Sun tours Canada to promote Galaxy x64 server line

Sun Microsystems Inc. has extended its reach in the 64-bit computing world with the launch of a server line for the enterprise that is faster, smaller, more energy efficient and less expensive than its competition, according to the company.Announced at the recent worldwide launch in New York City, Sun Microsystems of Canada Inc. has been conducting a cross-country tour to launch the 64-bit x86 servers to the Canadian market called “Galaxy.” Powered by Advanced Micro Devices Inc.’s Opteron chip, Sun is touting the servers as the fastest in the world.
“This is a horse race and things will change,” said David Lawler, director of network systems group at Sun Microsystems Inc. “We have the same suppliers as our competition, but we have to architect our product better than others.”
Lawler was one of three presenters at the launch event in Toronto in late October, the third stop on Sun’s Canadian road tour, which hit Vancouver and Calgary before moving on to Montréal and Ottawa.
Sun and AMD, however, need to exercise caution when getting users to make the switch from 32- to 64-bit systems, said Alan Freedman, research director, infrastructure hardware, IDC Canada.
“Sun and AMD have learned their lesson,” said Freedman. “Customers had to make a complete sway in the past.”
With that in mind, Galaxy servers are backwards-compatible, meaning they can run 32-bit code natively on x64 systems, allowing customers to hang on to older applications until they are ready to upgrade. Freedman, however, added that customers will eventually have to adopt 64-bit drivers to see performance improvements in how their applications perform.
Sun is targeting the systems — which include the x2100, the x4100 and the x4200 servers — at enterprise-level customers such as consulting firm EDS Canada. EDS provides mainframe, data centre, help-desk and desktop services, application maintenance and development, business process outsourcing and transformation services to businesses worldwide.
EDS has evolved its services strategy over the years from a custom management module to a leveraged facility in the last couple of years and, now, to the utility model, said David Woelfle, chief architect at EDS Canada. “Our clients want us to take the capital out of the equation,” said Woelfle. “With x64 we now have the opportunity to get to a modular approach to get rid of proprietary systems.”
With the launch of Galaxy, Sun is offering support across multiple platforms other than its own Solaris operating system.
These include Linux distributions from Red Hat and Suse, VMware, and Microsoft Windows. In April 2004, Sun and Microsoft signed an historic 10-year collaboration deal, and have since announced several collaboration projects including single sign on and Web services management.
The systems ship with Sun’s system management software, N1 system manager, which provides provisioning and system manageability.

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