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Upgraded Sun server to battle NT

The company upgrades its Enterprise 450 line with the new 400-MHz Ultraspec II chip.

Sun Microsystems will spruce up its Enterprise 450 server line tomorrow with a machine based on its newest 400-MHz UltraSparc II chip.

Sun is positioning the system to compete with the increasingly common Microsoft Windows NT-based servers, according to John Davis, manager for Sun's workgroup-server marketing group. These machines, he said, offer more reliability and better performance while handling more tasks than do NT machines.

The Enterprise 450 machine fits well into environments that already have NT servers, Davis said. Sun offers its servers with Cascade, a technology that gives Solaris NT's file and print services as well as NT administration tools.

The system is good for companies that are moving mission-critical computer functions like database access or enterprise resource planning (ERP) off of the biggest computers and onto smaller servers closer to the employees who use them, Davis said. And for Internet or intranet use, the machine offers the ability to deliver Web pages, he added. Sun has been selling Enterprise 450s with 250-MHz and 300-MHz UltraSparc II processors.

The Enterprise 450 is available with as many as four processors. The basic model, with the 250-MHz chip, costs $14,650. The new 400-MHz model, with 128MB of memory and a 4.2GB hard disk, starts at $21,400. With the introduction of the new model, prices for memory and disk upgrades have been cut, although system and processor prices remain unchanged.

Built into the Enterprise 450 comes with SyMon system monitoring hardware, which lets administrators monitor the server and can predict some types of computer hardware failures before they happen so the faulty parts can be taken out of action before they do any damage.

In addition, the computers come with the Solaris Web Start, a Java-based installation utility that lets people install the Solaris operating system over the network using a Web browser on another machine.