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Sun's Opteron fleet finally goes on sale

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Sun Microsystems has finally made the shift from key Opteron braggart to key Opteron vendor with the release of three new systems.

At long last, Sun's four processor Sun Fire V40z server and W1100z and W2100z workstations have gone on sale. All of the systems run on AMD's latest Opteron chip and complement Sun's existing two processor Sun Fire V20z server. With four Opteron systems now in its product line, Sun has officially become the biggest Tier I backer of AMD's x86-64bit product.

If you believe every word uttered by Sun's marketing staff, you may well have thought Sun already owned the Opteron server market. Not true. The company has been talking up its AMD partnership for months but actually saw rival HP take an uncomfortable lead in the systems delivered department. HP already sells a two-way and four-way Opteron box.

But, after endless teasing, Sun has done as promised and knocked HP off its pedestal. The V40z comes in at a starting price of $8,495, and the W1100z and W2100z workstations start at $1,995 and $4,695, respectively.

Sun is, of course, touting Solaris x86 as the preferred operating system for the new hardware. It announced a new deal that gives customers a three-year subscription for Solaris x86 and Sun's Silver Spectrum services support for $492 per year. Sun will also support Linux and Windows on the new systems.

It has taken Sun a long time to face up to the x86 server market, but today's product launch shows the company is finally serious about competing with Intel-friendly vendors. And Sun plans to add even more Opteron servers to its product line over the next year, including an eight-processor box and systems designed by Sun cofounder Andy Bechtolsheim. The Becky-Boxes should help Sun differentiate itself from other x86 players. ®

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