Feeds

Sun finally crafts proper x86 and SPARC blades

Once, twice, three times a lady

Security for virtualized datacentres

Contrary to public perception, Sun Microsystems does want to play in the mainstream blade server market.

Sun today revealed yet another take on blade systems, showing a compact chassis that holds Opteron-, Xeon- and UltraSPARC T1-based servers. The new Sun Blade 6000 chassis compares favorably with existing systems from blade leaders HP and IBM. More importantly, the chassis should prove much more appealing to the average customer than Sun's hefty Blade 8000 chassis released last year.

"This system is aimed squarely at the volume heart of the blade marketplace," said Sun's server chief John Fowler. "It's a fully functional replacement of what you might expect from a rackmount server."

Customers can slot up to 10 of the dual-socket (x86)/single socket(SPARC) blades in the 10U chassis. The ability to mix x86 and SPARC systems in the chassis could prove attractive to some Sun customers, although the vendor has tried and failed before at the neapolitan approach.

Customers will likely find Sun's take on I/O more impressive. They can purchase off-the-shelf PCI Express adapters that plug into the rear of the Blade 6000 chassis. HP and IBM often require customers to shell out for custom I/O gear to accommodate their proprietary chassis designs. The rivals can also demand up to $30,000 in networking gear alone to have any I/O at all in their boxes.

HP has enjoyed the strongest blade sales of late due to its impressive c-Class chassis design. Customers can squeeze 8 full-height or 16 half-height blades (x86 and Itanium) into the 10U system.

Sun cannot match HP's density but claims an edge where memory and storage are concerned. For example, Sun has made room for 16 DIMMs and 4 HDDs per blade versus 8 DIMMS and 2 HDDs for HP's half-height blades or 12 DIMMs and 4 HHDs for HP's full-height blades. Sun also has twice the I/O.

"We used to have a blade chassis that had more systems and did less," Fowler said. "We learned from experiment."

To Fowler's point, Sun exited the blade market in 2005 after failing to make any meaningful headway with the Sun Fire B1600 chassis. Then, Sun returned to blades last year with hulking 19U and 14U chassis designs that make use of four-socket Opteron-based systems.

So, Sun notably now has three different blade server chassis designs versus one design each from HP and IBM and a single upcoming design, very similar to HP's c-Class, from Dell.

Fowler, however, defended Sun's extravagance. He noted that the larger blade designs were already underway when Sun brought co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim back to the company via its Kealia acquisition. In addition, Sun expects such wide blade adoption that it's willing to go after both the low- and high-ends of the market.

"I am very confident these systems will show returns from an R&D standpoint," Fowler said.

HP and IBM currently own about 80 per cent of the blade server market with a variety of vendors splitting the remaining sales.

Following a launch event later today, Sun will issue more detailed specifications on its new blades. Customers can expect to see the Sun Blade 6000 Modular System chassis and the T6300 (SPARC) blade, the X6250 (quad-core Xeon) blade and the X6220 (Opteron) blade. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future
Or why the reversal of globalisation ain't gonna 'appen
IBM storage revenues sink: 'We are disappointed,' says CEO
Time to put the storage biz up for sale?
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Microsoft and Dell’s cloud in a box: Instant Azure for the data centre
A less painful way to run Microsoft’s private cloud
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.