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3/27/2007
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Sun's Netra Server Now Runs Windows, Linux, Or Solaris

The Netra X4200 M2, the latest in a product line aimed at the telecom industry, also is Sun's first Network Equipment Building Standard Level 3-certified rack server powered by AMD.

Sun Microsystems on Tuesday introduced a Netra rack server that offers broader operating system support and is powered by AMD Opteron processors.

The Netra X4200 M2, the latest in a product line aimed at the telecom industry, runs Linux, Windows, or Solaris. It's also Sun's first Network Equipment Building Standard Level 3-certified rack server powered by Advanced Micro Devices processors. NEBS is a widely used set of safety, spatial, and environmental design guidelines for U.S. telecommunications equipment.

Based on the Sun Fire X4200 M2 server introduced in October, the new product is the first Netra rack server on the 64-bit, x86 platform. The system is available with Windows, Red Hat's and Novell's Linux distributions, or the Solaris 10 operating system.

In introducing the Netra model, Sun continues its strategy of offering one-stop shopping for any type of server -- rack, blade, or standalone -- with any of the dominant operating systems on a standard x86 platform. In addition, Sun offers the Solaris operating system on an UltraSparc processor. "By adding choices, we're expanding our addressable market," Baljeet Grewal, senior product line manager for Netra Systems, said in an interview.

The Netra X4200 is available with up to four 146-Gbyte SAS drives and supports Sun's new dual-port, multithreaded 10-Gbps Ethernet networking card, which will eventually be added to all the servers in the Netra line. The technology, launched last month, boosts application performance over Sun's older network interfaces.

The new server uses AMD's low-power embedded chipsets, which use 68 watts per dual core. In addition, the product is available to run on AC or DC power sources. The telecom industry uses DC power for backup systems and is looking at extending its use to primary systems, Grewal said. "If at some point these folks decide on all DC power, we'll be in a real good position," she said. "We're looking at it as a growth opportunity for our product line."

In addition, the Netra X4200 will be upgradeable to AMD's quad-core processors, which are scheduled to ship midyear, Grewal said. The two-socket server comes with two dual-core Opteron processors.

Pricing for the Netra X4200 M2 starts at $9,845. Sun plans to ship a one-socket version, which means it can run only one dual-core processor, in May. Starting price is expected to be $6,145.

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