In what is being called a major blow to AMD, Sun Microsystems has announced plans to use microprocessors from Intel. Under the new agreement, Sun will use Intel's Xeon chips to power its x86 servers, and, in exchange, Intel will endorse Sun's Solaris operating system.
Sun's Jonathan Schwartz and Intel's Paul Otellini made the announcement during a news conference in San Francisco on Monday, both calling it a "landmark" partnership, the first ever to put Intel chips into Sun servers.
The move likely will prove important for Intel, which has been trying to get a piece of Sun's server business as the chip market continues to face pressures affecting the Santa Clara, Calif.-based firm's bottom line.
Chips on the Table
Schwartz, president and CEO of Sun Microsystems, said during the press conference that the deal was a "market-changing event" and cited Intel's brand, reach, and momentum as reasons for the alliance.
"This totally changes customers' vision on how they can do business with Sun and Intel," said Schwartz.
Sun executives said the company plans to deliver single-, dual-, and multi-processor servers and workstations with Intel chips. The first Xeon-based systems that support Solaris are expected to start shipping in the first half of 2007.
"This is not just a chip deal," Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel, said during the news conference, which was broadcast live on the Web. "The installed base of Solaris is in a lot of places where Intel is not, such as financial and telco markets," he said.
Both companies expect the alliance to expand the reach of Intel Xeon processors and Solaris systems.
Schwartz said Solaris adoption will be driven by the Intel Xeon processor's significant market presence and, in turn, Solaris will give Intel a broader presence in the data center and in industries that rely on high-performance computing.
The two companies also plan to work on adoption of key enterprise technologies for new Sun systems based on Intel chips. These efforts will include virtualization technology, I/O acceleration technology, and demand-based switching, according to Schwartz.