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Sun Microsystems Hardware

Sun Announces Its First Laptop 365

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-machine dept.
boarder8925 writes "Enterprise computer maker Sun Microsystems announced its first-ever laptop yesterday, saying the machine was designed to let engineers and scientists perform demanding computer tasks away from their desks. Sun, which has seen sales fall for the last four years, said that it was also lowering prices for some of its computers by up to 40 percent."
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Sun Announces Its First Laptop

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  • Partnering with Sun? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by XorNand (517466) * on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @07:16PM (#12946174)
    Running my own small VAR/intergrator shop, Sun has really piqued my interest recently. Right now, I'm kinda in limbo as far as aligning myself with a server vendor.

    I can't stand dealing with HP on a number of levels, one being how they've handled the Proliant brand of servers. Dell couldn't possiblity have a decent channel partner program since their whole business model is focused on direct sales. IBM is an option, but it's apparent that they're trying to get out of the hardware business and further into the more lucrative services biz. The (obvious) alliance between IBM Global Services and IBM's hardware divisions would make me feel like I'm sleeping with the devil. The big selloff to Lenovo was the real wakeup call for me. And rounding out the bunch: Toshiba seems to only be half interested in playing in the space, and their lackluster offerings reflect that.

    Sun interests me because they have brand recognition and seem to be increasingly investing in the market. Until rather recently, I didn't even know that they sold wintel boxes. However, news such as the release of this notebook further shows their intent on being a contendor. My biggest concern is that Sun gear tends to overly pricey, but if they're addressing that I might just start buying from them. Does anyone have experience with partnering with Sun on the hardware end of things? What kind of reputation do they have? Or can anyone suggest another server vendor that I could investigate? I realize there are a thousand white box vendors out there, but I'm more interested in a mature partner program: coop marketing opportunities, top-notch support resources, etc.
  • $3,400 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by thzinc (679235) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @07:17PM (#12946182) Homepage
    Geez, if they really want to coax developers, they should target the sub-$2,000 developers, though, I'm no marketing genius...
  • by caryw (131578) <`carywiedemann' `at' `gmail.com'> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @07:18PM (#12946190) Homepage
    Sun has never been super keen on the design aspect of the computer world, not that I agree there should even be a design aspect in mind when it comes to computers. I hope they don't expect to put an E450 in a backpack and call it a laptop.

    Any guesses as to how much this behemoth is going to weigh?
    --
    Fairfax Underground: Fairfax County, VA forums and chat [fairfaxunderground.com]
  • oh man .. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by torpor (458) <ibisum.gmail@com> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @07:24PM (#12946236) Homepage Journal
    .. i have, literally, as a computer geek, been praying (not religious) that Sun was going to be doing this.

    well, not actually, just this. that Sun would do it. and then SGI would do it.

    i tell you, it'd make up for the bizaare experience that can only be described as the last 5 years of 'Apple make the only Unix laptop worth a damn' reality bubble distortion field ..

    please, SGI, make us a laptop, put your Linux on it, and make it rock like it should.

    *sniff..
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @07:28PM (#12946269)
    Seriously, it's pretty obvious to the most casual obvserver that SUN is dying (netcraft confirms it!). Let's take a look at the list of their recent thrashings:

    1)Lowering the price on their machines by 40%. Clearly this is the death rattle. A company operating at a loss is a company which won't be operating for very long.

    2)Sleeping with microsoft. When the lamb lies down with the lion, it's very rare for both to rise back up again. I know that when i watched mcnealy smile and joke with ballmer that I was convinced the end was at hand for sun: and given number one, I'd say I've been proven right.

    3)Giving away their crown jewels. Sun recently has taken the very rash and very poorly exected jump onto the open source software bandwagon. Yet, if you look at the fsf web page, you can easily see that 'cuddle' (the sun license; god knows why the came up with yet another one) is as far from free software as you can get!

    These mis-steps and sudden -dare I say desperate- changes in direction point to one, and only one thing: SUN's days are numbered. Time to cash in your stock and cut your losses.
  • Processor? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @07:37PM (#12946330) Homepage Journal
    Didnt mention the processor used. Perhaps a ultraSPARC?

    That would give some of us soon to be ex apple fans somewhere to go, other then just a ix86.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @07:39PM (#12946347)
    My biggest concern is that Sun gear tends to overly pricey, but if they're addressing that I might just start buying from them.

    While Suns tend to be pricey, it's because their built like tanks (both in terms of chasis/frame, and from CPU and internal layout). Like Macs, they're designed to work well, and you have to pay the designers.

    A while ago AnandTech had a review [anandtech.com] on Sun's V40z [sun.com].

