Sun Microsystems and long-time partner Fujitsu on Tuesday introduced a line of co-developed servers that combines mainframe technology with the open-source Solaris 10 operating system.
The product line includes entry-level systems called the T1000 and T2000, which are powered by Sun’s UltraSparc T1 processor, and are repackaged Sun Fire servers. But the midrange M4000 and M5000, and the high-end M8000 and M9000 are brand new and powered by Fujitsu’s new Sparc64 VI processor.
The new systems are "the fastest Sparc-Solaris servers ever," Bob McGaughey, director of enterprise servers for Sun’s Systems Marketing Group, told InformationWeek. The servers deliver a 50% performance boost over comparable Sun servers. The midrange and high-end systems blend Fujitsu’s mainframe technology with Sun Solaris operating system, which is offered under Sun’s open source license.
In general, the lower-end systems are designed for running business applications with large databases, as well as other software such as business intelligence and data warehousing. The higher end systems also can handle back-office applications found in finance, manufacturing, and other industries requiring intensive transaction processing.
Sun, Fujitsu, and Fujitsu Siemens, a joint venture of Fujitsu and the German company Siemens, are selling the new systems. Each seller will use their own logos, and configure the systems based on local markets. The core technology, however, will be the same.
Because of the partnership’s reach, the new systems should have a strong sales organization behind them. Fujitsu is strongest in Japan and Asia Pacific, Fujitsu Siemens is particularly strong in Europe, and Sun has a solid US sales organization.
Nevertheless, the new offerings are sure to have competition from servers sold by Hewlett-Packard and IBM, which also have worldwide operations. A differentiator of the Sun-Fujitsu systems, according to the companies, is the use of Solaris 10, which could appeal to companies favoring the flexibility of open source environments.
Sun is trying to maintain the momentum of last year’s first jump in market share based on sales in five years. The company struggled for years following the dot-com bust. In 2006, Sun increased its share of the server market to 10.8% from 9.6% in 2005, according to Gartner. Revenue in 2006 rose 15.4% to US$5.7 billion. For the overall server market, revenue increased 2% for the year to US$52.7 billion.