built an expansion unit so that you can use any type of pci-e cards. It is the most consumer friendly blade system out there, and it seems to be rock solid. The "openness" of the system is what helps make it price competitive, and give it a longer life then the other vendor's hw. We have a mixture of vendors products. Sun & IBM's hw seems to be the most reliable. Dell's the least reliable. If only Sun would advertise their products...

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Stop

RE: If only SUN would advertise....

Isn't that what you guys are doing here, why is every post someone trying to advertise SUN products, be it ZFS, Dtrace, OpenSolaris (C)ROCK etc etc. You obviously all work for SUN or are heavily reliant on them for your business hence the AC.

The problem SUN has with their blades is they don't offer anything new they are just a "me too", nothing innovative.

Both IBM and HP offer multiple processor types in the same chassis (IBM with Intel, AMD and Power, HP with Intel, AMD and Itanium), and HP also have the virtual connect technology and very strong systems management tools that are well integrated. They might make them well but so do IBM and HP.........

Thats why here in the UK SUN accounts for less than 5% of the blade market, and HP and IBM dominate it,

Just a me too, two years too late.

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@ Adam aka AC

"Isn't that what you guys are doing here, why is every post someone trying to advertise SUN products, be it ZFS, Dtrace, OpenSolaris..."

Uh, nope.

"You obviously all work for SUN or are heavily reliant on them for your business hence the AC."

Some probably do/are, some probably don't/aren't, some probably don't give a fig either way.

Oh, and until such time *you* put your first and last name to a comment, then you are no different to an Anonymous Coward yourself.

Cheers, "Adam"!

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Happy

@Anon: Margins exist, you have to find them.

Anonymous says, "There simply aren't large enough margins in x86 gear. Certainly, Sun builds good hardware, but Dell, HP, IBM and others can simply offer their customers deep discounting on Nahalem-based servers and drive Sun out of the market. Sun's competitors can afford to do this, while Sun cannot."

If SUN produces systems which the competition is not, it allows SUN to operate an an area where they can achieve reasonable margins.

For example, an HPC cluster with networking is an excellent area for SUN to show off it's engineering expertise. Allow engineering efficiencies to operate at every level (power, heat, networking, etc.) and a cost effective total package is produced. Companies like Dell, HP, and IBM often out-source pieces of a cluster to other companies - this drives up cost, total number of vendors (drives up support costs), as well as components (which drives down reliability), and energy consumption.

While SUN engineers to deliver a good price on full systems, the rest of the market can choose to purchase the other systems, benefiting from the engineering investment.

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EnigmaForce

Great name...............................................

any comment on the actual point I was making?

And my name is Adam Wilson thanks very much - a bit new on here hence my frustration with all the SUN sales 101 - it seems to infest every arcticle at the moment.

So not wanting to sound like the incredibly smug Matt Bryant lets look at the issues

I've been a pre-sales consultant for about 10 years in the Enterprise space working for a partner organisation (I confess i've only ever competed with SUN but don't have a chip on my shoulder about them any more than any other vendors than the ones I work with) and the whole way the people on here talks about SUN reminds me what my job was like 10 years ago, all we talked about was cool features and how wonderful they were.

What we didn't tell people was what the benefit of the that feature, so as the game changed we changed. We started talking about benefits that the customer would get - albeit the operational ones. And now the game has changed again sign off is rarely given by the technical teams anymore its done by a C-Level exec or Business manager/Bean counter, and they don't care about how wonderful ZFS might be or what DTrace does (trust me they don't). They care about 3 things; reducing risk, reducing cost and making more money. Its that simple.

So now we approach the sale differently, theres a process, identify the business need, then link it to the solution explaining the business benefits it has, then link it to the technology (to keep the technical advisors happy), oh and we have to have strong ROI to back it up. The current financial climate is demanding this more and more often.

So please stop banging the drum about how great the products are, tell people what they actually give to a business/organisation (not just the IT teams) and how they can make them more competitive, reduce risk etc etc.

This applies to every vendor not just SUN

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Go

@Adam:

Adam says, "Isn't that what you guys are doing here, why is every post someone trying to advertise SUN products, be it ZFS, Dtrace, OpenSolaris, ...ROCK etc etc."

Umm... no, we like technology, and the return on investment it provides.

Adam suggests, "You obviously all work for SUN or are heavily reliant on them for your business hence the AC."

Various vendors bring features to the market place which provide a competitive advantage in the marketplace. In order to be more efficient than the competition, those features provide a return on investment. Relying on those features to be more efficient than the competition allows a business to survive during tough times and grow more rapidly in good times.

Adam states, "The problem SUN has with their blades is they don't offer anything new they are just a 'me too', nothing innovative."

