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News about SPARC systems and related companies

2001, June week 2

PCIBus to MIL-STD 1553 from EDT
1553 interfaces from EDT
See also:- View from the Hill - Things to do during an eclipse of the Sun.
Squeak! - The top 10 fastest growing storage companies in the US

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SPARC history:- June 2000, June 2001, June 2002, June 2003, June 2004, June 2005

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IDC Reports Overall US Server Factory Revenues Declined 16% in First Quarter: but rackmounts grew 87%

June 13, 2001 - The sluggish U.S. economy proved to be a killjoy for the worldwide server market during the first quarter. According to IDC, worldwide server factory revenues declined 4% from $13.8 billion in 1Q00 to $13.3 billion in 1Q01. In the U.S. market, the descent was much more precipitous as revenues plummeted 16% from $5.2 billion in 1Q00 to $4.4 billion in 1Q01.
IDC Reports US Server Factory Revenues Declined 16% in First Quarter

Oracle Achieves New World Record Benchmark with Fujitsu Siemens Computers

Unisys ES7000 32-Processor Server Eclipses Higher-Priced Sun/Oracle 64-Processor Performance in Test

Force Announces Faster 'Universal-Mode' SPARC SBC for Packet-Switching Backplane Applications

New Global Web Site for Tatung

Dataram Announces 4GB Memory for Sun Fire Midframe Servers

Peritek Corp's Eclipse3PMC Display Controller for Embedded Graphics Now Available

IBM alters Silicon to increase chip speeds up to 35 percent

earlier news - archive
solid state disks
Solid State Disks on
Megabyte went through his Michelangelo phase. "Somewhere in that lump of rock is a solid state disk..."


Re: What is the InfiniBand Ecosystem?

by InfiniCon Systems

InfiniBand is a new industry standard for server input/output (I/O) communications. It eases the data congestion among hardware devices by enabling servers, remote storage and other networking devices to be attached in a central "fabric" of switches and links. This high bandwidth, highly scalable, switched serial infrastructure addresses the bandwidth and connectivity limitations facing data centers today without compromising availability.

One of the most remarkable things about InfiniBand is that it enables I/O to be completely removed from the server. Next generation InfiniBand-based servers, some of which may be much smaller than traditional servers, can be connected by a sharable I/O infrastructure that will provide server clustering and integration of existing data center infrastructures. Ultra-dense server clusters connected through stand-alone, InfiniBand-enabled I/O subsystems will soon be deployed to handle heavy-transaction environments. The results will be higher bandwidth, better data availability and lower administration costs.

The InfiniBand architecture delivers three levels of performance with the 1X link technology (500MB/s), the 4X link technology (2GB/s) and the 12X link technology (6GB/s). These performance levels will be commercially available at different points over the next eighteen months. InfiniCon Systems is developing I/O subsystems that will provide InfiniBand switching for clustering applications, as well as the I/O infrastructure for connectivity into existing Ethernet LANs and fibre channel-based storage networks.

The InfiniBand Ecosystem

InfiniBand is already being implemented in hardware components such as Host Channel Adaptor (HCA), Target Channel Adaptor (TCA) and InfiniBand Switch silicon. In addition, InfiniBand subnet management software is being developed to manage the fabric. These components and software management entities will need to be leveraged into complete system solutions to enable data centers to reap the benefits of the InfiniBand architecture.

"With processor speeds increasing to two gigahertz and high bandwidth connectivity becoming more prevalent, the bottleneck of the server I/O complex has to be removed. In order for users to benefit from faster processing power and increased data movement, a new paradigm is required. By moving the I/O complex from the server into an independent, scalable I/O subsystem, users will benefit from higher scalability than previously possible, as well as the ability to connect into existing infrastructures," explained Philip Murphy, president and co-founder, InfiniCon Systems.

InfiniCon Systems believes that InfiniBand will become a major standard in data centers, and that as InfiniBand applications mature, a tier will begin to emerge with increasing degrees of intelligence. As a result of the new InfiniBand technology, data centers will be able to deploy sharable I/O subsystems that enable customers to fully exploit their CPU power without replacing their existing network and storage infrastructure investment. Additionally, more common sharable services will be deployed within the InfiniBand fabric.

"InfiniBand will expand the horizons of enterprise interconnectivity over the next eight years as the intelligent controller has for enterprise storage over the past eight. Evidenced by InfiniCon Systems' choice of the word 'ecosystem,' InfiniBand defines an evolving systems environment," commented John Young, research program director, enterprise storage, D.H. Brown Associates. "This environment is one that expands infrastructure possibilities, stretches data center boundaries, and supports the needs of highly differentiated end-user communities. With InfiniBand, the computing industry takes a giant step towards ultimate responsiveness to user needs."

Additional topics regarding InfiniBand in the data center will be addressed by InfiniCon Systems in future columns.

