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Sun releases smaller blade chassis

New Blade 8000 P is a smaller model than its predecessor and is geared for high-performance technical computing. Photo: Sun's latest blade

Sun Microsystems on Tuesday announced its new Sun Blade 8000 P chassis, a smaller model geared for high-performance technical computing.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company's first model, the Sun Blade 8000, measured a whopping 33.25 inches tall, a significant jump over competing products from Hewlett-Packard and IBM. The 8000 P is a more modest 24.5 inches tall and is meant for compute clusters rather than mainstream business computing tasks.

The 8000 P, like its sibling, can accommodate as many as 10 blades, each with four Opteron processors from Advanced Micro Devices, Sun said. However, it has fewer power supplies and a simpler input-output system than the previous model. The 8000 P chassis costs $7,495; the starting price for the four-processor server module is $14,600. The system can be ordered now but won't begin shipping until February, Sun said.

The company is hoping that its blade servers, from the "Galaxy" line of x86 servers, will help it tap into growth markets. In 2007, the machines will accommodate models that use UltraSparc "Niagara" processors, Sun has said.

The Sun launch is one of a host of announcements this week at the SC06 supercomputing conference in Tampa, Fla. Among the others are:

• Linux Networx announced partnerships with several software companies--Abaqus, Ansys, CD-Adapco, CEI and LSTC--to sell its "performance-tuned" LS-P Series of compute clusters. The clusters can be purchased with the software preinstalled and the computers optimized to run it, the company said.

• Silicon Graphics introduced Altix XE1300 compute cluster systems loaded with Intel's Xeon 5300 "Clovertown" quad-core processors. They are expected to be available in the first quarter of 2007. The machines' "Atoka" system boards were co-developed by SGI, Intel and Supermicro Computer, SGI said, and come in rack-mounted systems either 1.75 or 3.5 inches thick.

• Penguin Computing launched new software, Scyld ControlCenter, that will be bundled with its compute clusters. The software is designed to ease management tasks such as monitoring hardware or giving limited administrator privileges to users, the company said.