Sun to show ‘appliance-like’ servers at Comdex

Sun Microsystems Inc. next month will announce a new version of its Sun LX50 server that will ship with software packages designed to let users make the system work like a server appliance.

The Sun LX50 server was released in August as Sun’s first general-purpose server to run both the Linux and Solaris operating systems. Sun billed the system as a more open extension of its Cobalt line of server appliances that have relatively fixed functions. However, Sun now appears close to marrying its general-purpose server to the concept of its appliance line. It will team with third-party software makers to create versions of the Sun LX50 designed to handle specific tasks, said Peder Ulander, director of marketing for the volume systems products at Sun, in Santa Clara, Calif.

“We are taking the LX50 platform and integrating the OS, tools and products from ISVs (independent software vendors) to create turnkey appliance-like products in the channel,” Ulander said.

Sun President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Scott McNealy will announce the software partnerships and the new version of the Sun LX50 in a keynote address at the Comdex trade show to be held next month in Las Vegas, Ulander said.

Sun was reluctant to provide many details on the new offerings at this time but did say the systems would include Sun’s own middleware applications along with outside software to help users create a specialized server. Sun’s Cobalt appliances are often used to handle firewall, Web serving and application serving tasks.