At the Network Computing conference, computer maker Sun Microsystems announced a new line of Sun Fire x64 servers, codenamed Galaxy. I recently had a chance to see an early demonstration of Galaxy servers. Sun gets extra performance from the product by using the AMD Opteron 280 Special Edition, an early version of AMD’s dual-core Opteron line that runs at 2.4GHz. Galaxy servers also have advanced management features for large-scale deployments.
Sun’s Galaxy servers are based on AMD’s 64-bit processor technology. AMD’s dual-core Opteron processors have similar power requirements to the company's single-core counterparts with the same clock speeds. The highest clock speeds previously available for dual-core Opterons was 2.2GHz. Due to an impressive array of strategically positioned fans, Sun’s Galaxy servers can use a special edition of AMD’s dual-core Opteron processor, the 280, that runs at 2.4GHz and uses 120 watts of power. AMD reports that Opteron 280 processors will be generally available in the standard 95-watt power envelope later this quarter.
The new line of SunFire servers is also designed for manageability. In addition to the system processor, these servers have a service processor that lets users access management functions over the network even when the server is offline. Using Sun’s N1 System Manager software, you can access the server’s console remotely and even make removable media on your networked workstation available to the remote server as if it were in the local CD-ROM or floppy drive. This feature means that an administrator rarely needs to be physically at the server to perform his or work once the cables are plugged in.
-- Adam Carheden