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News about SPARC systems and related companies

2001, March week 3

Solid State SAN from Curtis
Solid State Nitro-eSAN
from Curtis
See also:- Squeak! - The 10 biggest storage companies in 2003...
current SPARC news, earlier SPARC news, Events & trade shows - STORAGE, Rackmount SPARC systems
on other sites:- Solaris Central - news , SPARC-FLASH, STORAGEsearch - news

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Sun Microsystems Sun's New Entry Level HA Servers

PALO ALTO, CA - March 21, 2001 - In one of the largest technology unveilings in its history, Sun Microsystems, Inc., answers the "availability is everything" call by introducing the highly-anticipated Sun Fire servers. The new systems redefine the profile of traditional midrange servers and challenge the conventional economics of uptime with prices that start below $75,000. With this new arsenal of systems, Sun increases the competitive pressure on HP, IBM and Compaq and is poised to widen its existing marketshare gap and capture more of the $60 billion server market.

The foundation for these Midframe systems is breakthrough technology and a next-generation, balanced system design that delivers mainframe-class functionality. Design innovations such as redundant component interconnection technology, the ability to dynamically split one system into multiple systems, duplicate hardware components, and "on-the-fly" processor upgrades -once unheard of in this class of system - are standard features.

Scott McNealy, Sun Microsystems chairman and CEO said, "It's more bad news for the competition. After a year in which IBM and HP threw everything they could at us, including old products with new names and new products with "super" names, we still took marketshare away from them. This time we're tearing into what those re-branded mainframe makers thought was their safe haven- continuous up time, round-the-clock availability, and investment protection-and bringing it to customers who understand the value of a dollar."

Sun claims that its Sun Fire systems are the only servers in this new class to offer online upgradability, which further contributes to maximum uptime. "Hot" CPU upgrades, I/O and memory upgrades, and the ability to modify core components of the Solaris Operating Environment will create shorter maintenance windows, which lead to higher uptime and service levels. In addition, the systems allow for concurrent maintenance, enabling repairs while the system - and applications - are up and running.

Starting prices for the new Sun Fire server family are as follows:
  • A Sun Fire 3800 server with 2-CPUs (750MHz), 2GBytes of memory US$73,195.
  • A Sun Fire 4800 server with 2 CPUs(750MHz), 2GBytes of memory US$129,995.
  • A Sun Fire 4810 rackable server with 2 CPUs(750MHz), 2GBytes of memory US$129,995.
  • A Sun Fire 6800 with 2 CPUs(750MHz), 2GBytes of memory US$250,995.
All Sun servers come standard with the Solaris Operating Environment. The systems are shipping today. ...Sun Microsystems profile

Editor's note:- when Sun acquired fault tolerant SPARC manufacturer IMP in 1996, that class of high availability architecture was pretty rare. Today, as regular readers of this directory know, many of the manufacturers which make rackmount SPARC systems also offer High Availability SPARC products, and Sun's product announcement is really a catching up exercise with what other SPARC companies have been doing for quite a long time as they devise architectures to satisfy the needs of telcos and ISP's who need systems which are virtually failure free. Sun's CPU clock rates are a bit higher than some of the more established HA products from other sources, but that's a short term performance advantage. You can be sure that this is going to be a big market.
Sun's New Entry Level HA Servers

Force and Znyx Partner to Provide Leading-Edge Compact Packet-Switching Backplane Platforms

Beware Rogue Web Site -

Sun Delivers First in a Family of Plug and Play Cluster Configurations

GNP Announces Record Growth for 2000 and Strengthens Corporate Management Team with Addition of New Chief Financial Officer

Ideal Hardware Forms Partnership with Sun Microsystems UK

Old Computer Directories May be Worth $1,000

earlier news - archive
Blue Suede Shoes
Audio Interfaces
SPARC Product Directory
There's nothing like a bunch of drunk goblins at a karaoke night singing "Blue suede shoes" to get you in the mood for a party. Unfortunately cocks have a limited range when it comes to singing, and whatever they sing always seems to come out more like "Cock a doodle doo."
View from the Hill

Where have all the Sun User Groups Gone?

When we first published this directory in 1992, Sun User Groups were at the height of their powers. They published magazines. They ran events. They really mattered. Since then, they have mostly gone bust or collapsed from user apathy. So most of the information which used to be listed on our user group page has become obsolete.

