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IBM-free Sun unwraps Nehalem EP servers

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Both blade servers support Solaris 10 and OpenSolaris, and obviously benefit from the tweaks Sun has made to support the features that have been added with the Nehalems, which Sun did talk about on Nehalem Day two weeks ago. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 and 5, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, and Windows Server 2003 and 2008 are supported on these blades. The X6270 has been certified to run VMware's ESX Server 3.5 hypervisors as well. Pricing on the blades was not available at press time, which is odd considering that they have both been shipping to customers since March.

While Sun is excited about blades, as all the key server makers seem to be, it still does most of its volumes in rack servers. All of the four rack machines announced today by Sun are two-socket boxes, which differ from each other in terms of main memory and peripheral expansion. All of the rack machines are expected to get the flash modules available on the X6275 blade "in the near future".

They can all be equipped with the full range of Xeon 5500 processors, they support the same operating systems as the X6270 blade - the basic Linux, Solaris, and Windows SKUs you would think are necessary - and they all come with Sun's Integrated Lights Out Manager service processors.

The X2270 rack server comes in a 1U form factor and has a dozen memory slots (maxxing out at 96 GB, again using 8GB DIMMs). The chassis has room for four 3.5-inch SATA drives, and Sun is also peddling Intel's 32GB flash-based SSD as alternatives in the box for customers who want to boost I/O performance, lower heat levels, or both. Sun added these SSD modules to its existing Galaxy and Niagara Sparc T series servers back in March. The X2270 has only one peripheral slot, a PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slot, and comes with two Gigabit Ethernet ports. A base X2270 will cost $1,488.

The X4170 is a 1U box, but it shifts to 2.5-inch SAS or SATA drives, of which it can cram eight into the front of the chassis and still have room for a DVD drive. The X4170 also has 18 DDR3 slots, for a max of 144 GB of memory, plus three PCI-Express 2.0 slots - one x16 and two x8 - and a single CompactFlash slot. Customers can add SSDs if they want, too. A base X4170 will cost $2,845.

The X4270 moves up to a 2U chassis that can support up to 16 2.5-inch SAS or SATA disks and boosts networking to four Gigabit Ethernet ports and peripheral expansion to six PCI-Express slots. All are x8 slots, which seems odd. You'd think there would be at least one x16. The base X4270 will sell for $3,445.

The X4275 is basically the same box as the X4270, but it comes with a dozen 3.5-inch SAS or SATA drives, which max out at 12 TB of capacity and which are aimed at media streaming applications where capacity matters. The X4275 has an entry price of $3,645.

The Ultra 27 workstation is a single-socket box using the 130-watt Xeon 3500 series processors. It has six DDR3 memory slots, and is currently only shipping using 2GB DIMMs. It can be equipped with an entry nVidia Quadro FX 380 graphics card, a midrange FX 3800 card, or a high-end FX 5800 card. This workstation has three PCI-Express 2.0 slots (two x16 and one x8) two PCI-Express 1.0 slots (one x8 and one x1), and a legacy PCI slot. It has room for four 3.5-inch SAS or SATA disks, and is certified to run Solaris 10, RHEL 5, Windows Sever 2008, or Windows Vista.

Sun did not announce a single-socket server based on the Xeon 3500 variant of the Nehalem EP chip, but it certainly could. ®

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