    You could also call up Sun and ask them for a loaner. They frequently let let people try out machines for a couple of weeks to run them through their paces. You can get either Solaris or Linux installed. BTW, make you open the box up and look at the internals: they're very well designed from a space, air flow, and maintenance point of view (part of the cost).
  • Re:Sun's Lsat Chance (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DogDude (805747) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @07:59PM (#12946489) Homepage
    Their designs are ugly and clunky on a desktop computer

    It's called retro or "old school". Personally, I like the way they look: the exact opposite of the ultra-slick yuppie Apples. Sun boxes *look* like they mean business, even if some of them are purple.
  • by rpozz (249652) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @08:20PM (#12946602)
    Why buy sun hardware these days when better unix-based OSs and better price-performance are available everywhere else?

    Sun x86 stuff has a pretty good price/performance ratio, and Solaris is a decent OS, especially compared to Linux with the flaky 2.6.x kernel (why the fuck isn't there a 2.7.x for unstable stuff?), poor backwards-compatibility and compatiblity between distros. What are you comparing it to exactly?
  • About That IBM (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @09:07PM (#12946970)
    IBM gets more server revenue than any other vendor in the world and has been gaining marketshare. (So say IDC and Gartner.) Their product line has greater span than anyone, small to large. For example, where else can you buy a zSeries that supports thousands of Linux guests on a single server? And it's the only server vendor that actually does R&D any more -- including server R&D. (See: Cell processor, POWER, millipede storage, UNIX/Linux LPARs, etc., etc.) You don't build multi-billion dollar fab plants (for example) unless you're a serious player. There's absolutely no other server vendor doing that.

    Spinning off the Wintel appliance business -- for a handsome payment -- was brilliant. IBM got rid of that Microsoft Windows OEM preload nonsense that undermined their ability to offer their customers choice. IBM is Linux's biggest corporate benefactor -- and an astonishingly, refreshingly benevolent one. That deserves at least a careful consideration of their products in my book.
  • by ryanov (193048) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @10:35PM (#12947449)
    Sun has been disappointing, to me, in recent months. Being that I attended a lot of the Solaris 10 brouhaha in NJ, I was pretty excited about the prosepects of what it could do, and I had 4 V20z boxes to try it out on.

    Come to find that Sun's own support for Solaris 10 and indeed for Solaris x86 is sad to say the least. Many of their management apps/tools do not support Solaris x86 or Solaris 10 yet. Major issues with, say, disk drives... patches are out for 9, but not for 10 yet. C'mon, folks, get with the program.

    Their hardware's been OK, but frankly, that doesn't make up for the rest of the hell that is dealing with them. Don't get me started on their documentation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @11:35PM (#12947733)
    the parent is an amazingly ignorant post.

    you make it sound like the person buying a sun is going to replace an aging 286 with it or some such.

    no, people buy sun because of rock-sold failover across servers, services, hardware, etc.

    i've seen sun demo their high availability stuff. there are no dells or hps that come even close, or anything on windows, period.

    on a single-server comparison, running a couple of services, on linux, i'm sure you are right. but that's not usually why people buy suns.
  • by Jim_Maryland (718224) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @12:06AM (#12947868)
    I'm sure we could all point out cases where one vendor or the other failed more often in our labs. For servers in my labs, I have a mixture of Sun's, SGI's, Dell's, IBM's (PC, not mainframe), and HP's. Out of all of them, I've had to contact Dell the most for failed hard disk, power supplies, and even the motherboard in one. The Sun's, SGI's, and IBM's seem to have the lowest failures (I'll admit though that many of the systems are over 3 years old so maybe the newer equipment fails more frequently but even on the few new ones, I haven't had any problems in my labs).

    I'll bet that every system administrator here will have a vendor that has let them down and you'll find other system administrators who will swear by that equipment. Me, I still prefer the Sun boxes for UNIX and I'm sort of neutral on the Win32 vendors.

    They fucked up Java

    How so? My group does a fair amount of development in a variety of languages (C/C++/Java/VB/C#/and various scripting languages) and by far, the developers prefer Java. I guess I don't see how Sun messed up Java as you indicate.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 30, 2005 @01:24AM (#12948145)
    I used to despise Sun because the raw environments were completely old school to the point that they still didn't have recursive grep and ksh in vi mode was the default shell. But know I know all the tricks, I love Sun because I feel old school. I thiink this points to a personality disorder. Here's hoping they keep pumping em out just like mum used to make.

    Hopefully they'll give it rock-solid wireless though. If they do, it'll probably attract quite a bit of attention from java developers who don't want to jump through hoops to get unix on a laptop, and who aren't particularly enamoured with aqua.
  • by rpdillon (715137) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @03:13AM (#12948498) Homepage
    Talk about crap.

    Four (4) servers? Are you joking? The plural of "anecdote" isn't "data".

    Don't say someone's post is crap because you have 4 data points.

