Sun Claims Performance Lead Over IBM And HP

New UltraSPARC IV+ Processors, the Solaris 10 Operating System Deliver Binary Compatible 'On-the-Fly' Upgrades for Customers With Greater Business Value, Better Return-on-Investment

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Sept. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Sun Microsystems (SUNW) today announced the release of Sun Fire(TM) servers powered by new UltraSPARC IV+(R) processors. Complementing the momentum created by last week's announcement of the new x64 systems code-named "Galaxy", Sun affirmed its place as the world's leading UNIX server vendor(1) by offering customers up to a fivefold increase in performance over previous UltraSPARC processor generations.

These new offerings deliver the industry's only "on the fly" upgrade path that allows customers to leverage the binary compatibility of the UltraSPARC microprocessor and the Solaris Operating System to quickly and easily take advantage of the latest server technology. Upgrading with Sun servers costs half as much as it does with an IBM system and these new systems offer better price/performance than servers using IBM's POWER5 processors and AIX operating system.

"This introduction makes it clear that SPARC and Power are going head-to-head, now that IBM and Dell have de-comitted to Itanium and Hewlett Packard has effectively end-of-lifed HP-UX. And of the two, only SPARC benefits from the features and volume of the open source Solaris 10 operating system, which supports industry-standard servers from Sun as well as IBM, HP and Dell," said Jonathan Schwartz, President of Sun Microsystems.

Available for purchase immediately, the new Sun Fire V490, V890, E2900, E4900 and E6900 servers are powered by 1.5 GHz UltraSPARC IV+ processors and run the most advanced operating system in the world, Solaris 10. Sun also announced a series of world-record benchmarks for performance and scalability that surpasses competing servers from IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

"We're in a new cycle of innovation for SPARC that delivers incredible performance gains," said David Yen, executive vice-president, Sun's Scalable Systems Group. "Scalable high performance processing, combined with the same power consumption, footprint and price as previous generations, make the new Sun Fire servers the ideal platform for server consolidation."

World-Record Benchmarks

The new UltraSPARC IV+ processor based Sun Fire servers deliver up to five times the performance increase over UltraSPARC III systems. Sun also establishes its products as the leader in performance and price/performance as demonstrated by a series of world-record benchmarks (see footnotes):

    --  Sun Fire E4900 server achieved world-record performance for
         SPECjbb2005.  Surprisingly IBM, HP, and Fujitsu have not published
         results on this important new benchmark that demonstrates Java
         server performance.
    --  Sun Fire E6900 server achieved a world record on Manugistics
         Fulfilment on Oracle9i (R) Database and Oracle real application
         clusters, demonstrated a 32% performance advantage and a 2.7x
         price/performance advantage over the IBM p5-590.
    --  The Sun Fire E2900 server achieved an overall world record on IBM's
         own Lotus Domino R6iNotes benchmark, with 34,000 users, producing
         the highest number of NotesMark transactions/min (28,268 N-Mark).
         This result beats the IBM i5-570 in performance by 19% at half the
         price per user.
    --  The Sun Fire V890 server achieved world-record price/performance for
         servers with more than 2 sockets on IBM's Lotus Domino R6iNotes
         benchmark. The Sun Fire V890 delivered 18% better $/user than the
         IBM p5-570 and 49% better performance.

Sun has also proved additional compelling performance comparisons against competitors:

    --  On SPECjbb2000 the 24-way Sun Fire E6900 outperforms 32-way Itanium-
         based HP servers, a 32-way Fujitsu PRIMEPOWER 1500, and a 16-way IBM
         p5-570.
    --  For scientific computing on the LINPACK "N" benchmark, the Sun Fire
         E6900 also outperformed a 1.9GHz IBM p5-570 by 22%.

    New Systems Deliver for Customers

DaimlerChrysler, DoubleClick/Abacus, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Nortel, Oregon State University and Transat A.T., Inc. are just a handful of the many customers who have tested UltraSPARC IV+ and seen performance increases and better ROI with the new systems.

"During the testing activity of our Nortel Wireless Network Management System (W-NMS) using Sun's new Sun Fire V890 server running UltraSPARC IV+ processors, we have noticed significant performance improvements over the previous UltraSPARC III based server," said Alain Barlier, OAM Solution Architect for Nortel. "The same software applications running on old servers have been easily and quickly ported to new servers, with no recompilation. This new system significantly helps Nortel to increase the capacity of our solutions, allowing the management of additional network elements with fewer servers, and therefore, enhancing the value proposition for our own customers."

"A rack of our UltraSPARC III-based servers have now been reduced to the space of a single file cabinet -- with no need to recode or recompile in order to upgrade to Sun's new UltraSPARC IV+ servers," said Chuck Sears, Director, Research Computing, Oregon State University, College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences (COAS).

Oregon State University's COAS department uses Sun technology for a variety of 'grand challenge' applications like weather modeling, global climate simulations and forest fire forecasting.

"We're getting faster performance with the new UltraSPARC IV+ Sun Fire V890 server over our previous UltraSPARC III system that had twice as many processors," continued Sears. "With Sun's rock solid Solaris 10 Operating System and binary compatibility, the system and applications 'just ran' when we installed it. These benefits will help reduce our overall data center management costs, including savings of up to three to five man years associated with code conversion. That translates into serious cost savings for us. Sun's new UltraSPARC IV+ processor line is providing a unique landscape, which can't be compared to anything in the marketplace today."

Innovation Only Sun Can Deliver

The new Sun Fire servers with UltraSPARC IV+ processors are unique in the industry:

    --  Only Sun gives customers the ability to mix-and-match processor
         speeds from different generations at native speeds;
    --  Only Sun provides patented uniboard technology, with up to four
         processors and 32 gigabytes of memory per board:  Customers can
         simply "hotplug" the new uniboards into existing systems and without
         having to swap out their entire system;
    --  Only Sun offers binary compatibility across multiple generations of
         systems using UltraSPARC processors and the Solaris Operating
         System.

    Applications that "Just Run"

"This announcement of yet another no-hassle SPARC system upgrade provides great asset protection to Sun's huge base of applications and customers," said Gordon Haff, senior analyst, Illuminata.

SAS and other leading software vendors have also fine-tuned each of their mission-critical applications to work with the new top-performing Sun Fire servers. Offering a complete enterprise hardware, OS and software package, Sun is also the only enterprise infrastructure company to offer a legal guarantee of binary compatibility to customers for the past five releases of the Solaris Operating System.

Pricing and Availability

The new Sun Fire Servers running the USIV+ processors are immediately available and began shipping in late August. Pricing starts at $30,995(2).

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.

A singular vision -- "The Network Is The Computer"(TM) -- guides Sun in the development of technologies that power the world's most important markets. Sun's philosophy of sharing innovation and building communities is at the forefront of the next wave of computing: the Participation Age. Sun can be found in more than 100 countries and on the Web at sun.com. Subscribe to Sun newswire at http://sun.com/news .

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