Sun Microsystems plans to release a new generation of blade servers that will be positioned to become the dominant form factor in the data centre.
"Blade servers will end up supplanting rack-mount servers over a period of time in the same way that rack-mount servers supplanted tower servers," John Fowler, executive vice president for Sun's Systems Group, said in a meeting with reporters at the company's San Francisco office. "If we get it right, it's a superior choice."
The company declined to give much detail, but one of the forthcoming products is codenamed Andromeda and is scheduled for release within the next three months. Fowler hinted that an eight-socket x64 system could be in the works.
The Sun executive referred to the upcoming blade systems as third-generation technology.
The company started shipping a first-generation x64 product with the B1600, which has since been discontinued. Sun does not currently offer any x64 blade servers.
Current generation blade systems lack longevity, Fowler argued. A typical x64 server lasts about three to four years before it is replaced or recycled. Risc systems such as Sun's Sparc servers run for five to seven years on average.
Increasing server longevity will improve the amortisation of systems, reduce business disruption in the case of down time and make for easier facilities planning.
Sun's forthcoming blade systems will allow system upgrading of memory and processors, and are expected to support the PCI Express Module standard.
This offers a standard way to attach storage devices to blade server systems, allowing customers to use a storage system of their liking.
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