The latest tidbits on Sun deals and product news
"In telecom, there is a need for specific systems, [such as] billing systems [and] switching systems," said Peter Lowber principal analyst at DataPro Information Services Group in Lexington, Mass. "Netra [t 1100] is the first targeted telecom server."
Sun says that modifications to the new t 1100 server will enable easier connections to telecommunications switches and other hardware.
"[Telecommunications] users won't have to fiddle with configuring servers," said Girish Niak, product marketing manager for the Netra t series.
Lowber agreed that such comprehensive packages are one of Sun's strengths.
"Sun has been in the business of offering efficiently packaged severs -- that is what made them successful from the start," Lowber said.
Sun in April 1996 acquired Integrated Micro Products (IMP), a United Kingdom-based maker of computers targeted at the telecommunications industry. Lowber said the new server's improved fault tolerance characteristics were achieved largely with engineering from IMP, which was merged into Sun's Network Products Group.
The t 1100 is intended to do more than provide a network backbone for telecommunications companies, Sun officials said. Industry applications developers also will use the machine to create software to manage tasks germane to communications, such as switching, computerized telephony, voice and data collection, and mediation.
Additionally, Sun says the server received the highest Network Equipment-Building Systems certification from Bellcore (Bell Communications Research), which is a set of hardware-stability and network-integrity standards considered important in telecommunications.
The t 1100 will run on Sun Solaris and sport a single 250 MHz UltraSparc II processor. The computer will be available with 128MB to 2GB of memory. Disks are available to 18.2GB. It will be available in early November; pricing begins at $16,995.
--By David Pendery (Pendery is a correspondent for InfoWorld Electric, a SunWorld affiliate)
Net income for the quarter, which ended Sept. 28, was $108 million, or 27 cents per share, down from earnings of $123 million, or 32 cents per share, for the same quarter last year, Sun officials said.
Excluding non-recurring charges of $52.2 million associated with the acquisitions of Diba Inc. and Integrity Arts Inc., Sun managed to post income of $163 million, up 32 percent from the same quarter last year, officials said. Excluding the one-time charges, earnings per share were 41 cents, up 28 percent over 32 cents per share reported for the year-ago quarter.
Analysts polled by First Call had estimated Sun's earnings at 44 cents a share.
"We didn't achieve the kind of top-line growth we had planned, but we we're not far off our Q1 revenue plan," said Michael Lehman, Sun's chief financial officer, speaking in a teleconference after the results were announced today.
The company's revenues for the quarter were just shy of US$2.1 billion, up 13 percent from revenues of $1.9 billion reported for the same period a year ago.
In terms of products, sales were strong in the high-end desktop and server markets, while sales of low-end workstations fell below plan, Lehman said.
Sun's OEM and licensing programs also fell short of expectations, said Chairman Scott McNealy. "Third party licensing revenues from Java Virtual Machine, JavaOS, [and] chip designs weren't what we might have hoped," he said.
Sales of all products were strongest in the U.S., which accounted for 52 percent of total revenues, while sales in Latin America, Southeast Asia and parts of Europe were below expectations, Lehman said.
Seasonal issues combined with the strength of the dollar against key foreign currencies kept net income lower than it might otherwise have been, Lehman said.
Additionally, the release of Sun's UltraSPARC microprocessor family in the first quarter 1996, boosted income for that quarter, skewing year-over-year comparisons, Lehman said.
"We are satisfied with the results and we feel very well positioned for the future," McNealy concluded.
--James Niccolai, IDG News Service, San Francisco Bureau
A resolution to the dispute could be a long way off, McNealy said. "I think they [Microsoft] will fight this as long and hard as they can fight it," he said, adding that the U.S. legal system often moves in a "very slow manner."
The comments came in a 20-minute presentation followed by questions in a room packed with reporters today in Tokyo. The outspoken Sun head was in town for meetings and to promote Sun's "100 percent Pure Java" initiative.
McNealy would not speculate on when the dispute will end: "I don't know when this will be resolved."
McNealy's comments follow the October 6 charges, filed by Sun in a U.S. district court in California, alleging that Microsoft, by shipping its Internet Explorer product with a noncompatible version of Java, breached its licensing agreement for the programming language and operating environment.
McNealy emphasized that Sun's other 116 Java licensees have exercised their agreements in good faith and that Microsoft likely expected the suit.
"Microsoft knew we had to sue them because they knew they were in breach," he said.
--Rob Guth, IDG News Service, Tokyo bureau
The product sustains a four-node cluster; and it maintains up to 256 CPUs, 256G bytes of memory and 12.8G bytes per second of sustained input/output bandwidth to multiple applications.
With Cluster 2.0, Sun has doubled the amount of nodes it could cluster with its HA 1.3 clustering software.
Sun director of enterprise server product marketing, Andy Ingram, says that the plan is to scale to eight nodes by 1998. By that time clustering capabilities will be baked into the Solaris operating system. Predicts Ingram, "We think that our eight-node [clustering software] will out-perform almost anybody's cluster." Other features planned for the 1998 release include a global cluster file system, the ability to address a cluster as if it were a single entity, and ability to access any device on the cluster from any client.
Ingram says that Sun's aim is to ultimately provide mainframe reliability with its clustering products.
Sun will ship a Java management GUI for Cluster 2.0 in about six to nine months says Ingram. The first rev of this product will be for monitoring only, but Ingram predicts that cluster controls will be added toward the end of 1998.
The Sun Enterprise Cluster offering includes:
The clustering provides inter- and intra-domain failover capabilities working with the Dynamic Systems Domain found within the Sun Starfire server.
Sun's clustering product will be available on the 23rd of this month. The price starts at $2,000 for the software and the Sun NFS agent. Base prices for the Enterprise workgroup server start at $7,495 for one CPU and $893,890 for the Enterprise 10,000 in a 16 CPU configuration. Prices vary depending upon configuration.
--Robert McMillan, SunWorld and Cheri Paquet IDG News Service, San Francisco Bureau
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