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Report Says Sun Plans to Go with Opteron Blade

Report Says Sun Plans to Go with Opteron Blade

Next month Sun Microsystems plans to introduce a new family of x86-only blade servers code named Grizzly, according to a source familiar with the project. Grizzly was initially supposed to be a two-way Xeon white box blade server but is now reportedly supposed to use AMD's 32/64-bit hybrid Opteron chip as well, despite an official Sun statement issued when the Opteron launched on April 22 claiming that it was sticking to its Sparc knitting and denying that there was any move afoot to use the Opteron in either its x86-based LX-50 entry-level Linux box or its Sun Fire x86 blade servers.

As a point of plausible deniability, the x86 blade server is supposed to be Sun's new LV family.

Sun, which has been cheering the Opteron on from the sidelines, also said on April 22 that it was continuing to evaluate the Opteron to see if it was a good fit for future entry-level products and that it was working with AMD to support its 32-bit Solaris x86, Java and the Sun ONE software stack on the chip.

The fact that Sun is apparently using the same code name for what would be two different systems and SKUs has got some people scratching their head.

Supposedly Sun's Opteron box is currently floating around the industry.

The Grizzly is supposed to carry Red Hat 9, the consumer and freebie product, and there's talk of SuSE too, but Sun, in line with its expected new positioning, is reportedly conceiving of the Grizzly chiefly as a Solaris x86 platform although there's no telling whether Sun and its software will support Opteron's 64-bit extensions at this point.

What with Dell eating into Sun's Unix sales, Sun has reportedly cast Dell more than IBM as its primary enemy and although the introduction of more x86 boxes jeopardizes its Sparc line Sun is hoping to avoid losing the low-end business altogether. Grizzly is supposed to lower the price point against Dell and help salvage the low-end sweet spot where Sun has made most of its money.

If true, a Sun win for Opteron is of course a coup for AMD, which got IBM to turn up at the Opteron launch promising to put out what is believed will be a two-processor Opteron box later this year. There was disappointed speculation that Sun might turn up at the Opteron launch too.

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More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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