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Sun hits new price point for midrange servers

Sun Microsystems' CEO, Scott McNealy, says the company's new family of midrange servers will tear into the markets of high end server competitors.

Sun Microsystems has unveiled its family of Sun Fire midrange systems in the Middle East.

Sun says it is delivering mainframe-type stability and throughput in a new category it calls midframes. The systems come with an entry-level price tag of $75,000.

"It's more bad news for the competition,” said Scott McNealy, Sun Microsystems chairman and CEO. “After a year in which IBM and HP threw everything they could at us, including old products with new names and new products with "super" names, we still took marketshare away from them. This time we're tearing into what those re-branded mainframe makers thought was their safe haven--continuous up time, round-the-clock availability, and investment protection--and bringing it to customers who understand the value of a dollar."

Sun still has some way to go to top the list of world-wide server sales. In the $60.22 billion world-wide server market for 2000, IBM received 23% of the revenue, Sun had 17%, Compaq had 16.5%, HP was fourth with 15%, and Dell Computer was fifth with 6%, according to IDC.

However, Sun was the biggest gainer, according to Hoang Nguyen, senior research analyst at IDC. "The story in the numbers is that Sun is gaining market share," he said. "They moved from No. 4 to No. 2, and their revenue grew year over year by 42%."

The new servers are the cornerstone of Sun's systems, software and new availability environment.

At their core are UltraSPARC III processor, Sun's third-generation 64-bit chip running Solaris 8 Operating Environment.

Systems will be available in several configurations for different applications. The eight-processor Sun Fire 3800 will take aim at data centers, e-mail, and Web applications. The 12-processor Sun Fire 4800 will be a mainframe-class machine geared for application-, compute-, and database-server applications. At the high end, the Star Fire 6800 will scale up to 24 processors and target OLTP, large database, data warehousing, and data-mining applications.

"It's all about availability," said Johann Muller, product manager, Sun Microsystems Middle East Africa. "Starting now, the new measures of midrange computing performance include availability for real world applications and return on investment. The new Sun Fire Midframe is just what our customers in the Middle East need to leverage higher returns from their information technology investments."

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