The inclusion of highly-threaded SPARC processors offer companies based on Web 2.0 technology an uplift on their competition. When a 10x dual-socket UltraSPARC T2+ fit into a 10U high form-factor and it takes the competition 40U-80U to provide a competing workload equivalent in encrypted web traffic capacity at the same cost - that is an advantage on purchase cost.

http://spec.org/cgi-bin/osgresults?conf=web2005&op=fetch&proj-COMPANY=256&proj-SYSTEM=256&proj-PEAK=256&proj-HTTPSW=256&proj-CORES=256&proj-CHIPS=256&critop-CHIPS=0&crit-CHIPS=1&proj-CORESCHP=256&proj-CPU=0&proj-CACHE1=0&proj-CACHE2=0&proj-CACHE3=0&proj-MEMORY=0&proj-NETNCTRL=0&proj-NETCTRL=0&proj-NNETS=0&proj-NETTYPE=0&proj-NETSPEED=0&proj-TIMEWAIT=0&proj-DSKCTRL=0&proj-DISK=0&proj-SCRIPTS=0&proj-WEBCACHE=0&proj-OS=0&proj-HWAVAIL=0&crit2-HWAVAIL=Jan&proj-OSAVAIL=0&crit2-OSAVAIL=Jan&proj-SWAVAIL=0&crit2-SWAVAIL=Jan&proj-LICENSE=0&proj-TESTER=0&proj-TESTDAT=0&crit2-TESTDAT=Jan&proj-PUBLISH=256&crit2-PUBLISH=Jan&proj-UPDATE=0&crit2-UPDATE=Jan&dups=0&duplist=COMPANY&duplist=SYSTEM&duplist=CORES&duplist=CHIPS&duplist=CORESCHP&duplist=CPU&duplist=CACHE1&duplist=CACHE2&duplist=CACHE3&duplist=NETTYPE&dupkey=PUBLISH&latest=Dec-9999&sort1=PEAK&sdir1=-1&sort2=SYSTEM&sdir2=1&sort3=CORESCHP&sdir3=-1&format=tab

Not everyone is interested in taking the risk to be more efficient than their competition, but if you are interested in staying alive.

Other applications have other business requirements, which makes them dependent upon other vendors, and that is OK!

Adam says, "Both IBM and HP offer multiple processor types in the same chassis (IBM with Intel, AMD and Power, HP with Intel, AMD and Itanium), and HP also have the virtual connect technology and very strong systems management tools that are well integrated. They might make them well but so do IBM and HP"

And if the business requirements of an application make Itanium or POWER a strategic advantage to a company, to lower their TCO - then good for them!

That is a good thing!

It is not about SPARC, POWER, or x64 being the best for everything - it is about which architecture from which vendor provides a strategic advantage for a company to deliver services to their customers at a better price point.

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Linux

Re: EnigmaForce (Adam)

> any comment on the actual point I was making?

You have to ask El Reg but for some strange reason, many of Sun's blade related announcements didn't make it into this article. Why do you say that Sun's blade

architecture is a me too product ? It's the only one that is different from all the

others in that Sun uses a standard PCI-EX backplane - now critics would say it's

worse than all the others - it's still different. Sun seemed to fill up a very important

gap in their blade products, which is an integrated NEM switch which gives a

virtual 10GE link to each blade and eliminates need for an external chassis level

switch. All new Sun servers and blades now come with their flash MiniDIMM

which is a pretty aggressive SSD strategy for a vendor in the red. They seemed

to make quite a lot of announcements in the HPC space with integrated QDR

IB modules, cooling doors for their HPC racks etc. In fact Sun has one of the

best IB based HPC solution for large scale HPC implementation, although

DELL/HP would likely beat them with lower prices.

Many Sun zealots would say solaris/ZFS/DTrace, and as you rightly said, nobody

cares. It's true Sun likes to make noise about solaris, but most of their money

is coming from hardware, and x86 servers and blade is a real bright spot

if you look at their past few quarterly revenue breakdowns. Their x86 revenue,

which is minuscule, is growing well while the big players are slowing down,

and is profitable. Even if Sun can persuade the handful of SPARC shops

planning x86 purchase to buy from them instead of HP/IBM/DELL - that's

big win for them.

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IT Angle

Re: Adam

Believe me, no one would confuse you for the "incredibly smug Matt Bryant". You apparently can put two coherent statements together. That said, there are no margins in x86 as everyone has the same thing. The only ones making money here are Intel and Microsoft. Sun actually puts some engineering into their systems (ZFS, DTrace, X4500, Amber Road, etc). The problem is that most sales people just sell the vendor, not the product. Sorry to say it, but these sales people are lazy. Yes, most companies just want to stick with a "safe" vendor, but many want the best solution for their current need. Those are the companies that Sun focuses on.

Margins are much higher on the best solution, while it is easier to sell the "safe" solution.

Too many lazy sales people!

