SUN BETS ON “CHEETAH” IN NET RACE

September 22, 2000

COMMERCIAL NEWS

New York, N.Y. — Peter Galli reports that Sun Microsystems Inc. will look to reassert itself as the king of Internet infrastructure next week when it launches its long-delayed UltraSPARC III processor and a range of systems sporting the new chip.

At an event at New York’s Lincoln Center, Sun President and Chief Operating Officer Ed Zander will detail the company’s new Net Effect strategy, along with products the company hopes will keep it at the head of the pack in the high-end server market in the face of significant threats from competitors.

A Sun spokeswoman declined to comment ahead of the event. How ever, sources close to the Palo Alto, Calif., company said the UltraSPARC III processor, code-named Cheetah, and the processor’s future road map will be at the core of the Sept. 27 announcement.

At the event, Sun will showcase the first UltraSPARC III desktop and server. The one-processor, rack- mount ed server, which is based on a new architecture code-named Serengeti, will target the low end of the market, while all new servers should be shipped by the end of April 2001, sources said.

In addition, Sun will stress new services and a range of breakaway strategies for technical computing and the service provider market. A second- generation interconnect to be featured at the event operates at 9.6G bps per address request, according to sources familiar with Sun’s plans.

The UltraSPARC III is expected to resolve workload balancing problems that have affected some sites using Sun’s existing high-end server, the E10000 system known as Starfire.

“The Net Effect strategy is built around the three issues Zander always talks aboutmassive scalability, continuous up-time and integrated stacks,” said a source who requested anonymity. “This announcement is the living, breathing starting point of delivering on that visionand UltraSPARC III is the hook he will be hanging all of this off of.”

While hosted environments play a large role in Sun’s Net economy vision, they’re just one aspect of the company’s strategy, said George Elling, an analyst at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., in New York. Rivals IBM, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Microsoft Corp. have realized that, to capture an important part of the enterprise market, they must have a full line of products from the low to the high end, Elling added.

All three companies are hoping to win an even greater slice of the e-business pie with new hardware and software primarily targeted at dot-com customers and their service providers. This new breed of business client is also the driving force behind the rash of announcements recently made and to come in the next two weeks.

Sun’s Net Effect strategy is scheduled to be detailed just one day after Microsoft’s Enterprise 2000 event in San Francisco, where the Redmond, Wash., com pany will launch a new round of Windows 2000 server applications as part of its .Net strategy.

HP last week launched Superdome, its most powerful high-end Unix server to date, while IBM is believed to be preparing to roll out the successor to its current RS/6000 S80 Unix high-end servers.

Sun’s release of the Cheetah chip, a 64-bit RISC processor clocked at 750MHz, should help reassert its dominance in the Unix server market, observers said.

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