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7/26/2004
03:04 PM
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AMD's Opteron Gets Boost From Sun, Microsoft

New products include Opteron-based servers and workstations from Sun that operate on Linux and Windows, and a Beta 2 version of SQL from Microsoft.

Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron processor family received two breakout developments Monday as Sun Microsystems and Microsoft rolled out products based on AMD's high-end 64-bit processor.

Sun announced Opteron-based servers and workstations running Sun's proprietary Solaris OS and Linux while Microsoft unveiled SQL Server 2005 support for the Opteron family.

The products are available immediately -- three configurations from Sun and a Beta 2 version of SQL from Microsoft. "If you're a small to medium-sized business, you can be well satisfied with the 64-bit SQL database running up to 64 GB memory with Sun's four-way processors," said Terry Shannon, publisher of Shannon Knows High Performance Computing, in an interview.

While the two firms -- Sun and Microsoft -- didn't link their Monday announcements, Shannon noted that taken together the two show a roadmap for the future of 64-bit computing. Shannon said the Sun announcement came as no surprise as the firm has indicated in the past that it "would take the Opteron as high as possible."

How high is that? "For sure, 8-ways," said Shannon, adding that he didn't know how high a configuration beyond that could be, although theoretically it could go to 128 ways, which he said would represent a very large enterprise system.

Sun said its three Opteron configurations -- all based on its Solaris x86 OS -- will also operate Linux and Windows through Windows Hardware Qualification List (WHQL) certification. The Sun Fire V40z server comes in 2- and 4-way rack-mount servers. Sun Java Workstations W1100z and W2100z can boot three operating systems from the identical unit, the firm said.

Also unveiled by Sun were its Sun Fire V20z server and Sun Fire V20z Enterprise Essentials Promotions, which feature substantial price reductions over earlier similar iterations of the products. Sun said the new workstations are offered with the most recent release of Java Desktop System operating either Solaris x86 OS or Linux.

As for the Microsoft SQL Server 2005 announcement, the software firm noted that the product will provide users with simultaneous high-performance 32-and 64-bit computing. Microsoft observed that the new AMD offering complements its 64-bit support for its 64-bit Intel Itanium support in SQL Server 2000.

"We invite Beta testers to experience for themselves how AMD64 with Direct Connect Architecture can help eliminate the bottlenecks inherent in a front-side bus and improve overall system performance and efficiency," said AMD in a statement.

Microsoft said the SQL support contains several important enhancements including SQL Server Management Studio -- previously called SQL Server "workbench" -- which is now a single integrated tool combining Enterprise Manager, Query Analyzer and Analysis.

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