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Sun To Add Blade Servers To Galaxy Line

A planned expansion of Sun Microsystems' Galaxy platform of x86-based servers scheduled for midyear will include a blade option, returning the company to a fast-growing market it exited two years ago.

The new line of Galaxy servers, first introduced by Sun in September, will expand the platform to include an eight-socket version as well as a new blade server, says John Fowler, executive VP of Sun's Network Systems Group.

The new Galaxy blade server will allow Sun to re-enter the blade server market that's currently dominated by Dell, Egenera, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM. Sun introduced its first x86-based blade server in 2002 with a design that used an Intel Xeon processor. It later withdrew support for the platform. Since then the blade server market has begun to grow more rapidly.

The Galaxy server platform was created by Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim, who returned to Sun in 2004 to head up the Galaxy effort. Sun introduced three versions of the server in September in one- and two-socket rack deployments.

The new eight-socket Galaxy systems are already in use in several test sites, including at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, which has created a supercomputing grid of more than 5,000 dual-core Opteron processors from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. based on a network of the eight-socket Galaxy servers. By using eight dual-core Opteron processors in each server, Sun is able to effectively create a 16-way server platform.

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