NAS on
"The storage network is the computer"
said Megabyte, thinking back to the
sunnier days of his youth...
Squeak! - Animal Brands and Metaphors in the Storage Market
Squeak! - Animal Brands and Metaphors in the Storage Market
Animal marketing metaphors are popular in service industries, but you'd be surprised how many companies have used animals in their marketing of data storage products and services.

The storage market was worth over $150 billion in 2005, and as it gets bigger - more companies will turn to animal brands to help differentiate their otherwise bland products and lend them artificial (or deserving) characters and virtues.

The idea behind this type of marketing is to suggest positive connotations so it's unlikely that anyone will choose to associate their products with gremlins. But you may be surprised by the population of the storage ark.

This reference articles lists all known companies who have furry marketing brands, and also includes some which are slimy, scaly and scary too. the article, Mice in storage
IDC rates the top five vendors in the worldwide market according to revenue share as follows:
  1. IBM - 25%
  2. Hewlett-Packard - 16%
  3. Sun Microsystems - 15.4%
  4. Compaq - 14.7%
  5. Dell - 7%
In the U.S. market, Dell was the only top-five vendor to increase its revenues with 12% growth.

According to IDC, the top five U.S. vendors by revenue share are as follows:
  1. IBM - 22%
  2. Sun Microsystems - 18%
  3. Hewlett-Packard - 16.3%
  4. Compaq - 15.9%
  5. Dell - 12%
"Though the decline in the U.S. market was quite severe, strong growth in other parts of the world such as Western Europe and Asia/Pacific kept worldwide damage in check," said Vernon Turner, IDC's vice president of Global Enterprise Server Solutions.

According to IDC, Western European server factory revenues soared 16% year-on-year in 1Q01. The jump in Asia/Pacific, excluding Japan, was almost as impressive at 12%. The server market in Japan, however, was impacted by a cutback in government spending and the declining value of the yen, causing revenues to stumble 12% from the year-ago quarter. Despite declining revenues in the overall server market, the rack-optimized segment turned in another stellar performance. Shipments jumped almost 138%, igniting revenue growth of 87%. In comparison, revenues in the non-rack-optimized server market fell 9%.

"In this economy, companies are hypersensitive about cost-savings, and rack-optimized servers are all about savings," Turner said. "They help organizations save space and reduce their energy consumption."

In terms of vendor performance, IBM and Dell were the only top-five players to increase their revenues in the worldwide market, with 13% and 21% jumps, respectively.

IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker is a quantitative tool for analyzing the global server market on a quarterly basis. The Tracker includes quarterly shipments (both ISS and upgrades) and revenues (both customer and factory), segmented by vendor, family, model, region, operating system, price band, CPU type, and architecture. ...IDC profile
Fujitsu Siemens

Oracle Achieves New World Record Benchmark with Fujitsu Siemens Computers

REDWOOD SHORES, Calif., June 13, 2001 - Oracle Corp. today announced a new world record for the Oracle database. Running the ATO (Assemble-To-Order) two-tier Standard Application Benchmark, Oracle accomplished unprecedented 34,260 assembly-orders per hour on a Fujitsu Siemens Computers Primepower 2000 Server. The Oracle benchmark significantly outperformed the top IBM DB2 result on the same benchmark by a 4:1 ratio.

The ATO two-tier SAP R/3 Release 4.6B standard application benchmark is characterized by high-volume sales, short production times and the individual assembly for each order, ultimately resulting in a measurement of throughput. With one central server and the ATO two-tier configuration, the results of this benchmark were delivered using a Fujitsu Siemens Computers Primepower 2000, 128-way SMP, on a Sparc64 560 MHz which used 8 MB of L2 cache and 128 GB of main memory. As of May 29, 2001, the Oracle 8.1.7 Database was certified running on a Solaris 8 OS completing 89% CPU utilization from a central server with 2,548 GB of total disk space.

" Fujitsu Siemens Computers has a growing number of large, business critical implementations. These customers demand latest hardware and software technology in order to meet their highest availability and performance targets," said Peter Jilek, executive vice president Enterprise Products of Fujitsu Siemens Computers. "With this record-breaking performance Fujitsu Siemens Computers demonstrates once again that its Solaris/Sparc-based PRIMEPOWER servers are leading technology and the platform of choice for Oracle databases." ...Fujitsu Siemens Computers profile, ...Oracle profile
Unisys Unisys ES7000 32-Processor Server Eclipses Higher-Priced Sun/Oracle 64-Processor Performance in Test
The Unisys ES7000 surpassed the best performance of any Sun/Oracle system, which was 19,360 SAP SD Standard Application Benchmark users (average dialog response time of 1.88 sec., 1,954,670 processed order line items, 5,864,000 dialog steps/hour). Those results were obtained using SAP R/3 Release 4.0B, Solaris 8, and Oracle 8.1.5 running on a Sun Enterprise 10000 64-processor UltraSPARC II 400 MHz SMP server with 8Mbytes level-two cache and 64 Gbytes main memory.

