RealTime IT News

Sun Bundles x86 Solaris Systems for a Song

Sun Microsystems launched a handful of initiatives Monday designed to promote its talent to run Solaris on x86 systems.

The company is trying to build on its install base of Solaris deployments, which are popular in the telecommunications, financial services, healthcare, and government sectors, but have experienced increased competition from Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and enterprise Linux offerings from Red Hat or SUSE.

During financial statements last week, Sun COO Jonathan Schwartz pointed to Solaris for AMD's Opteron, Intel's Xeon and SPARC processors; the Java platform; and the 64-bit platform, as "some of the industry's most important assets."

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based network computer maker said it will offer annual volume subscription packages in pre-packaged quantities to its to channel and iForce partners. The licenses include services and support for on any mix of 1 to 4 CPU servers in seats of 100, 500 and 2,000 -- nice comfortable amounts that Jack O'Brien, Sun group marketing manager for x86 OS platforms, said are perfect for big enterprise and Web farm deployments.

"We're responding to our customers evaluating Solaris on x86 systems," O'Brien told internetnews.com. "We're seeing customers moving off of free Linux to the expensive per-server pricing of Red Hat and SUSE as well as Microsoft Windows environments. The interest is there and the demand is not tapering off."

The annual subscription rate starts at $50,000 for a 100 unit package and ramps up to as much as $800,000 for the 2,000 unit package. This is a big savings, Sun said, in comparison to a Red Hat Enterprise Linux ES package with 2,000 subscriptions topping out to about $1.6 million, or one year of Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition with support at just over $4.4 million.

The promotion runs through the end of the year and could lock in Sun's price for three years if the customer renews twice before the end of the year -- once for the latest build of Solaris 9 and once for the release of Solaris 10.

To help prime the pump, Sun is also arming its iForce partners with an update to its Secure Web Server Reference Architecture. The software now supports its Sun Fire V20z Opteron processor-based servers running on the Solaris x86 Platform Edition and the Sun Java System Web Server version 6.1. Sun said its partners will now have an easier time assembling and installing pre-tested, pre-integrated Web serving products.

"Basically it's a blueprint that has been tested by Sun complete with a set of how-to with deployment guides and a component list. We know it works and it is scalable because we tested it ourselves," Sun Senior technical marketing manager Dr. Bob Wambaugh told internetnews.com. "What you give up is the pre-integration and the pre-testing. For a customer to go off and build a system on their own would cost even more."

The architecture features the latest encryption technologies, large-scale identity management and role-based access control. Sun also included a configure-to-order Sun Fire V20z Compute Grid rack system to help inspire more sales from its core customers.

Sun has been down this road before tweaking its architecture for its Sun Fire V60x server and Sun Fire B1600 Blade Platform, announced last year.

The company said its customers and iForce partners can use its Sun iForce Centers worldwide take the reference architecture for a test drive using their own environments before purchasing it.