Sun blades got a speed bump Tuesday with the release of the Sun Blade X8420 Server Module, which Sun is describing as the now the fastest blade server on the planet in terms of raw GHz.
Sun also unveiled Sun Refresh Service, a leasing program for blade customers hoping to keep their data centers filled with the latest and greatest server blades from Sun.
The X8420 is the newest component in the Sun Blade 8000 modular systems. It is also the first blade server to contain the AMD Opteron 8000 series processor, and according to Sun is the only blade server to offer 4-socket dual-core 2.8GHz processors. As a result, I/O for the servers is up to 16 times the throughput of competing 4-socket blades and rackmount servers.
Sun is a fairly new entrant in the blade market. It first announced the Sun Blade 8000 Modular System in July 2006. The systems vendor has been a quick study, and its ratio of blades to rackmount and tower servers sold is "rapidly approaching the industry norm," Mike McNerney, director of blades marketing at Sun told ServerWatch.
|The inside of the SunBlade 8000|
Source: Sun Microsystems
Because of its flexibility in terms of I/O and the new PCIe Network Express Modules for InfiniBand and Fibre Channel, the X8420 is aimed at multiple tiers. McNerney described their architecture as being well suited for edge and application deployment.
The new blades are priced from $13,095 per module. They are shipping now.
Sun also announced the Sun Refresh Service at this time. While there's nothing inherently new about leases, the program "strings leases together so customers always have the newest equipment," McNerney said. This takes the onus to upgrade off the customer at least for the duration of the organization's involvement with the subscription service program.
Currently, the subscription service program includes installation of the Sun Blade 8000 modular system with server blades, followed by three refreshes of blades over a 42-month period. Customers receive automatic upgrades to the latest blade architecture as soon as it becomes available. With each refresh, Sun will deliver and install new server modules and pick up the old server modules.
The Sun Refresh Service is available for customers in the United States in monthly, quarterly and annual packages with varying rates.