McNealy: Galaxy servers to ship 'in a matter of days'

Announced amid fanfare in September, they were due out last month

Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Galaxy servers will be shipping in large quantities with standard lead times in "a matter of days," Scott McNealy, the company's chairman and CEO, said today at the Gartner ITxpo in Cannes, France.

With much fanfare, Sun announced that its new Galaxy line of servers in September, saying they would be available in October. Sun executives confirmed last week that the servers weren't yet shipping in volume, but McNealy said the delay hadn't resulted in any damage to the company.

That setback is balanced by the fact that Sun's Niagara-based servers will ship this year, earlier than expected, he said. McNealy gave two explanations for the early launch. The degree of difficulty in creating the multicore and multithreaded Niagara chip is lower than in trying to push the boundaries of a single-threaded chip, he said. That contributes to an overall simplicity in designing and debugging the chips compared with other types of processors, McNealy said.

In addition, Sun has used much standard software and hardware to make the Niagara servers, including the standard Sparc V9 architecture, the Solaris 10 operating system, Java and the same hardware as Galaxy. Using those existing components, combined with the simplicity of developing the Niagara chips, allowed Sun to speed up the production of the product, he said.

On an unrelated note, Sun hopes to turn on its Sun Grid Compute Utility, which offers pay-per-use computing cycles and storage capacity, in the U.S. this month. And it hopes to have a similar facility in Europe next year. However, European regulations may require Sun to create grids in multiple geographies, which could raise costs for users, he said.

McNealy also told attendees at the ITxpo that 60% of Sun revenue comes from outside of the U.S. He said Sun doesn't expect to reveal any disappointments in Europe like those from competitor Dell Inc. Dell this month reported that it missed expected earnings for the second quarter in a row and blamed poor performance in the U.K. in part for the downturn.

Sun has made some changes in Europe in recent months. In June, Chief Human Resources Officer Crawford Beveridge added executive vice president and chairman of Sun Europe to his title. Sun gave him the extra duties when it flattened its organization recently, removing a European headquarters in favor of more regional operations, McNealy said. With that change, Beveridge was appointed to steer the European operations because the reorganization left a bit of a void in European leadership, he said.

Furthering its support of international markets, Sun on Friday will open a new facility in St. Petersburg, Russia, McNealy said.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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