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Sun's Opteron Push Adds Fuel To Server Growth

Sun Microsystems' introduction of four-way Opteron servers comes at a time when the company is experiencing one of the highest growth rates of any server vendor, at least in terms of units.

A preliminary report on second-quarter 2004 server sales by research firm Gartner Dataquest shows Sun's year-to-year server volume growth at 35.5 percent, which outpaced all other tracked vendors and topped the 24.6 percent growth rate for the overall market, Sun executives said. In addition, Sun is the only vendor in the top five that had double-digit growth in terms of server volume on a year-over-year and a quarter-over-quarter basis, executives said.

One reason for Sun's fast server growth may be its development of entry-level servers aimed at markets targeted by rivals such as Dell. On Monday, Sun unveiled its long-expected four-way Opteron server offering: the Sun Fire V40z line, which starts at $8,495 for a two-way base model, said John Fowler, executive vice president in Sun's Network Systems Group. The company also upgraded the performance and cut the price of its Sun Fire V20z two-way Opteron servers and introduced two workstations based on Opteron processors and Nvidia graphics technology.

Along with the new pricing on the two-way Opteron servers, Sun is offering a subscription service in which the total cost of the server hardware--plus three years of Solaris software and services--is 40 percent lower than for a similarly configured Dell server, Fowler said.

"Since we own Solaris and can price it however we want, we are able to offer it 40 percent cheaper than a comparable Dell server with Red Hat Linux," Fowler said.

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