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 “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

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 “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.

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