Sun's Galaxy still not widely available

Sun's new line of Galaxy servers are still not widely available, seven weeks after being launched.

Sun Microsystems's highly anticipated "Galaxy" line of servers, unveiled nearly two months ago, are still not shipping in volume, a company executive has confirmed.

Sun had previously said that the servers, called the Sun Fire X2100, X4100, and X4200 would be available in October, but the company is still not shipping them in large volume, said Graham Lovell, senior director for x64 servers.

Right now the company is shipping "tens" of the servers per day, but as it refines the manufacturing process, it expects to greatly increase its capability, Lowell said. "We will be ramping over the next weeks to full production quantities," he said.

The servers can be ordered from Sun's Web site, which advises customers to "call Sun" for information on when the X4100 and X4200 will be delivered. The X2100 ships within "6 business days," Sun's Web site says.

Sun has high hopes for the Galaxy servers, which were designed by Sun cofounder Andy Bechtolsheim, and use Advanced Micro Devices's Opteron processor.

Late last week one financial analyst expressed unease at the prospect of a delay in their roll-out.

"Our channel checks that Sun's new line of x86 'Galaxy' servers are not yet shipping," wrote Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst Toni Sacconaghi in a research note dated Oct. 28. "This is disappointing given the high profile launch Galaxy received seven weeks ago," Sacconaghi added.

Sun's Lovell said that the Galaxy servers had, in fact, begun shipping in October as promised, and now account for about half of Sun's Opteron-based server sales.

Despite the questions about its Galaxy roll-out, Sun did have some good news on its other highly anticipated line of servers this week. The company now says that its first systems to be based on the upcoming "Niagara" processor will begin shipping by the end of this year, slightly earlier than previously expected.

With eight processing cores on each chip, the Niagara systems will be able to process 32 separate tasks at one time, something that will make them ideal for Web services, search engines, and online transactions, according to Sun.

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