Sun Microsystems is betting on the expansion and success of open source, the need to conserve space, and the desire to keep energy costs down, as it delivers thousands of new servers and releases its UltraSparc T1 processor code.
The company is trying to come from behind to beat its competitors with its new Sun Fire T1000 and T200 servers with CoolThreads technology. Sun touted the products as the world's first eco-responsible servers and promised they will set new standards for efficiency. The company also introduced the world's first metric for performance efficiency Tuesday during its quarterly Network Computing event at the Equitable Center in New York.
Chairman and CEO Scott McNealy acknowledged that Sun seemed to suffer more than its competitors from the dot com bust but promised to come out on top as the Internet.next, or Web 2.0, era flourishes over the next decade.
"During the bubble, we were cool," he said. "We had the right alligator or horsey on our shirt. Then after a while, Dell was the cool shirt to wear. It was amazing to me to see how many customers were fashion-conscious. We were pretty clearly labeled the dot in the dot com bust. We do want to get fashionable again, and we think we're on target to make that happen."
Pointing out that real estate prices in midtown Manhattan are $54 per square foot, he illustrated how Sun plans to capitalize on the increasing need for space efficiency. David Yen, vice president of Sun's Scalable Systems Group drove that point home by presenting the company's new servers as an early holiday gift.
Prices start just under $3,000. Yen said the servers promise five times the performance with one fifth the power use and one quarter of the space. They run on the Solaris operating system and are available with up to eight 1.2 GHz cores. By releasing code for the chip, Sun hopes to promote development for Web-based applications. McNealy said he wouldn't go into greater detail until Sun is sure it's got the right model and governance strategies, which was the case with Java and Unix-related innovations.
"This is going to bend a lot of brains out there," he said.
Open source expert Tim O'Reilly said the moved would build volume and called it "a rule-breaking, maverick kind of move for this company."
The company also boasts of being well positioned as the market continues to embrace Java and grid computing.
John Thompson from Semantic said that the line between consumers and enterprise users is beginning to blur and that people are coming to expect technology to be available virtually everywhere.
e-Bay is among the 100 customers testing the servers to make sure they meet growing demands.
If that's not enough, Sun is offering $50,000 to the winner of its CoolThreads Challenge, a contest designed to promote new applications or improvements on existing applications for optimal performance and scaling with the CoolThreads servers.