Sun Fights Back With Chip And Software - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
News

Sun Fights Back With Chip And Software

Vendor reveals plans for new processors and less-costly integrated software

With doubters continuing to raise questions about its long-term prospects, Sun Microsystems last week tried to convince financial and industry analysts that it's still a leader in technology by revealing strategies to revamp its microprocessor lineup and Solaris operating system. At its annual analysts conference, the company said it's developing a next-generation UltraSparc processor that can read multiple threads of information simultaneously and improve application performance on its servers.

Meanwhile, Sun continues to integrate all its software products into Solaris and will begin offering customers within the next 12 months the choice of paying for software based on a flat annual fee, a variable utility-type fee, or the more traditional model of per CPU or per user.

Sun faces increased competition in all parts of its business from Intel's 64-bit Itanium processor line and the growth of Linux as a data-center operating system. To counter the perception that its glory days are past, Sun needs to show that it can close the price gap between its products and those based on Intel's architecture, says Kim Ross, CIO of Nielsen Media Research. "We like Solaris, and we'd rather not be pulled down to that other model," Ross says. "But the initial price/performance comparison for Intel has been compelling."

To keep customers such as Nielsen, Sun last week introduced its Throughput Computing strategy, which will use chip designs from its recent acquisition of Afara Websystems Inc. to produce over the next two years UltraSparc processors that can perform 15 times faster than today's UltraSparc IIi processor. Looking beyond 2005, the company plans to ship chips that can provide up to 30 times the system performance available today on the new UltraSparc III Cu.

"Sun really has let Intel control the message in the processor market," says John Enck, a Gartner VP and research director. "It's good to see them talking back."

Sun also outlined its Project Orion initiative, an integrated software package that initially will include the Sun Open Network Environment. Sun One consists of a directory server, an identity server, an application server, a portal server, and messaging and provisioning software. The company will later add clustering and storage-management software. Sun didn't provide a firm delivery date for either the availability of a fully integrated software product or its usage-based pricing model.

A company with 20,000 employees could expect the cost of the integrated software to be only 10% of what it is to purchase, implement, and integrate the individual apps, Sun says. By cutting such costs, Sun hopes to compete against Microsoft in the small- and midsize-business software market. "In Solaris, we include bundled software," says Andy Ingram, VP of marketing for Sun's processor and network products group. "You start adding up the cost of Intel hardware and software, and you see a better cost comparison because Sun bundles everything together."

Sun executives say their software will cost half the price of Microsoft's and that they'll be able to make additional profits on the sale of hardware products as they attempt to gain share among smaller companies -- a new market for Sun.

The attention Sun garnered from its various processor and software announcements last week is a good sign, analysts say. But the company is hedging its bets on Sparc and Solaris by announcing lower-cost Intel-based products that run Linux. "There's no silver bullet for Sun," Enck says. "It's going to be very difficult for Sun to win new customers on the Sparc and Solaris architecture."

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
Download this report from InformationWeek, in partnership with Dark Reading, to learn more about how today's IT operations teams work with cybersecurity operations, what technologies they are using, and how they communicate and share responsibility--or create risk by failing to do so. Get it now!
Slideshows
10 Ways to Prepare Your IT Organization for the Next Crisis
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  5/20/2020
News
IT Spending Forecast: Unfortunately, It's Going to Hurt
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/15/2020
Commentary
Helping Developers and Enterprises Answer the Skills Dilemma
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  5/19/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Key to Cloud Success: The Right Management
This IT Trend highlights some of the steps IT teams can take to keep their cloud environments running in a safe, efficient manner.
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll