A number of sources have said IT vendors Sun and Intel are likely to announce a major deal across a number of product ranges today.

The reports first came to notice after a research analyst’s note suggested Sun was about to start using Intel’s Woodcrest Xeon chip in its x86/x64 Solaris server lines. The Bank of America analyst wrote: "We believe that development is currently taking place at the engineering level, with expectations for volume production sometime in late 2007."

The move was confirmed by sources close to Intel’s rival chipmaker, AMD late last week. Sun has been a major backer of AMD-based systems, but the rumours suggest the deal may force it to share with Intel, covering telecoms-based systems and workstations as well as servers.

This would not be the first time Sun has sold Intel-based appliances, having bought systems vendor Cobalt for $2 billion in 2000. It sold the Intel kit until launching a new x86 AMD-based range of its own.