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Happy

@Anon; @Adam ~ smug

~~~ "incredibly smug Matt Bryant"

You mean - the guy who can't spell Solaris to save his life?

LOL!

It is nice to see some intelligent discussion concerning the articles.

What a contrast!

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@Adam: Blades and Innovation

Adam says, "SUN has with their blades is they don't offer anything new they are just a "me too", nothing innovative."

I find it difficult to comprehend a statement like this. I have never heard of someone complaining that SUN was competitive.

The reality is that SUN offers some very unique and superior features to the competitors:

- 50% more sockets in a rack than other vendors

- 80 Gigabit chaassis connections (Dual 40 Gigabit Infiniband interconnect)

- Blade option with flash DIMM's

- Blade option with hard disks

- Blade option without disks

- Blade option with SPARC, Intel, and AMD

- Blade option supporting Solaris, Liinux, Windows

- Blade option with no backplane chassis interconnect

- Provisioning system for multiple operating systems (Solaris, Liinux, Windows)

- Passive cooling door option to increase compute density up to 70% over in-row cooling

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re:David Halko - Me2!

Come on David admit it these aren't exactly unique in the market

If I look at HP for reference as I know their offering best in the blade space:

HP - 1024 cores/256 sockets - SUN = 1152 Cores/?sockets - so 1 to SUN there I guess

80Gbps Infiniband - yep dual 40Gbps Infiniband too

Flash - well hp have flash hdd's rather than memory

HDD'S does any vendor not do this?

no HDD option - ditto above

Multi cpu - well admittedly hp don't have a Sparc offering but why would they, but they do have a 3 CPU strategy in x64 Intel, AMD and IA-64 Itanium - so equivalence

Multi OS - Windows, Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, OpenVMS (1 to HP there)

No interconnect option - yep via passthru

Multi -OS provisioning, only with HP Datacenter Automation software (Opsware), the free tools are sat in the the Windows/Linux and then the HP-UX space, not sure on the Solaris side, so if SUN can do all from the same interface as standard then fair play

Cooling & Power - HP have some neat stuff here such as thermal logic, power capping that can reduce power consumption. 70% is nice but whats the comparisson between, is it a competitive offering or a load of rack servers?

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Show me any other vendor who offers what Sun does

Watch the 4 videos.

http://www.sun.com/launch/2009-0414/index.jsp

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@Adam: Me2!

Adam says, "No interconnect option - yep via passthru"

If I remember correctly, the "passthru" is a board which plugs into a proprietary backplane, and limits Ethernet to gigabit speeds. SUN offers blades blades, where an option for a proprietary backplane was not required, to pass through all interfaces, including multiple 10 GigE.

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Is SUN all its cracked up to be?

Just found these ratings on the web:

SAP certification Number:

2008071 - HP DL380 G6 2p/8c - 25,000 SAPS

2009005 - Sun x4270 2p/8c - 20,300 SAPS

Same processors (Nehalem), yet the SUN is 23% SLOWER than the HP. Maybe SUN's "industry leading" engineering .............. isnt!

I admit its a different software stack (OS and DB) but seeing as we are comparing Solaris/Oracle to Windows/SQL and according to the fan boys the SUN stack should be superior (you know who you are) so technically its advantage SUN. So is it the hardware thats inferior or maybe Solaris isnt all its cracked up to be?

Either way 23% is far to much to be an abonormality, something somenwhere is not as "cutting" edge as you would like us to believe.

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Anonymous Corward: Is SUN all its cracked up to be?

Anonymous Coward remarks:

Is SUN all its cracked up to be?

2008071 - HP DL380 G6 2p/8c - 25,000 SAPS

2009005 - Sun x4270 2p/8c - 20,300 SAPS

Same processors (Nehalem), yet the SUN is 23% SLOWER than the HP. Maybe SUN's "industry leading" engineering... isnt!

- - - - - - - - - -

It is important to understand the benchmarks.

http://blogs.sun.com/bmseer/entry/sun_fire_x4270_server_two

"In January 2009, a new version, the Two-tier SAP ERP 6.0 Enhancement Pack 4 (Unicode) Standard Sales and Distribution (SD) Benchmark, was released. This new release has higher cpu requirements and so yields from 25-50% fewer users compared to the previous Two-tier SAP ERP 6.0 (non-unicode) Standard Sales and Distribution (SD) Benchmark."

Looking at the dating of the benchmarks, SUN is using the newer Unicode benchmark, while HP is using the older non-Unicode benchmark (which requires substantially less CPU cycles.)

When you compare the same benchmarks against the same system configurations, you are getting a proper comparison.

SAP ERP 6.0 Enhancement Pack 4 (Unicode) Results

Date SAPS Description

2009-05-30 20,300 Sun Fire X4270 2xIntel Xeon X5570 @2.93GHz 48 GB Solaris 10 Oracle 10g

2009-05-27 18,080 HP ProLiant BL380 G6 2xIntel Xeon X5570 @2.93GHz 48 GB MS Win 2008 MS SQL 2008

2009-05-27 18,030 HP ProLiant DL380 G6 2xIntel Xeon X5570 @2.93GHz 48 GB MS Win 2008 MS Sql 2008

The SUN system outperforms the HP system - the difference appears to be either the hardware engineering, disk selection, the OS, or the database.

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