Sun broke tradition last week by shipping an AMD Opteron-based server.Like IBM, which introduced the AMD Opteron-based eServer x325 in July, Sun says its Opteron server is designed for high-performance technical computing, Web or application serving, database management and grid computing.Sun\u2019s announcement that it is going to use the Opteron may be enough to swing the tide away from Intel. Already, Gartner has predicted that HP\u2019s rumored move to Opteron will spur the industry into looking at Opteron as an alternative to Intel\u2019s Xeon and Itanium processors.Further, Gartner believes HP\u2019s adoption of Opteron would force IBM to broaden its commitment to AMD processors and make Dell re-evaluate the technology. Dell evaluated Opteron, but decided to stay with Intel processors, at least for the short term.Gartner also says HP\u2019s adoption of the Opteron processor could finally provoke Intel into playing \u201cits hand regarding its rumored \u2018Yamhill\u2019 technology, which like Opteron, is allegedly a 32-bit processor with 64-bit extensions.\u201d At the Intel Developer Forum this week, Craig Barrett is supposed to address the x86-64 issue.The Sun Fire v20z ships with up to two AMD Opteron 200 Series processors, as much as 16G bytes of memory and two Ultra 320 SCSI disks. It also has two 10\/100\/1000M bit\/sec Ethernet ports and two PCI-X slots. It is a 1U high rack-mount server. It has 1M byte of Level 2 cache to increase performance.The v20z runs the Solaris 9 Operating System x86 Platform Edition and SuSE and Red Hat Linux. Users may also run Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003 on the v20z. It supports SNMP and the Intelligent Platform Management Interface, which monitors components such as fans, CPU and voltage.The server can be clustered with InfiniBand products or with Myricom\u2019s Myrinet.A feature called Lights Out Management monitors system and component status and reports any failures to a system administrator.The v20z is the first Opteron-based server Sun has added to its x86 family of low-end servers. The company also uses the AMD Athlon processor for its B100x Blade Server. Intel processor-based servers fill out the remainder of its x86-based line.The new server is available now starting at $2,800 for a single-processor model.