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Gartner warns of Sun server unreliability

And claims Sun admits quality issues

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A damning note from market research company, the Gartner Group, is claiming that Sun Microsystem's Ultra Enterprise servers are unreliable. The note, dated 16 November last, and sent to selected Gartner customers, also claims that Sun has owned up to the problem. The most frequent bitches, according to the document, are connected with machines which use Sun's 400MHz 4MB cache Ultra Sparc II chips. Further, Gartner says that it has heard from a number of its customers of problems with fibre-optic IO controllers and "inaccurate or misleading" system diagnostic reports, with disk failures being reported as CPU problems. High end Sun servers have come in for criticism from customers, specifically the UE 10000 and UE6500 that use systems that have more than 36CPUs for the former and 20 CPUs for the latter. According to the document, Sun has admitted there are quality issues with SRAM (synchronous RAM) on some 400MHz CPUs and quality control problems with the fibre optic controllers. Gartner suggests to its customers that "continued client reports of CPU module failures" suggest that the quality control problems are likely to be more widespread than Sun claims. Sun has told Gartner that the problems are with a "bad batch". A systems administrator for a major corporation who wished to remain anonymous, commented: "A friend with a E10000 or two to play with is quite pleased. The fault that caused problems there was with door microswitches (fixed with tape) closing out bits of the system. I haven't heard about the CPU problem, which sounds more serious. At $80,000 apiece, this would be a significant problem." Sun Microsystems was unavailable for comment at press time. ®

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