Sun Rolls Out Sun Fire[tm] Blade Platform

2/11/2003 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) announced a new solution for network computing the Sun Fire[tm] Blade Platform, and the industry's first blade virtualization solution. Designed from the ground up as the first multi-architecture blade offering, the Sun Fire Blade Platform is the only blade system enabling customers to mix, match and manage Solaris[tm] and Linux operating systems, SPARC® and x86 architectures and special function blades in the same chassis. Sun's first N1 software product, the N1 Provisioning Server 3.0 Blades Edition, also serves as the platform's management environment, enabling IT administrators to manage 20 times the number of servers and slash server farm deployment time from days or weeks to under an hour.

"This isn't just a server built with blades -- the Sun Fire Blade Platform represents a new way of quickly integrating network elements to create a flexible computing environment," said Neil Knox, executive vice president of Sun's Volume Systems Products Group. "Our Blade Platform takes network computing to a new level; incorporating N1 products, storage, network elements, applications and services all designed to speed deployment while reducing cost and complexity. Sun stands apart from competitors by creating a network computer rather than just a bunch of processing blades."

Three years ago, it could take 122 cables, 1,568 watts of power and two days to set up a rack of 32 pizza box-sized servers. Today, with the Sun Fire Blade Platform, one person can have that same compute power up and running in under two hours from loading dock to power on using only two shelves of blades, 12 cables and 650 watts of power. This helps companies equip their operations staff for better efficiency and rolling out new services more rapidly.


Designed for Network Computing
Sun's Blade Platform features an "Intelligent Shelf" with integrated switches and system controllers, customer-replaceable SPARC/Solaris blades and x86/Linux and Solaris general purpose blades, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Proxy and Content Load Balancing special function blades, the N1 Provisioning Server 3.0 Blades Edition, Sun[tm] Open Net Environment (Sun ONE) middleware and Sun[tm] ONE Grid Engine software, Sun StorEdge[tm] 3310 NAS solution, and Sun services including training and worldwide support.

The platform's three rack-unit high Sun Fire B1600 Intelligent Shelf enables users to combine up to 16 general purpose or special function blades. Sun's blades include the first 64-bit SPARC/Solaris enterprise blade, consuming only 18 watts of power, as well as an x86 blade which supports either the Linux or Solaris operating environment and consumes 30-40 watts of power. Both blades can be used side-by-side in the same Intelligent Shelf from Sun. Integrated layer 2 switching and system controllers enable customers to manage general purpose and specialty blades from a single interface with Lights Out Management capabilities. Sun is the first blade vendor to offer special function blades optimized for load balancing and SSL acceleration to help maximize throughput and increase utilization of blades resources.

"Asset Management, and the hosting of business critical applications and data for oil and gas companies around the world, is a key offering for Landmark Graphics," said Michael Weiss, vice president of Data and Application Management for Landmark Graphics. "In order to provide the high performance our customers demand, our network infrastructure must be highly performant and cost effective -- all while maintaining exceptional flexibility and availability. The Sun Fire Blade Platform will help allow Landmark to reduce capital costs through greater density and performance in a rackable system. Sun's blade server platform stands out in terms of density and intelligent design. We have been very pleased with the performance, flexibility and uptime provided by the Sun Fire Blade Platform under highly compute-intensive conditions."

Sun Software Provides First Blade Virtualization Solution, Valuable Middleware
Sun also announced today its first N1 software product, part of the company's multi-platform, multi-vendor operating environment for network computing. The N1 Provisioning Server 3.0 Blades Edition enables customers to rapidly design, configure, provision and scale blade-based server farms. During installation N1 software discovers the blade platform hardware, adds those resources to a pool from which server farms can be built and presents a logical view of the blade platform all via a Graphical User Interface. Unlike other vendors' management methods, the N1 software takes care of details such as hardware allocation, image provisioning and network configuration so IT administrators can design and deploy server farms quickly and easily.

The Sun Fire Blade Platform also includes proven Sun ONE middleware such as Sun ONE Directory Server, Sun ONE Web Server, Sun ONE Application Server, Sun ONE Portal Server and Sun ONE Grid Engine software.

Optimized Storage
The new Sun StorEdge 3310 NAS product is specifically designed to provide easily managed RAID storage for the Sun Fire Blade Platform. Sun's rack-dense, real-estate efficient design provides a combined server/storage offering only five rack units high. The Sun StorEdge 3310 NAS solution has more than three times the density and twice the bandwidth of its nearest competitor, maximizing floor space efficiency and increasing resource allocation.

N1 Blade Platform Starter Pack Gets Customers Running Even Faster
Sun also offers an N1 Blades Starter Pack to help customers deploy the N1 technology in a blade environment. Priced at only $27,000 (U.S. list), the quick-start solution includes blade hardware, N1 software, onsite installation and configuration, remote help desk services, and third-party software in a ready-to-go pack.

New Services for Blade Platforms
Sun's services for Sun Fire Blades help companies quickly and cost-effectively deploy the Sun Fire Blade Platform using the N1 Provisioning Server 3.0 Blades Edition. These services will be available in April 2003, priced according to the configuration. In addition to traditional on-site installation services, Sun's Customer Ready Systems (Sun CRS) program will support large-scale Blade and N1 deployments, by enabling customer configurations to be shipped factory-integrated and tested to meet business needs. The Sun CRS program is available today, and will add support for Sun Fire Blade Platform configurations in April 2003. Pricing will vary with the configuration.

Only Open Platform for Partner Solutions, Special Function Blades
Sun's iForce[sm] Partner Program provides partners with the tools, developer resources and technologies they need to optimize their applications, systems and services for the Sun platform. Sun is the only vendor to offer an enterprise Blade Platform Development kit for Independent Hardware Vendors (IHVs) and is the first Blades vendor to have more than 20 partner applications tested, tuned and available for its Blade Platform. For more information about the iForce Partner Program and Sun's Blade Solution Community see related release, "Sun iForce Community Speeds Customer Time to Service Delivery." These supplement the more than 12,000 proven solutions that run on the Solaris Operating Environment and have built-in Linux compatibility.

New Firewall Reference Architectures Speed Time to Service
Sun has also added a new Security Reference Architecture which provides customers with sizing and implementation guides for deploying secure applications. Sun's new Firewall Reference Architecture has been tested, tuned and documented using the Checkpoint FW1/NG FP3 Solution and the Sun Fire Blade Platform, and helps enable enterprises to define and enforce a single, comprehensive security policy that protects all network resources.

Pricing and Availability
Pricing for the Sun Fire B1600 Intelligent Shelf, which holds up to 16 blades, begins at $4,795 U.S. list. The Sun Fire B100s SPARC Blade begins at $1,795 U.S. list. The Sun StorEdge 3310 NAS product starts at $18,995 U.S. list price. The software license for the N1 Provisioning Server 3.0 Blades Edition is $3,920 U.S. list for one Sun Fire B1600 Intelligent Shelf. All these products will be available in Q2CY03. Sun's Load Balancing and SSL Proxy Specialty Blades will be available later this year.

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision -- "The Network Is The Computer[tm]" -- has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that make the Net work. Sun can be found in more than 100 countries and on the World Wide Web at

Sun, the Sun logo, Sun Microsystems, Sun Fire, Solaris, StorEdge and iForce are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and in other countries. All SPARC trademarks are used under license and are trademarks or registered trademarks of SPARC International, Inc. in the United States and other countries. Products bearing SPARC trademarks are based upon an architecture developed by Sun Microsystems, Inc.

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