Sun Adds Two Entry Servers to the Galaxy Lineup
Published: August 16, 2006
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
The "Santa Rosa" Rev F Opteron processors were announced yesterday by Advanced Micro Devices, and Sun Microsystems continued to build out its "Galaxy" server line with two new entry servers. One employs the Opteron 1000 series processors, which use the AM2 socket. The AM2 socket is really not a Rev F socket at all, but a twist on the 940-pin socket used with Rev E Opterons. The Opteron 1000 series chips do, however, have the DDR2 main memory and AMD-V virtualization technologies of the proper Rev F Opterons. The other machine does in fact use a real Rev F Opteron.
Sun did not, by the way, roll out Rev F Opterons across the entire Galaxy server line yet. The new X4500 and X4600 servers and the 8000 series blade servers that were announced on July 11 use the Rev E Opterons, and the X4100 and X4200 rack-mounted servers from last September still use these older chips, too. But Pradeep Parmar, product line business manager in Sun's Systems Group who handles Opteron-based products, says that Sun will have a Rev F revamp across the Galaxy line "by the fall." He would not be more precise, and this is exactly the same kind of vague information that all of AMD's tier one server partners are giving out.
The new Sun Fire X2100 M2 and X2200 M2 servers are aimed at very specific workloads where performance matters and a lot of high-end features such as redundant power and cooling do not. For high performance computer clusters and Web infrastructure workloads, for instance, server nodes often have the same software and share work, so if one node in the network goes down, the cluster just takes it offline and the remaining machines do the required work. Having redundancy and a complex service processor is legs in a snake in this case. Hence, Sun is launching these two new machines.
The X2100 M2 is a kicker to the existing X2100 1U rack-mounted server from last summer. It supports the dual-core Opteron 1218 (2.6 GHz), 1214 (2.4 GHz), and 1210 (1.8 GHz) variants of the AM2 chips. The motherboard has four DDR2 main memory slots, which support from 512 MB to 8 GB of memory. The X2100 M2 has two hot-plug 3.5-inch SATA-II disks and a disk controller that can mirror or stripe data on these disks. In many cases, says Parmar, customers run these as diskless machines and boot of storage area networks. The machine has four Gigabit Ethernet ports on the board, and has two PCI-Express slots. In a base configuration with the 1.8 GHz Opteron 1210, 512 MB of memory, and no disks costs $945. Solaris 10, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 and 4, Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9, and Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition are supported on the X2100 M2. This machine is available immediately.
The X2200 M2 server, which is a 1U rack model, is a kicker to the X2100, technically, but looks to be a replacement for the X4100 as well. The machine has two sockets on the motherboard, and supports the dual-core Rev F Opteron 2000 series processors, which span from 1.8 GHz to 2.8 GHz. These chips also come in so-called HE, or Highly Efficient, variants, which run at 68 watts instead of 95 watts because they can run at a lower voltage, but it is unclear if Sun will support these Opteron HE variants in the X2200 M2 server. Sun does, however, usually support the Opteron SE, or Special Edition, which is the one that runs at the top speed of 2.8 GHz, but which has a thermal design point of 120 watts instead of 95 watts.
The X2200 M2 board has 16 memory slots, and 1 GB, 2 GB, and 4 GB DIMMs are supported, which means customers can support 32 GB maximum today and will be able to soon support up to 64 GB in this two-socket server. The server has four Gigabit Ethernet ports, two hot-plug SATA-II drives, and supports the same operating systems. A base configuration (presumably with 1 GB of memory, no disk, and one 2 GHz Opteron 2212 dual-core chip) costs $1,595. This machine will be available immediately, too.
As it did with the X2100 last year, Sun will tip the X2100 M2 on its side and create a workstation. In this case, it will be called the Ultra 20 M2 workstation, and it will have a base price of $995, including what Parmar said is $5,000 worth of Sun software and development tools. This stack includes Solaris 10, Sun Studio 11, Sun Java Studio Creator, Sun Java Studio Enterprise, and the NetBeans integrated Development Environment. Sun is bundling this software for free on this Ultra 20 M2 workstation, as it did with the prior Opteron-based Ultra 20 workstation from last year. This new workstation supports the same operating systems as the Galaxy servers, and it also supports up to 8 GB of memory and has two Gigabit Ethernet ports.