Sun's much-hyped Galaxy servers will be shipping in large quantities in "a matter of days", CEO Scott McNealy has promised.

With much fanfare, Sun announced its new Galaxy line of servers in September, saying they'd be available in October. McNealy went so far as to say they were "very critical" to the company. But last week, Sun executives confirmed that the servers weren't yet shipping in volume. McNealy claimed the delay hadn't resulted in any damage to the company.

That set-back is balanced by the fact that Sun's Niagara-based servers will ship earlier than expected before the end of the year, McNealy said. He gave two explanations for the early launch. The degree of difficulty in creating the multi-core and multi-threaded Niagara chip is lower than in trying to push the boundaries of a single threaded chip, he said.

Sun has also used standard software and hardware to make the Niagara servers, including the standard Sparc V9 architecture, Solaris 10, Java and the same hardware as Galaxy, he said. Using such existing components combined with the simplicity of developing the Niagara chips allowed Sun to speed up the production of the product.

Despite efforts to push the Niagara though, the failure of Galaxy servers to appear after the huge publicity effort put behind them is certain to cause doubts about them and Sun itself.