Senior executives at Sun Microsystems are seeking to reassure customers about the long-term viability of its high-end Sparc servers, despite admitting that the real growth area is at the low-end market.
Speaking at the company's first ever Sun Network customer event in Europe, senior executives insisted that the tie up with chip manufacturer AMD with its 64bit Opteron processors, announced at Comdex a couple of weeks back, did not signal the end of the company's Sparc range.
Scott McNealy, chairman, president and chief executive at Sun, told delegates: "We are ramping our investment in Sparc around multithreading. With AMD we finally have an x86 product that's worthy of Solaris.
"Sparc is absolutely strategic. We're growing our development in Sparc products. We have to develop the complete lifecycle from the core of the instruction set to the Java card and back again.
"We think we have huge value to add in the Sparc Risc space, and we think AMD is a nice follow-on to the Xeon."
Neil Knox, executive vice president of volume system products at Sun, added: "The customer benefits of using Opteron are investment savings and the ability to run 64bit applications on the same chipset."
Knox explained that Sun was the first vendor to adopt the Opteron chipset across all its product lines, and will begin rolling out products from the first quarter next year.
"We are totally committed to Sparc," he stated. "It's a strategic technology for the company. Opteron bridges 32bit and 64bit. It's just ideal play."
But there are no plans to introduce an 'Opteron Inside' brand to compete with Intel, according to Knox.
"The Sun brand is strong enough," he said. "We see continuing need for high performance, highly scaleable systems."
Meanwhile Sun chief strategy officer Mark Tolliver maintained that the company's focus is on aggressively driving down the cost and complexity of systems, even at the high end.
"We have introduced a game-changing proposition in the way software is sold," he said.
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