McNealy and Ellison are slated to appear Monday at a news conference in San Francisco to launch new blade servers and IA-32-based systems, according to Sun. "We've been saying for a while we'd broaden our focus on IA-32 beyond blades," says Clark Masters, executive VP for enterprise systems.
Sun also says it cut prices by as much as 25% on some configurations of its 12-way SunFire V1280 server, a rack-mounted computer sold to telecom companies, and for general Web-serving and business-intelligence use. Street pricing now starts at about $50,000 for a four-CPU machine and ranges to about $100,000. Sun has been under pressure to reduce prices from IBM and Hewlett-Packard, which have been cutting prices on RISC/Unix systems while transferring features from high-end machines, says Gordon Haff, an analyst at technology research firm Illuminata. Vendors are adjusting prices on a deal-by-deal basis, he says. "It's a very competitive area."