By William Fellows
Sun Microsystems Inc is marrying its web expertise to its enterprise aspirations in a new datacenter.com campaign for the hearts, minds and back pockets of the mainframe set. At the last minute it scrapped a datacenter.com ‘marriage’ video it had planned to show as just not funny enough. Yesterday in New York Sun managed to wrap up a swathe of new technologies and services – none in themselves very dramatic – in a call to the very biggest IT users not to replace their mainframes with Sun kit, but to buy Sun servers as well. Despite its continued dalliance with Unix versus mainframe MIPS, Sun knows that a user is not going to move a batch process that it has finely tuned over 20 years on a mainframe engine over to a Sun server. Continuing with the mainframe metaphor, what Sun is effectively offering are end of generation kickers for the current Starfire line server line, fitting them with 400MHz UltraSparc IIs ( with a 450MHz crank in the wings) before the next-generation Serengeti servers using the UltraSparc III Cheetah become available. In fact all Sun’s servers except the low-end 5S are available with the 400MHz part. Sun wouldn’t say whether it expects Stafire sales to slow in anticipation of Serengeti, nor whether it would meet its previously stated timetable of shipping the servers by the end of the calendar year. Expect Sun to press Starfire’s XB cross-bar CPU interconnect into use further down the Ultra Enterprise server range as Serengeti rolls out. It is calling the package of technologies and services to enable datacenter.com Genesys. Sun does not own the datacenter.com domain name and is not creating a new web site for it, it says. New software includes a 2.2 cut of its SunCluster mechanism which for the first time supports high- availability and clustering in a single product. Previously they were sold as two items. It can cluster four nodes. The SyMon remote monitoring application co-developed with Halcyon Inc has been integrated with BMC, Enligten, Tivoli and Computer Associates management software, and has been more fully automated. Also new is the A5200 evolution of its A5000 series Fibre Channel storage array for use with Solaris and NT. Leasing programs for the $1m-plus Starfires are now available through the arrangement Sun has cut with GE Capital while Sun’s services unit has fired up a slew of new programs for server consolidation, enterprise server implementation and mainframe/Sun integration. IT chiefs from egghead.com, Lexis Nexis and Chase Manhattan testify that its datacenter.com intentions are sound. Chase is its 1,000th Starfire customer. Chase has 1,300 servers. Sun claims that at 39% annual growth its data center business is growing at twice the average industry rate. It says HP is at 16% and IBM at 13% while the overall rate is 17%. It’s doing more than $1bn revenue on Starfires alone. It claims a Starfire running its NetDynamics web application server software can support 120m transactions per day. It claims to have 43,000 customers doing 24×7 mission critical work.