May 14, 2002

Sun introduces new Linux-powered Cobalt server

- By Grant Gross -

Sun Microsystems announces a higher-end addition to its Cobalt line of Linux-powered servers today: up to a 1.26 GHz Pentium processor, two 80-gig hard drives and 2 gigs of SDRAM aimed at small to medium enterprises.
The RaQ 550, with an updated easily configurable Web-based GUI similar to the ones offered on other Cobalt models, will be available June 10 with a price tag of $1,699 to $2,899, depending on the configuration of the machine. The goal of the Web interface is "extreme ease of use."

Glenn Jacklyn, product manager for the RaQ 550, says the edge server is aimed at smaller enterprises using Windows NT boxes. The RaQ 550 will have the Linux 2.4 kernel, the XFS journaling file system, the Apache webserver, and an active monitoring feature for the system. The boxes will also include port-scan detection and buffer overflow protection. Jacklyn also talks up the machine's "tool-free" cover removal.

Jacklyn says the Cobalt team isn't hearing a lot of concerns from companies considering a switch to Linux; instead, companies are asking about how they can avoid Windows' famous security problems. Questions about Linux itself are few, he says.

Mark Melenovsky, the research manager in the server group at IDC says the new higher powered Cobalt server is a positive step for Sun, although the company will still have stiff price competition from companies such as Dell.

With the new RaQ 550, Sun should still spark interest among companies looking for easily configurable servers, Melenovsky says. "I think increasingly the Compaqs and Dells of the world are addressing that," he adds. "But Cobalt should still ride that wave a for a little bit."

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