Sun is about to launch servers based on AMD dual-core Opterons, in an attempt to boost its flat server business.
The first two products, codenamed "Galaxy", will be released on 12 September, and were first leaked in April this year. They'll be 1U and 2U rack-mounted servers initially, although Sun's President Jonathan Schwartz is also due to announce a 4U product shortly that will appear early in 2006.
The Galaxy range will use the same chassis as Sun's forthcoming servers based on its Niagara processor, which it acquired when it bought Afara Websystems in 2002. They are designed so that components can be easily replaced. For example, IT admins can pull disk drives and power supplies from the box without having to remove it from the rack, and fans can be pulled out almost as simply.
The products were designed by Andy Bechtolsheim, who was acquired by Sun when it bought his company, Kealia, last year. A Sun co-founder and vice president of technology from 1984 to 1995, Bechtolsheim was inter alia chief architect of Sun's workstation product line. Kealia was Bechtolsheim's startup specialising in high throughput, Opteron-based servers and, on acquisition, became the Advanced Systems Technology group within Sun.
The Galaxy range will compete with Xeon-based systems from vendors such as IBM, HP and Dell. It remains to be seen if it will pull Sun's finances out of the red, where they've been for some considerable time. Sources said that the company expects its new products to raise an extra £600 million annually.
The launch will take place at Sun's quarterly Network Computing event, which the company described as an opportunity "to hear directly from top Sun executives on our strategies, innovations, and new products and services".