Sun, Microsoft & Unisys Launch FUD Sites

April is the cruelest month

Reminding enterprises that April is, indeed, the cruelest month, two FUD sites launched Monday, attacking server platforms. Sun Microsystems Inc. launched a site criticizing rival IBM Corp. while Microsoft Corp. and Unisys Corp. banded together to discredit Unix.

The Sun site, examines the shortcomings of IBM’s NUMA-Q line of Intel servers in a wholly partisan way. NUMA-Q, which uses the Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) architecture instead of the more common Symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP) scheme, is a technology IBM acquired with the purchase of Sequent Computer Systems Inc. in 1999. Up to 64 Intel-based processors can be deployed in a NUMA-Q system. The servers initially ran Windows versions, but IBM in conjunction with the open source community later released Linux kernel patches.

Sun skewers the lack of visibility of NUMA-Q servers in IBM’s product line, pointing to IBM’s announcement of the x430 server a year ago. Although IBM says it has committed to upgrading the platform at least through this year, there is little mention of the servers on its main Intel server Web page.

Announcing the x440 line of modular “brick” servers, IBM’s Jay Bretzmann said the NUMA-Q technology was incorporated into the x440 server. Sun’s site notes the x440 supports fewer processors than the NUMA-Q e410. points readers to a Sun press release announcing its “Project Blue-Away” offering competitive upgrades to NUMA-Q users. Like its initiative to attract Windows NT 4.0 users who are fearful of losing support from Microsoft, Sun targets a community of users who face the prospect of diminishing support and upgrades urging them to move to either Sun Solaris or Cobalt Linux servers.

While Sun targeted a small product line, the Microsoft/Unisys project targets a technology whose tenure and traction in the enterprise is rivaled only by the mainframe. Their site,, attacks Unix, suggesting Windows, particularly Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, is better suited to enterprise needs. (Yes, its OK to laugh.)

It is unclear whether the site’s primary goal is to spread information about Windows in the enterprise or generate sales leads for Unisys. In order to view PDF files of analyst reports on Windows Datacenter, users must first fill in a form with contact information. Sharing personal data is hardly the first hurdle in accessing the site, however.

When the site launched Monday, observant users quickly determined an Apache server running BSD Unix hosted the anti-Unix site. The users used the Netcraft Web server detection tool to discover the site ran on Unix.

Not surprisingly, this revelation detracted from the anti-Unix site’s credibility, and Unisys, which deployed the site, worked quickly to move it to a Windows 2000 server running the Microsoft Web server IIS. The IP addresses revealed Unisys had the site hosted by NTT/Verio Inc.

After the move to Windows, the site experienced severe outages, giving users a “403 Forbidden” error as late as Wednesday afternoon. It is unclear whether the Windows server buckled at the volume of page requests, or, more likely, Unisys closed access to the Verio hosted site, hosted the new site in-house, and the DNS server had yet to populate the domain name with the new IP addresses.

Taking a page from Microsoft’s playbook, Linux enthusiasts from launched their own site yesterday,, which promotes a variety of contemporary Unix flavors, including Linux, Sun’s Solaris, Apples’ OSX, and the notorious BSD.

About the Author

Chris McConnell is Product and Technology Editor for Enterprise Systems.