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Sun Microsystems has confirmed the specifications for its first general purpose server to feature Intel chips.

The Sun LX50 is designed for networking applications like caching and streaming or for use as entry servers in high performance computing farms, will come in either one or dual processor versions, each featuring 1.4GHz Intel Pentium III chips, and both one rack unit high. Prices start at around £2,100 in the UK.

So it's pretty much commodity hardware for a low cost entry server, as Sun readily acknowledges. Sun plans to make its money by bundling application software (such as Sun Grid Engine software), support and professional services. It also seeks to differentiate itself by offering its own Linux distro, Sun Linux 5.0.

Simon Tindall, Sun's volume product business manager, said that supplying both the operating system and the hardware gives customers "one throat to choke" if anything goes wrong.

Sun's line of Cobalt servers will be moved onto the same version of Sun Linux "over time", he added.

In developing Sun Linux 5.0, Sun has made improvements in hardening device drivers and optimising security which Tindall said were released back to the Linux community.

From September, Sun will offer Solaris x86 8.0, alongside Linux on its new LX50 'Big Bear' Intel server. From early next year, Solaris 9.0 for Intel will be an option, too.

As we reported earlier today, this means Sun is to revive the Intel version of Solaris, which it effectively mothballed late last year. ®

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