LinuxWorld: Sun boosts server power, fortifies Linux desktop

Sun Microsystems has levied a salvo of Linux and server announcements to the masses with the hope of siphoning away some of the popularity of competitors IBM and HP.

BOSTON -- Sun Microsystems Inc. kicked off the LinuxWorld Boston Conference & Expo this week by unveiling a series of performance improvements for its AMD Opteron processor-based x64, 64-bit x86 systems.

Sun says the performance enhancements will soon arrive soon arrive on the Sun Fire V20z server, and the Sun Fire V40z server. The company also unveiled plans to lower pricing points on those two servers and Sun Java Workstations.

A 64-bit processor is a microprocessor with a word size of 64 bits and is a requirement for memory and data intensive applications including computer-aided design programs, database management systems, technical and scientific applications.

Sun also announced this week that it's getting ready to showcase a beta version of its StarOffice 8 software.

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StarOffice, Sun's personal productivity suite includes a word processor, spreadsheet, database, presentation maker, illustrator, schedule management, e-mail and newsgroup component.

Additionally, Sun is releasing the beta version of the Sun Desktop System, the company's first complete enterprise Linux desktop environment.

The news comes in conjunction with AMD's announcement of the Opteron Model 252 and Model 852 processors, which run Solaris 10, Red Hat Linux, Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 (SLES) or the Windows operating system.

Graham Lovell, senior director for x86 servers at Sun said his company has also certified its x64 systems to fully support SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 9 for AMD64, broadening customers' OS choice and increasing the availability of applications for Sun's x64 systems powered by AMD Opteron processors.

Eric Greenwade, chief IT architect at Idaho National Laboratory, said x64 systems powered by the newest AMD Opteron processors ran three to ten times faster that systems running on the older chips.

"That translates to substantial growth in work productivity," Greenwade said.

Lovell said customers can purchase the Sun Fire V20z and Sun Fire V40z servers with AMD Opteron processor Model x44 and x50 for up to a 20% price reduction. The servers start at $2,595 and $6,995, respectively.

Customers can also purchase the Sun Java Workstation W1100z or W2100z with AMD Opteron processors for up to a 22% price reduction. The Sun Java Workstations starts at $1,795 and at $2,595, respectively. The reduced prices for the Sun Java Workstations will be available as of March 8, 2005.

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