Sun Goes To Washington With New Offerings

Systems vendor introduces preconfigured rack options for its Opteron-based servers and management offerings as its quarterly road show focuses on government customers.

May 3, 2005

3 Min Read
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Sun Microsystems unveiled a preconfigured rack option for its Opteron-based servers and new management offerings on Tuesday when the computer-systems vendor turned its focus on government customers as its quarterly road show hit Washington, D.C.

"About a year ago we saw that our turnaround was not going to be done by advertising, but with a strategy of winning the hearts and minds of customers industry by industry," says Anil Gadre, executive VP and chief marketing officer for Sun.

Sun hosts quarterly product updates and rollouts. Recent events were held on Wall Street in New York for the financial industry and in Santa Clara, Calif., for the education industry.

The industry focus as been part of Sun's overall effort to reinvigorate the company both financially and technologically, Gadre says.

Through the first three quarters of fiscal year 2005, ended March 27, Sun's revenue was flat compared to the same period a year ago at about $8.1 billion. But it had reduced its losses to $138 million, compared with $1.2 billion in the first three quarters of fiscal 2004.For fiscal 2004, the company posted a loss of $378 million on revenue of $11.1 billion, compared with a loss of $3.4 billion on revenue of $11.4 billion in fiscal year 2003.

Sun has made significant efforts over the past year to turn things around, including bringing Solaris 10 to market and providing an open-source license to more than 1 million users, introducing multiple utility-computing-style platforms, and broadening its server portfolio with x86-based hardware based processors by Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Gadre says. Customers have been particularly receptive to Sun's new message during one-on-one meetings held in conjunction with the quarterly industry-focused programs, he says.

"When you've got a strategy for a turnaround, you've got to follow through with the hard-hitting evidence, and we can show people that Sun is back with a vengeance," Gadre says.

Also Tuesday, Sun is expected to introduce its Sun Connection program, which lets customers create an always-on connection using the Sun Grid. The service allows for continuous benchmarking of the health and performance of IT infrastructure, he says.

New software includes the N1 System Manager, which is a life-cycle-management product for deploying, monitoring, patching, and managing x86-based servers in the Sun Fire product line. The software is designed to let customers manage multiple racks of Sun Fire V20z and Sun Fire V40z systems from a single console.Sun will also offer racks of the Sun Fire servers that will come from the factory preconfigured with switches and disk drives that will allow system administrators to treat the racks as if they were a single computer instead of having to configure the servers separately, Gadre says.

The Sun Grid Rack System will be offered in configurations of 16 or 32 Opteron-based servers that easily can scale to create grids of hundreds or even thousands of servers, he says.

Those offerings and others are part of Sun's new "4X4" approach to allowing customers to achieve economies of sale, Gadre says. Those four principles of design will provide a framework for building data centers faster, he says. The four pillars are service-oriented architecture for driving business processes, a secure network-access platform for secure access, information-life-cycle management for managing data as a service, and a service-optimized data-center platform for optimizing infrastructure for service delivery.

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