"...Although the technology has only been adopted by a modest
number of users as yet, its possibilities have excited many.
Researcher IDC predicts that the server appliance market will be
worth $12bn by 2004, which no doubt explains why Compaq, Dell, IBM
and Hewlett Packard have all produced or acquired their own
versions, and why many smaller operations such as Right Vision,
Esoft, Extended Systems, Equiinet and, of course, Cobalt have also
developed variations on a theme."
"However, this alone does not explain Sun's keen interest in the
sector. For starters, the supplier is famed for its stance as an
industry maverick. Following the herd down unproven blind alleys is
right out of character for a firm that has doggedly, and
successfully, ploughed its own furrow for years in contented
"But Cobalt represents a notable change of tack for Sun on
other fronts, too. Its hardware is based around Intel-compatible
AMD processors, a first for a vendor that has always relied on the
mettle of its own Sparc technology. Furthermore, Cobalt is a big
Linux supporter, a Unix variant that Sun has hitherto eschewed in
favour of its own more mature Solaris operating system."