Sun's "Cherrystone" server drops from tree

Sun Microsystems rounded out its entry-level server line Tuesday with the release of a new four processor system code-named "Cherrystone" and the addition of faster processors to its eight processor V880 system.

After many months of speculation, Sun announced that the new V480 server -- known internally as "Cherrystone" -- is available as a two or four processor server running on 900MHz UltraSPARC III processors. The rack-mount system is 5U (8.75 inches) high and starts just under US$23,000 for a basic configuration. Sun has also made the 900MHz chips available on the eight processor V880 server that was previously sold with 750MHz chips, said Warren Mootrey, director of marketing for Sun's volume systems products group.

"The V480 plays well in application server environments running Sun ONE, BEA (Systems Inc.), and SAP (AG) applications," Mootrey said. "It's also aggressively priced against the competition."

Sun has long battled with IBM Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. with entry-level and midrange servers running versions of the Unix operating system. In addition, IBM, HP and Dell Computer Corp. have strengthened their two processor and four processor servers that use Intel Corp. chips and run either Microsoft Corp.'s Windows or the Linux operating system. Sun is confident it can match rivals on price with the V480 and build on the success of the V880 systems, which have been on sale for some time.

Pricing on the V480 server starts at $22,995 for a system with two 900MHz UltraSPARC IIIs, 4G byes of memory and two 36G byte disks, Mootrey said. A larger system with 4 processors, 16G bytes of memory and two 36G byte disks will be priced at $46,995. Sun ships the systems with its JumpStart technology that lets users install either the Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 operating system.

Sun claims the prices for the new V480 server will cost $1,000 less than competing systems from IBM and Dell. This comparison is for IBM and Dell systems without an operating system, Mootrey said. IBM and Dell were not immediately available for comment.

Later this month, Sun is expected to announce some clustering software packages that will be available on the V480, Mootrey said.

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