In the test, the Unisys ES7000 ran Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, the Microsoft operating system designed for mainframe-class performance, scalability and reliability, Microsoft's SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition database management system and SAP R/3 Release 4.6C.

The Unisys ES7000 tested as a database server was configured with 32 Intel Pentium III Xeon 900-MHz processors with 2 Mbytes of cache, 12 Gbytes of memory and 128 Mbytes of level-three cache (16 Mbytes in each of eight ES7000 server pods). The server ran Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 2000 Datacenter Server operating system, Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition database, and SAP R/3 Release 4.6C. Database server CPU utilization was 94 percent. Ninety-two Unisys e-@ction Enterprise Server ES5085s, each with eight 700-MHz Intel Pentium III Xeon processors and 4 Gbytes of memory, were also used in the test as application servers.
Blue Bell, PA, June 12, 2001 - Any performance margin justifying the high price of UNIX - and RISC-based servers compared to Windows-based servers has vanished, according to benchmark data announced by Unisys today.

Topping the best performance of the Sun E10000 64-bit UNIX/RISC server running the Oracle 8.1.5 database, a Unisys e-@ction Enterprise Server ES7000 equipped with 32 Intel Pentium III Xeon 32-bit processors supported 20,000 concurrent SAP Standard Application Sales and Distribution (SD) users. The result was achieved in a performance test using the SAP SD Standard Application Benchmark, an industry-standard measure of server performance.

For users of mission-critical solutions such as, the benchmark results show that there is no longer any performance advantage to be gained by paying the premium charged by UNIX/RISC server vendors. The high reliability and performance once available only from large mainframes and UNIX systems is now within the reach of a broader community of users.

"The message emerging from this achievement is 'No UNIX taxation without performance justification,'" said Mark Feverston, vice president, Unisys Server Programs. "With the Unisys ES7000 outperforming even a 64 x 64-bit UNIX server, enterprises now stand to benefit from a new brand of large-scale server economics." ...Unisys profile

Editor's comments:- I agree that the performance gap between large SPARC systems and Intel Architecture systems no longer exists, and it's long past the time for Sun or Fujitsu to announce faster processors and lower prices. But the system connectivity you're going to get from a SPARC systems is still going to be better because all that comms software was not written in one day. Also I'm not surprised that a 900MHz Pentuim box runs faster than a 400MHz SPARC box. Maybe it's time for Sun to release some more up to date benchmarks.
Force Announces Faster 'Universal-Mode' SPARC SBC for Packet-Switching Backplane Applications

June 12, 2001 - Force Computers, a Solectron company (NYSE:SLR) and a leader in embedded computing, at the Voice on the Net ("VON") Europe 2001 trade show announces the first of a family of UltraSPARC-IIe® processor-based single board computers (SBCs), the CPCI-550 SBC.
Compared to its predecessor, the UltraSPARC-IIi processor-based CPCI-540, the new CPCI-550 features higher performance and lower power consumption coupled with increased upgradeability. The base SBC offers a wide range of features, including:
  • UltraSPARC-IIe 500MHz processor
  • 1GByte high-performance SDRAM (option to 2GBytes via memory module)
  • Four 10/100 Ethernet interfaces
  • Four RS-232 interfaces with hardware handshake capability
  • Four USB and two Wide Ultra3 SCSI (LVD) interfaces
  • One PCI mezzanine card (PMC) slot
  • Full Hot Swap specification compliance (PICMG 2.1, R2.0) PICMG 2.9-compliant IPMI controller
Featuring Force's award-winning SENTINEL "universal-mode" PCI-to-PCI bridge (PPB) and the latest high-performance, embedded UltraSPARC-IIe 500MHz processor, the CPCI-550 SBC offers a fast, reliable Solaris® 8 operating system-based platform and supports the PICMG 2.16 draft specification for CompactPCI Packet-Switching Backplane applications. It provides an ideal solution for third-generation wireless, IP telephony, high-density embedded servers for Internet data centers and other demanding telecom/data comm applications in need of advanced switch fabric technologies combined with the UltraSPARC architecture.

"The CPCI-550 provides a state-of-the-art processor in a flexible form factor to reduce time-to-market and shave development costs," said Daniel Wuhrer, Force product marketing manager. "This SBC starts a new family of CompactPCI products based on UltraSPARC-IIe technology as well as extends Force's effort to offer PICMG 2.16 compliance on all future board solutions. And because this processor appears on the Sun Microsystems embedded roadmap, it ensures a clear upgrade path into the future."

