Sun unveils new blade platform

Sun Microsystems has introduced a new blade server platform designed to easily integrate into existing data centers and management systems without requiring proprietary tools.

The Sun Blade 6000 Modular System offers users a choice of blades powered by Sun's UltraSparc T1 processor with CoolThreads technology, Intel Xeon processors or AMD Opteron processors. Users can now implement a broad range of applications'ranging from virtualization, database, Web tier and high-performance computing'on a single common modular design, Sun officials said today in Washington.

Blade servers'chassis with multiple thin, modular circuit boards, or blades, which can be dedicated to single applications'are designed to offer more processing power using less rack space. Each blade can include one or more processors, memory, storage, or network connections. However, they share the chassis' common power- and air-supply resources.

Adoption of blade technology has been slower than anticipated because blade servers have had limited memory, scale, processing power and input/output bandwidth, according to John Fowler, executive vice president with Sun's systems group.

Not only does the Sun Blade 6000 support three processor platforms, it also provides support for Solaris, Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems, Fowler said. The system also sports increased memory capacity and I/O bandwidth, he added. As a result, the system is geared to run virtually any enterprise application, according to Fowler.

The Sun Blade 6000 is also evidence that Sun and Intel plan to make good on promises officials from both companies made in January, according to Nigel Ballard, government marketing manager with Intel. During that joint announcement Intel vowed to support Sun Solaris while Sun officials said the company would use Xeon processors in its X86 line of servers and workstations.

As part of the Sun Blade 6000 announcement, Sun unveiled the Sun Blade X6250 server module: a two-socket quad-core ready blade powered by Quad-Core Intel Xeon processor 5300 series. The blade is Sun's first quad-core based product.

The Sun Blade 6000 could help agencies consolidate servers and run more efficient data centers, said Anthony Robbins, vice president of Sun federal sales.

'Government data centers are full, and there are not a lot of new ones being built,' he said. These facilities are full of older Unix-based systems. The Sun Blade 6000 lets them run Unix code on Solaris, preserving their investment in Unix while helping them move to a new technology, Robbins said.

Besides the Sun Blade X6250 server other models in the series include:
  • Sun Blade 10 RU chassis, which supports up to 10 blades per chassis with up to four chassis per rack.
  • Sun Blade T6300 Server Module: a 1-socket blade powered by an UltraSparc T1 processor with CoolThreads technology.
  • Sun Blade X6220: a 2-sokcet blade powered by second-generation AMD Opteron processors.

In addition, the Sun Blade 6000 uses the industry standard PCI-Express I/O architecture and adapters, which lets users install or replace an I/O module without interfering with systems operation. The blade server also supports most standard interfaces to offer easy integration with existing blade or rackmount management systems.

The Sun Blade 6000 is available now. Entry-level pricing for the Sun Blade 6000 starts at $4,995 for the Sun Blade 6000 Chassis; $5,995 per server module for the Sun Blade T6300; $3,695 per server module for the Sun Blade X6250; and $3,995 per server module for the Sun Blade X6220.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


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