Why did they disappear? There are several possible reasons...
  • the web provided pretty much the same kind of information about Sun products and support issues, which were previously the remit of user groups. There was no need to pay money to belong to a user group, when other sources of SPARC info could provide this information quicker, and free.
  • Sun found that focus groups were a much more effective way of getting feedback from users, and so scaled down its financial support for user groups which mainly consisted of a skewed sample of academics and other people who were not representative of the business and commercial users in the fastest growing strategic markets for SPARC.
  • the Sun compatible market became so large, that there was no longer a need for unfocused users groups, which tried to do everything (often badly). SPARC products were everywhere, and if you needed specialised training or independent repair and maintenance services, there were plenty of commercial organizations out there which could help you.
  • Sun User Group's were typically run by committees which might take as much as 6 months to make simple decisions which a commercial company would get done in 5 minutes. When your overheads are being paid by someone else, and there's no pressure to get things done, the organization just becomes a talking shop... and the web has millions of those, which don't ask Sun for a handout...
  • Nowadays manufacturers and resellers can use much more sophisticated techniques based on CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software and training. They can do this from their own web sites, and they don't need intermediaries to interfere with the communication process.
Am I right? Am I being fair? If you know of any live Sun User Groups, just let me know. During the last 5 years, this offer has been open on our special user group page, which hardly ever got visited by anyone. So I've zapped all the dead links, and I think that proves my point...

Force and Znyx Partner to Provide Leading-Edge Compact Packet-Switching Backplane Platforms

SAN JOSE, Calif. March 20, 2001 - Force Computers and ZNYX Networks have combined resources to produce a line of Compact Packet-Switching Backplane (CPSB) platforms. Dubbed the Centellis(tm) CO 21000-12U series, these platforms integrate ZNYX's leading-edge Ethernet switch technology into Force's NEBS Level 3 design Centellis chassis to provide the ideal solution for network infrastructure applications.
Closely adhering to the latest draft of the PICMG 2.16 Compact Packet-Switching Backplane specification, the Centellis CO 21000-12U series has been engineered
Centellis(tm) CO 21000-12U
to be easily integrated into larger systems, so communications equipment developers can immediately start designing and implementing it into products. And developers can take advantage of Force's open-systems expertise that's been leveraged into these CPSB platforms, which is reflected in redundant, hot-swappable features like:
  • Linux(tm)-based ZNYX OpenArchitect(tm) ZX4500 Ethernet switches (with eight external ports each)
  • N+1, 500W 48V power supplies (1500W total power)
  • Dual fan trays
  • Up to four 3.5-inch media bays
"With these CPSB platforms, Force continues to supply its customers with innovative, market-leading, open systems-based embedded solutions," said Chris Williams, Force vice president of Standard & Telecom Platforms, the Americas. "Based on interest expressed by leading telecom OEMs and data comm startups, the Centellis CO 21000-12U series will be integrated in many rack-space-saving network solutions." ...Force Computers profile, ...Znyx profile
SPARC Product Directory Beware Rogue Web Site -

Baughurst, UK - March 20, 2001 - ACSL, publisher of the SPARC Product Directory today became aware that a rogue web site,, was without our permission running our web site header graphic, and also without permission had copied significant amounts of content from our UK reseller page. We have no connection with this site, and have taken steps to ensure that the content is removed, or that the site is shut down.

We are also making readers aware that the rogue site is violating the use of other trade marks, including that of SPARC International, Inc, which has been made aware of the problem.

Trademarks are powerful marketing tools, and they are designed to give reassurance of the bona fides of the companies which use them. We deplore the blatant theft of copyright material from our web site, including our site logo, and a table of links, which is the result of years of research and editorial selection from vendor supplied contributions, and would like to warn potential users to be careful, if they intend to transact business with the above mentioned site.

Postscript:- ACSL contacted the offending web site owner and their web hosting company. In UK law a web host becomes liable for damages connected with copyright theft, passing off or other content related issues, if it has been sent notice of such content, and takes no action to shut down the site. SPARC International's legal team also contacted the site manager and indicated the legal consequences of cybersquatting and trademark infringement. Most of the offending content has now been removed from the site, and we expect it to be closed down. We always follow up such cases to defend our trademarks and copyright with no exceptions. Long time readers of our print directories may remember that every page included a copyright notice in the footer, to deter people from running the 240 pages through their Xerox. These actions minimise the risk that readers will be misled by web sites which may be breaking the law. We're going to feature an article to clarify this subject soon.
Sun Microsystems Sun Delivers First in a Family of Plug and Play Cluster Configurations

PALO ALTO, CA - March 19, 2001 - Sun Microsystems, Inc., today announced the availability of its first Sun[tm] Standard Cluster Configuration -- a factory tested, configured and cabled hardware and software platform that assists in rapid, low-risk implementation of highly available, failover protected network-based applications.

The Sun Standard Cluster Configuration B1 is the first platform in a family of integrated cluster configurations. It is based on the Sun[tm] Cluster 3.0 software, Sun Enterprise[tm] 220R servers running the Solaris[tm] 8 Operating Environment, Sun StorEdge[tm] D1000 disk arrays, and the Netra[tm] T1 Model 105 management server. Redundant servers and storage arrays are designed to provide failover protection for improved uptime. Rigorous testing and system qualification by Sun improves the reliability of the system and the single rack factory integration of the platform streamlines the time, cost component and IT resources required for a integrating a cluster. The hardware and software in Sun Standard Cluster Configurations is integrated and tested at the system level using established best practices extracted from engineering recommendations or through field experience, to help increase system availability.

