hpcqSun Microsystems’ recently announced Ultra Enterprise 450 Work Group server is a stiff competitor for Compaq’s ProLiant servers. The Enterprise 450 levels the cost-of-ownership issue against Windows NT/Intel (Wintel) servers, offers better performance, supports PC-client environments, and offers the resiliency of Solaris and scalability across Sun’s Enterprise server product line (which supports up to 64 processors in a symmetric multiprocessor/server configuration). Compaq’s ProLiant 7000 (see article, next page) is strategically positioned against the 450, but Sun’s 450 announcement is a bold strike against Wintel.

The Enterprise 450 is a robust midrange server. It supports up to four UltraSparc II processors, which use Sun’s UPA system bus; it has a peak speed of 1.78 GBps. This compares with 540 MBps for Intel’s Pentium Pro. A fast system bus lets multiple processors access memory faster, providing more efficient symmetrical multiprocessing.

The Enterprise 450’s I/O architecture is based on the PCI bus: It has six PCI buses, including three 66-MHz PCI buses, …