    At Google, they keep track of how many computers fail PER SECOND in their server rooms. Failure is normal, and unless you're running a few hundred servers of different brands and models, you can't really use your personal experience to say one brand has "fucked up their hardware." Have you even looked at their high end Ultra 20s? Or the new SunFires? Sun makes a pretty decent product these days.

    Oh, and by the way, how did Sun "fuck up Java"? I think I missed that article...
  • by andyr0ck (847274) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @05:21AM (#12948803) Homepage
    being a sys admin in a place where Solaris/SPARC is the platform, i've seen the quality of the machines go down in the last year or so. with the advent of Linux becoming a viable platform, Sun have felt the pinch of cheap x86 boxes and have responded with their own commodity boxes. you can see some of them (sunfire v240 for e.g.) have ALI chipsets in them, etc and other stuff you'd expect to see in x86 kit. i can't say we've had many, if any, components fail in them but we haven't had them longer than approx 18 months so maybe we'll hit the curve soon :-)

    for real Sun engineering, you need to look to the older models, like the sunfire 280R. we run those too and you can see the difference when you open them up. and in the performance.

    my point being; if you look at any of Sun's webcasts, you'll see Jon Schwartz go on about 'the era of commodity computing'. cheaper boxes is Sun's response to that trend. dunno 'bout this laptop, though!
  • by xdroop (4039) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @09:10AM (#12949463) Homepage Journal
    Here's some counter-annecdotal evidence.

    We purchased 40 V60x servers (the 1U equivilent to your V65x) 18 months ago; we also have one V65x, which is statistically uninteresting. We also don't care about RAID.

    Of the 40 V60x servers, I've had one failed mainboard and one ethernet jack that doesn't hold onto its ethernet wire properly. That's it. Oh, and Sun sent a guy to fix the mainboard for me. Regular warrantee, no extra service.

    Of course, since I'm Canadian, I might be more special than you Americans.

    What really annoyed me is that we bought into these computers, and then Sun goes and EOLs them for the Opterons, which are not immediately suitable for what we are doing with them. We are looking at the Opterons, but these V20z systems are rebadged computers, not Genuine Sun Things. (For the record, yes the V60x computers are also rebadged computers, but they work pretty well.)

  • Niagara (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bblfish (683646) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @09:16AM (#12949498) Homepage
    These laptops look interesting. But perhaps they are just the first moves in what may be a Niagara laptop [bblfish.net]? Now that would certainly have my interest!
  • by WidescreenFreak (830043) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @10:10AM (#12949840) Homepage Journal
    "Hello! We're Sun Microsystems! You see that logo? It instills awe in you, doesn't it? You are getting sleepy! Keep staring at the Sun logo. You are getting sleepy. Focus on the logo. Now repeat after me - 'I will pay far more than someone with common sense would pay because of the Sun logo.' Say it. Good. Now, keep repeating it. That's right. Just keep repeating it. Excellent!"

    STARTING at $3,400 for a Sun-branded laptop running at 1.28 GHz.

    Compare that to less than $2,000 for a brand name laptop (pick one) w/ Pentium M 1.8-2.0 GHz, DVD writer, 1 GB RAM, and so forth - and it's very likely that Linux will run just fine on it, perhaps with some drivers.

    Oh, look! I can get a screaming fast 3 GHz Pentium IV system w/ 1 GB RAM, 500 GB drive space, 19" LCD panel, dual-layer DVD writer, Gb Ethernet, etc. starting at ~$1,900 from brand name A. Again, it's very likely that Linux + some drivers will work with this system.

    Compare that to a Sun Blade 150 at 650 MHz, 512 MB of RAM, 80 GB drive, 100 Mb Ethernet, etc that STARTS at a measly $3,400!

    I really wish that Sun would realize that the Sun brand name is no longer sufficient to jack up the prices on their hardware. I honestly don't see this laptop selling any more than it normally would if Sun didn't bring it to the forefront, since us Sun geeks knew about Tadpole for years now.

    Before you think I'm trolling, I'm actually a Sun bigot. I have three Sun workstations at home (yes, home) and I've already contacted my Sun sales rep regarding purchasing the new Ultra 20 [sun.com], (which is actually VERY reasonably priced, particularly for Sun) as a personal workstation for me at home (yes, home). But the simple fact of the matter is that for years I have watched major, international, engineering corporations trade in their Sun workstations for Dell workstations simply because of the price per performance. Sun's continually high prices due to the Sun name has been a pet peeve of mine for over six years.

    When a Sun workstation offers 1/2 to 2/3 the speed at twice the price, the purchasing decision is a no-brainer. This laptop sadly continues that trend. The dot-com bubble is dead. Most companies take a much harder look at the bottom line than before. I don't see how this laptop will sell any more than before, particularly since us Sun geeks have known about Tadpole laptops for many years.

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