Sun unveils commodity blade servers at last

3 December 2003 Sun Microsystems has unveiled a number of new products at its SunNetwork conference in Berlin, including a low-cost blade server running Linux on Advanced Micro Devices’ (AMD) Intel compatible microprocessors.

The server, called the B100x, was several months late, but will be the first blade server from Sun based on commodity microprocessors, rather than Sun’s own UltraSparc microprocessors.


The B100x uses AMD’s mobile Athlon microprocessors in a bid to keep power consumption and heat dissipation as low as possible. The use of Intel compatible chips will enable users to run either Sun’s own Solaris Unix operating system or Linux.

A more powerful blade server based on AMD’s 64-bit Opteron is slated for early next year. But while versions of Linux for both 32-bit and 64-bit AMD microprocessors are already available, a version of Solaris optimised for Opteron will not be ready until July 2004, admitted Sun’s executive vice president for software, Jonathan Schwartz.

The new blade servers reflect a growing acceptance by Sun of the need to offer products based on cheaper, commodity operating systems and processors, after several years of ambivalence towards the growing momentum of Linux.

Also at the conference, Sun announced its N1 Server Provisioning System, to enable users to deploy applications more quickly, “with grid-like utilization and flexibility”.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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