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Sun Microsystems today took aim at two core pieces of its server strategy, announcing a new generation of UltraSPARC processors and a key software win for Solaris x86.

On the processor front, Sun revealed the UltraSPARC IV+ that will replace today's plain, old UltraSPARC IV. Sun should begin trickling the IV+ chip into servers next year, starting out with a 1.8GHz part. The dual-core processor will be built on a 90 nanometer process by TI and include expanded caches, better branch prediction and improved prefetching techniques. Of particular note is a new 2MB Level 2 cache and a monstrous 32MB off-chip Level 3 cache.

Overall, the IV+ processor should provide at least twice the performance of current UltraSPARC IVs. The speed boost is much needed with Sun trying to keep customers happy, as it prepares the multicore Niagara chip for 2006 and new SPARC processor in its partnership with Fujitsu.

Elsewhere, Sun signed a fairly major deal with Siebel Systems to bring its business software over to Solaris x86. Siebel will port its CRM Enterprise Edition to Solaris x86.

Sun has been working to bring key ISVs over to its version of Solaris for Intel and AMD processors. Thus far, companies such as Oracle and CA have backed Sun's efforts.

Sun needs a broad ISV lineup if it is to make Solaris x86 a serious contender against Windows, Linux and other versions of Unix. ®

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