The CPCI-550 SBC can be used with a companion board to provide more I/O interfaces and PMC slots to suit application-specific configurations. The two-slot variant of the CPCI-550-dubbed the CPCI-552-includes additional features such as two PMC slots, one Wide Ultra2 SCSI interface and four 10/100 Ethernet interfaces.

Force will show the CPCI-550 at VON Europe 2001, June 12-14, Stockholm (Sweden) International Fair, Booth 418/517.

The CPCI-550 SBC ships in July under Force's Early Access Unit (EAU) program with volume shipments scheduled for October. Prices start at about US$3,000. ...FORCE COMPUTERS profile
New Global Web Site for Tatung

Netherlands, June 12, 2001 - Tatung Co. today launched a new global SPARC website: Here you will find links to all Tatung subsidiaries worldwide supporting our SPARC server business. ...Tatung profile
Dataram Dataram Announces 4GB Memory for Sun Fire Midframe Servers

Princeton, NJ—June 11, 2001 — Dataram Corporation today announced the immediate availability of the industry's first 4 gigabyte (GB) memory upgrade for Sun Microsystems' Sun Fire™ 3800-6800 midframe servers. Dataram now offers a full range of memory upgrades for the Sun Fire midframe servers, including a 1GB, 2GB, and a first-to-market 4GB capacity. Each upgrade consists of four 232-pin ECC SDRAM DIMMs that are guaranteed to be form, fit, and function compatible with Sun's hardware and software.

The DRS280/4096 is the industry's first 4GB upgrade for the Sun Fire 3800-6800 servers and is engineered and manufactured in Dataram's ISO 9001 certified facilities, assuring customers the highest standards for quality and reliability.

"It was just a couple of years ago when we announced the industry's first 2GB upgrade for Sun's Enterprise 3500-6500 servers," commented Robert Kanoff, Dataram's director of marketing. "Today's announcement is another milestone for Dataram, where we once again are first to offer our customers key, strategic memory solutions even before Sun makes them available." ...Dataram profile
Peritek Peritek Corp's Eclipse3PMC Display Controller for Embedded Graphics Now Available

Oakland, Calif. - June 11, 2001 - Peritek Corp. announces the immediate availability of the new Eclipse3PMC display controller. Using the proprietary, super-pipelined 128-bit graphics engine, Borealis3, the Eclipse3 is part of a new generation of high performance graphics engines, providing superior image quality for UltraSPARC embedded computing applications. The Eclipse3 series will be available in PMC, CompactPCI and PCI form-factors.
Standard features include:
  • 16.7 million colors;
  • 8, 16 or 32-bits per pixel selection;
  • composite and sync-on-green;
  • analog RGB output;
  • 33 & 66Mhz, 32-bit PCI 2.1 host interface;
  • and a standard VGA connector.
Solaris operating system support is available for Solaris 2.6, Solaris 7 and Solaris 8 with 32-bit and 64-bit loadable DDX software available from Peritek that is DDI compliant.

Eclipse3PMC includes f-code firmware for UltraSPARC system console display. Expanded 16MB SGRAM display memory supports a broad range of video resolutions from 640 x 480 to 1920 x 1280.

Applications for Eclipse3 include: graphical interface for embedded development systems; OEM machine control; telecommunication system console; command & control; sonar and radar displays. The Eclipse3 series firmware supports major UltraSPARC IIi and IIe single board computers.

Prices start at $995. ...Peritek profile
IBM IBM alters Silicon to increase chip speeds up to 35 percent

Armonk, N.Y.- June 8, 2001 IBM today announced a breakthrough method to alter silicon - the fundamental material at the heart of microchips - which is expected to boost chip speeds by up to 35 percent. Called "Strained Silicon", the technology stretches the material, speeding the flow of electrons through transistors to increase performance and decrease power consumption in semiconductors. IBM estimates that strained silicon technology could find its way into products by 2003.

"Most of the industry is struggling with extending chip performance as we approach the fundamental physical limits of silicon," said Randy Isaac, vice president of science and technology, IBM Research. "We're able to maintain our technology lead by also focusing our research on innovative ways to improve chip materials, device structures and design. This approach to R&D makes possible breakthroughs like strained silicon."

The new technology takes advantage of the natural tendency for atoms inside compounds to align with one another. When silicon is deposited on top of a substrate with atoms spaced farther apart, the atoms in silicon stretch to line up with the atoms beneath, stretching - or "straining" - the silicon. In the strained silicon, electrons experience less resistance and flow up to 70 percent faster, which can lead to chips that are up to 35 percent faster - without having to shrink the size of transistors.

Editor's comment:- the IBM announcement suggests that this breakthrough may rewrite Moore's law. So maybe 2 years down the road, if the technique is commercially viable, and everyone uses it, you may be surprised by not having to wait so long for the next generation of speed up.

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