Sun Microsystems to Use Chips from Intel

by CXOtoday Staff    Jan 22, 2007

Sun Microsystems will use chips from Intel Corp. in some of its servers. Sun, which also makes its own line of Sparc branded processors, will continue to use AMD chips in some of its products.

The deal is likely to be officially announced today. It marks a major design win for Intel, which has been trying to reverse plunging profits and regain market share lost to AMD.

Sun has relied exclusively on AMD to supply server chips based on the popular x86 micro architecture, or design, used in many personal computers and servers, since 2003. Many more customers migrated to AMD, since they found it to be more energy efficient.

AP reports that Intel unveiled a new line of chips based on an upgraded design after losing five percent of the overall computer chip market to AMD.

Intel’s endorsement of Sun’s Solaris operating system is also an important victory for Sun, as many servers that use chips based on the x86 design often run on Linux or Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system.

In a blog, Sumit Dhanda, analyst, Bank of America Securities, notes, Sun Microsystems has had one partner in the low-end server market Advanced Micro Devices. That appears to be changing.

He writes, Our checks indicate that Sun Microsystems will begin using Intel s Xeon processors (previously dubbed Woodcrest) for its fast growing x86/x64 server product lines. Having used exclusively AMD’s Opteron solution for the past 2-3 years due to its performance advantage vs. older Intel’s Xeon products, we believe that Sun has put the wheels in motion to rekindle the relationship it once had with Intel on x86 servers.”

He says development on these Intel-based Sun servers is taking place on the engineering level presently with volume production expected in late 2007.

He acknowledges that Sun is a small player in the x86 server market, but it remains one of the fastest growing suppliers.