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Sun thrusts four-socket Xeon blade at Intel fanboys

While MS reveals 'Viridian'

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IDF Sun Microsystems and Microsoft today did their best to wow Intel's customer base with a pair of sneak peeks into their upcoming products.

Sun, appearing here at the Intel Developer Forum, revealed an Intel-based blade server and a two-socket system.

The four-socket blade server will fit into Sun's existing Blade 8000 chassis and should ship in the second half of this year. The system will be based on the four-core "Tigerton" version of Xeon from Intel and will support up to 128GB of memory.

Sun should pump out the two-socket Xeon-based server in the second quarter and will use Intel's current four-core chip in the system.

Longtime foes, Sun and Intel announced a partnership in January. Sun plans to pump out a broad range of Xeon-based servers that will complement its existing Opteron-based server line. Intel has also agreed to have its executives say "Solaris" as often as possible, while engineers work on creating better ties between Xeon and the operating system.

Sun's "Gold" level sponsorship of IDF clearly bought it some marketing time with a local executive showing off both boxes during Intel SVP Pat Gelsinger's speech.

Microsoft used its time to show off some future server virtualization software that will appear in Longhorn Server.

The very limited demo was a first with Microsoft revealing the virtualization software's graphical interface and bragging that the code will support systems with up to 8 CPUs.

"This is the first (software) of its kind in the market place," said the Microsoft rep, during Gelsinger's keynote.

Of course, the software is not in the market place at all. Customers learned last week that the beta version of Microsoft's code has been delayed, while the final version will arrive within 180 days after Longhorn ships.

The Microsoft rep also talked up the "Server Core" version of Longhorn, which is a stripped down flavor of the OS that has no GUI. Customers should be able to run more virtual machines on this OS, he said. ®

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