Sun sheds light on new N1 offerings

Sun Microsystems Inc. started the week off with a bang Monday as it introduced an array of products and services designed for its N1 strategy for data centres and networking infrastructure.

The company announced its N1 initiative last September. Monday’s announcements mark the first major release corresponding with the strategy.

On the server side, the now-available offerings include Sun Fire Blade servers, which run the Solaris operating system along with Linux on Sun’s Sparc processors; the Sun Fire V1280, a 12-way rack server; and 1.2GHz UltraSparc III Cu processors for the Sun Fire suite. Sun also announced the N1 Provisioning Server 3.0 Blades Edition, allowing users to build and configure server farms using thin blade servers.

Sun also introduced the Sun StorEdge 3310 network attached storage (NAS) system designed to accommodate blade servers and devices at the network edge, and the StorEdge 3510 FC Array, which complements the Sun Fire V1280 server.

But, all was not hardware and software at the company’s Network Computing 03 Q1 event Monday. Sun debuted its lifecycle services for the data centre to assist customers in deploying and maintaining network computing infrastructure, from initial concept and design through integration, implementation, and production management. Additionally, Sun introduced three new Reference Architectures that it said increase reliability, and speed time to deployment.

“We talked to our customers, we talked to our partners, we talked to the service providers. We found out that we kept coming at them with a couple of million dollars a year of R&D in a piecemeal approach,” said Scott McNealy, Sun chairman, president and CEO. “It became very complicated in trying to figure out how to write software to, how to implement and how to upgrade to these environments. We are so component focused in the computer industry. We decided to simplify to do the integration, the certification and testing around model quarters. It’s not about buying the components; it’s about buying the system.”

McNealy added that Sun is taking a different approach than its competitors in order to integrate Lego block-like components to form systems. The strategy is to solve the problem through its US$500 million R&D investment, which McNealy assured will give customers real prototyping and real testing without the customer spending a penny.

“HP (Co.) and IBM (Corp.’s) strategy is ‘Don’t worry your pretty little head and don’t try this at home,'” he said referring to the services offered by Sun competition. “We weren’t first, we’re just best to market.”

Sun has disclosed it will be lowering prices on new server models by approximately 35 per cent in order to kick start customer demand. Canadian pricing for the Sun Fire Blade platform starts at $3,000. The Sun StorEdge 3310 NAS starts at $33,240 and the Sun Fire V1280 system starts at $133,590. For additional information, visit Sun at