Sun pushes Cobalt server as Microsoft replacement

Sun Microsystems last week trimmed the prices of some products in its Cobalt server appliance line, attempting to pull customers away from Microsoft Corp.

As Microsoft phases out its Windows NT Server 4.0 software, Sun hopes to convince customers to purchase a Cobalt server appliance instead of making the upgrade to a server running Windows 2000 Server software. Sun's server appliances can handle many tasks, such as e-mail serving and Web serving, that are often done with a server running Microsoft's products.

Users previously running the Windows NT Server software will receive as much as a 20 percent discount off the price of the Cobalt Qube 3 professional and business edition appliances, as well as the RaQ4r, RaQ4i and RaQ XTR server appliances, according to a company statement. For example, a Qube 3 Professional Edition product currently listed at US$2,099 will be reduced to $1,679 for users ready to make the switch from Microsoft.

The Cobalt products are designed to remove some of the hassle from basic administration tasks. The appliances come with pre-installed software and can be managed via a Web browser. The Cobalt products also run a tweaked version of Red Hat Inc.'s flavor of the Linux operating system and use Intel Corp.-compatible processors.

Sun has recently said it will expand its Linux strategy by adding to its Cobalt line and coming out with new Linux-based general purpose servers. This marks a shift for the company, as it previously almost exclusively championed its own Solaris operating system and SPARC processors.

Microsoft announced late last year that it would phase out the NT Server 4.0 family of operating systems.

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