You have to hand it to Sun Microsystems. Just as most of the industry was writing the company off as a technical has-been, it launches a new Sun Blade sporting an innovative new architecture that promises faster throughput and greater scalability than comparable systems on the market.
And while that may be impressive enough, the company goes one better by devising a hardware upgrade scheme that strives to keep customers outfitted with the latest gear as soon as it comes out.
Faster chip sets are always welcome, of course, but what really piques our interest is the new Sun Blade X8420's I/O setup, which does away with the mezzanine-level management structure of most blade systems. You know, the one with multiple network cards to connect the blade to all manner of storage and switching mechanisms. With the Sun Blade, you get virtual I/O that connects to a single backplane that can be tied to any peripheral or network link. The only drawback is a more-than-slightly larger chassis, 19 RU.
Couple this with Sun's Refresh Service, which provides the latest versions of the system's original processors (not new processors, mind you), and Sun users should find themselves in a healthy network environment for at least the next four years.