Sun speeds low end servers

Sun Microsystems Inc. speeded up two of its low-end servers Tuesday, adding some of its latest processor technology to the systems.

Sun, in Santa Clara, California, has boosted the performance of its one-processor Sun Fire V100 server and dual-processor Sun Fire 280R system. The 1U (1.75 inches) high V100 is a rack-mount system targeted at handling lower-end tasks such as e-mail serving and Web hosting, while the bulkier 280R takes up 4U of rack space and crunches data for e-commerce and other business applications.

Both servers fit into the low end of Sun's line where the company has enjoyed some success during a difficult climate for hardware makers, said Laura Finkelstein, group marketing manager for Sun's low-end Sparc/Solaris servers.

The Sun Fire V100 will now ship with either a 550MHz or 650MHz UltraSPARC IIi processor, boosting performance by up to 30 percent over previous systems based on a 500MHz IIe chip, Finkelstein said. The new server starts at US$995 with a 550MHz chip, 256M bytes of memory and a 40G-byte disk, running the Solaris operating system.

The Sun Fire 280R also shows a performance increase over previous models, swapping out a 900MHz UltraSPARC III chip for new 1.015GHz chips. The server ships with a variety of software bundled at no cost, including the Sun One Application Server and the Sun One Studio 4 development tool. With two processors, 2G bytes of memory and two 36G-byte disks the 280R is priced at $19,995, Finkelstein said.

Sun's low-end server line has been a bright spot for the vendor during an a dismal year for hardware companies. Despite heavy pressure from vendors such as Dell Computer Corp., IBM Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co., Sun has been able to gain ground in the single-processor server market.

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