"With this Sun Standard Cluster Configuration, Sun gives customers the ability to put HA environments on a fast and simple track," said Raj Das, director of marketing for the integrated products group at Sun. "With systems that can be deployed more quickly and reliably, companies can focus IT resources on revenue generating services or applications -- instead of systems integration." ...Sun Microsystems profile

Editor's note:- it's good to see that standardization and the real-time demands of the electronic economy have converted these types of systems into almost commodity products. Users can't afford to wait days, or even hours to get new infrastucture installed and running.
GNP Computers GNP Announces Record Growth for 2000 and Strengthens Corporate Management Team with Addition of New Chief Financial Officer

MONROVIA, Calif.- March 19, 2001 - GNP Computers today announced record revenues for 2000. The company's gross revenues increased over 230 percent from the prior year. Additionally, head count grew to 181 from 110 employees during the same period, and facilities have expanded to over 100,000 square feet from 65,000 square feet at year-end 2000.

"GNP's strong customer focus, track record of providing quality products and its solid reputation as a solutions provider in the telco infrastructure market is driving our success," said Roger Baar, Ph.D., president and CEO of GNP. "We have built an organization that strives to understand and then rapidly address the varied needs of our customers. Our ability to design, manufacture, test and deploy complete client-specific solutions that meet the demanding 'Five-Nines' (99.999 percent) quality levels of the telco environment has been instrumental in our growth."

To support its expanding business, GNP has added Mark Shain as its new chief financial officer. Shane's executive management experience includes 24 years in finance and administration. Most recently, he was executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer of Landmark Capital Enterprises, Inc. Shain began in the manufacturing sector with General Motors Corporation and United Technologies Corporation and then moved to venture capital and telecommunications firms. ...GNP Computers profile
Ideal Hardware

Sun (UK)
Ideal Hardware Forms Partnership with Sun Microsystems UK

UK, March 19 2001 - Ideal Hardware today announces the signing of an agreement with Sun Microsystems. Ideal will add to its portfolio Sun Microsystems' Microelectronics components, including SPARC-based motherboards and processors.

Richard Broadbent, EMEA channels manager at Microelectronics, comments: "Sun is keen to continue driving its board-level and processor products into the telecom, XSP and OEM markets. Ideal has firmly established expertise in selling into these markets and has plans to expand its investment in these areas. This, coupled with Ideal's strong reseller network and successful track record in selling complex products, makes it the unrivalled choice as a distribution partner. Ideal will be promoting a flexible and competitive offering of SPARC-based solutions that will address the requirements of its reseller community."

Seamus Twohig, Ideal's relationship director, comments on the alliance: "We recognise Sun as an incredibly significant distribution partner of today, and a key technology partner of the future, instrumental to our continuing success. Ideal recognises that the market has fragmented into a multiplicity of vertical markets where one solution does not suit all. Therefore, Ideal will work to create a strong presence in vertical markets such as Storage Service Providers (SSPs) and Telecommunications, both in the UK and Europe. ...Ideal Hardware profile
Old Computer Directories May be Worth $1,000

Baughurst UK - March 15, 2001 - ACSL, publisher of this directory,
is offering $1,000 as a discount off selected new advertising orders,
$1,000 discount offer
Do you have one of these? (not all are shown)
to any company which can reproduce the front covers of related print directories, which covered the Sun market during the period 1992 to 1997.

The specified directories, which qualify for the discount include:-
  • SBus Product Directory
  • SPARC Product Directory
  • SPARCbuilder - published by SPARC International
Advertisers who can find a copy of these old directories, only need to fax a copy of the front page with their order. The $1,000 disount will apply to any order placed during the period March 15 upto May 1, 2001, provided that the order value (before the discount is applied) is $3,000 or more. The discount can be applied to advertising on either the SPARC Product Directory, or STORAGEsearch web sites, which currently attract over 130,000 readers each month.

Commenting about the offer, publisher Zsolt Kerekes said "It will be interesting to see who has hung onto these old printed directories. We switched to a web format in 1996, and were the third publication in our market to do so, following SunWorld (now UNIX Insider), and SPARC International's - The last edition of our print directory was printed just over 4 years ago, but there may still be some 9 year old editions lurking in someone's bookshelf, but hopefully not still on their desks."

"Although I agree with Sun Microsystems and EMC that the SPARC server, and enterprise storage markets are recession proof, I think that many VARS and OEMS may welcome the opportunity that this discount will offer." more about the offer

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