Subscribe to Sun Hardware?

When Sun reentered the blade market last year it promised to bring new value to the market
and not another me-too offering. That strategy continues with today’s
announcement of a unique hardware subscription service for the Sun Blade
X8420 system.

Sun (Quote)said the subscription service is for
customers who want the latest, most powerful processors for growing
businesses, where they expect demands on the data center to grow steadily. A
42-month subscription contract includes the Sun Blade 8000 modular system
and three hardware refreshes to the latest and fastest AMD Opteron processors.

The Sun Blade X8420 has an entry level price of $13,095 per server
module. Powered by the AMD Opteron 8000 series of processors, the X8420
features 4-socket dual-core 2.8 GHz processors and I/O Sun claims has 16
times the throughput of competing 4-socket blade and rackmount servers.

“The ability to do this is in a blade system instead of a box [server] is
pretty compelling and seamless,” Mike McNerney, director of Blades marketing
at Sun told “This is half the cost of what you’d
pay if you bought the upgrades separately.”

Still, McNerney readily conceded the subscription commitment isn’t for
everyone. “There is certainly a target customer, we don’t think they all
want to do this.”

But, McNerney said the program enables a more strategic, longer term
discussion with customers about their growth plans. “Instead of always
pitching what the hottest box is, we can talk about their growth and plans
or need to be able to scale,” said McNerney.

The subscription might also be
an alternative to the ‘buy a system and depreciate it’ syndrome McNerney
said companies have become addicted to, which can involve a complicated
procurement cycle.

IDC analyst Jean Bozman thinks Sun is taking the technology refresh idea
to the next level. “This is aimed at folks growing their data center rapidly
who need the latest and greatest processors,” Bozman told “It guarantees that top performance and it gives
Sun a measure of predictability of ongoing demand.”

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