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News about SPARC systems and related companies

2001, September week 4

Universal Solid State Disk USSD 200 from Solid Access Technologies with SAS, FC, SCSI or custom interfaces
Serial Attached SCSI solid state disks
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See also:- Squeak! - the Solid State Disks Buyers Guide
Squeak! - the Fastest Growing Storage Companies
Squeak! - the 10 biggest storage companies in 2008?
Squeak! - the Top 10 Storage Software Companies
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Gartner Dataquest Gartner Dataquest Says 2001 Worldwide Software Revenue has Slowed to Less than Half of Last Year's Growth
Gartner Dataquest Says 2001 Worldwide Software Revenue has Slowed to Less than Half of Last Year's Growth

Looking ahead to Sun's 20th anniversary....

Tadpole Appoints Keith Bigsby As Group Financial Director

Lightwave Communications Introduces Remote Power Management Device

Sun Once Again Beats the Competition With an Industry Breakthrough Server

Tadpole and Platform Computing Launch "PowerBack" To Reduce Energy Costs For Power-Hungry Data Centers

Continuous Computing Recognized by Deloitte & Touche as #1 Rising Star Technology Company in Orange and San Diego Counties

Tadpole Unveils US-Wide Customer Support Agreement With Logicon

earlier news - archive
Squeaks-a-Bit's list of classic computer sites
Classic Computer Sites on
Megabyte's ancestor, Squeaks-a-Bit, had created a list of classic hits from before the Millenium. He didn't say which millenium .
Nibble:- Re SPARC mainframes

As a long term stakeholder in the Sun market (10 years of publishing in October 2001 to be precise) we welcome the long overdue Sun Fire 15K. Make no mistake, you're going to see a lot more architectural changes in servers during the next year, and this box should probably be viewed as a transitional product. But that doesn't really matter today if you're desperate to have a box running your Solaris applications faster. And let's be honest, there isn't really a lot of choice.

In the 1990's Sun demolished nearly all competition in the SPARC mainframe market. The first to get crushed was Solbourne, which had shipped the first multiprocessor SPARC servers using its own design of SPARC ships.

About 5 years later Auspex Systems decided that competing with Sun using Sun developed chips and their operating system, was a game not worth the candle, so in the mid 1990's they switched to Intel technology and waited another 5 years before the market recognised the Auspex products for what they really were:- the world's first NAS systems.

Cray Computer also discovered, that competing against SPARC mainframes from Sun, which they had originally helped to design, was an unprofitable business. They exited the SPARC market after a few lean years, although they're still a Sun reseller today.

In the early days of the SPARC mainframe market, it was convenient for Sun to maintain the myth of a competitive market which was binary compatible. But the reality is that Sun didn't want to share this market with anyone. Fujitsu has had various failed attempts to get market share from the Sun customer base, but their excellent products in the past have always been let down by incompetent marketing.

Just like the IBM mainframe market originally attracted a bunch of compatible rivals, most of which have since disappeared, we expect that the SPARC mainframe market will consist of just one company:- Sun. If you buy anything else you're probably making a big mistake.

The real competition in the SPARC mainframe market is in the applications areas where customers can use rackmount SPARC systems. That's a market segment in which Sun is not even the market leader and product announcements come in at a much faster pace.

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"The impact from the events on September 11 will extend and intensify the economic slowdown impacting the global software industry for the next 18 months," said Joanne Correia, vice president for Gartner Dataquest's Software Industry Research group. "The verticals that could have slower software purchases will include the airlines, travel, automobiles, insurance and new consumer PC segments. Software vendors may see an increase in new software spending and market hype in segments such as security, network storage and systems management and collaborative applications."
STAMFORD, Conn., September 26, 2001 — Economic restraint has led many organizations to put discretionary spending on hold, causing worldwide spending on new software to grow just 6% in the first half of 2001, according to Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner, Inc. The industry's growth rate has slowed to less than one-half from last year when worldwide software spending increased 18%. Worldwide software spending for all of 2001 is projected to grow slightly less than 7% with new license revenue of approximately $77 billion.

Gartner Dataquest analysts said well-managed software vendors have reacted rapidly to falling orders and trimmed operating expenses to limit their use of cash reserves. But many vendors that were managing on small cash reserves do not appear to have reacted fast enough to trim their expense line faster than the drop in orders and revenue.

"Not only has application spending slowed, but decisions on whom to buy from have clearly shifted in favor of the larger vendors with their broad one-stop-shop portfolios and deep financial pockets," said Tom Topolinski, principal analyst for Gartner Dataquest's Application Software Industry Research group. "Many small companies are vulnerable because they have no underlying maintenance or service revenue to provide at least some ongoing income when new license orders stop," said Correia. "There is a significant danger of these companies becoming cheap acquisition targets or disappearing totally from the market."

The main challenge for large and small vendors will be to manage their expenses with enough agility to remain solvent and profitable. ...Gartner profile

See also:- Market research companies
Sun Microsystems Looking ahead to Sun's 20th anniversary....
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Sorting through your anecdotes will give me something useful to do in the dark winter months ahead when the phone wires snap in the storms and I'm running off my Honda generator in the barn.
Editor:- Sun is going to be 20 years old next February. We all know that they have grown into a solid, respectable and, at times, boring mainframe company. That's why we like their products. They don't have nasty surprises. But it was not always so. Or was it?

If you have any interesting stories about your dealings with Sun (or working inside Sun) in their early days, when they were still a hot new Unix box maker, I'm starting to collect them for a feature which we will run early next year. If you can digitise any relevant pictures or posters (into JPEGs), that would be helpful too. You must include your name and describe what you were doing at the time (if you can remember). If you competed with Sun, or your initial impression was that the Sun products were puny in comparison to your Vax or Eclipse then say what changed your mind. That will be interesting too.

The feature will be a major multi-page celebration. Send your email to
Tadpole Appoints Keith Bigsby As Group Financial Director

September 26, 2001 - Tadpole Technology plc today announces the board appointment of Keith Edward Bigsby as group financial director with immediate effect. He replaces the current financial director, Robert Davies, who has resigned from the board with immediate effect.

Bigsby has held senior financial positions across Europe. He was European Controller for Sun Microsystems in Northern and Southern Europe.Bigsby is highly-experienced in managing complex business environments, developing strategic planning processes that support business development, and is well-known within the financial and investment communities. ...Tadpole-Cycle profile
Lightwave Communications Lightwave Communications Introduces Remote Power Management Device
As a stand alone solution or when combined with a Console Server, the PCU-8 provides IT professionals the ability to remotely control power applied to equipment in unmanned locations. Local control of devices attached to the PCU-8 is achieved through front panel switches. This is a password-protected system that gives the administrator complete control of the attached devices. Remote power cycling can be applied by one command to a single device, a group of systems or peripherals, or all attached devices. This feature can be very beneficial for large unmanned server farms where, for example, new software is installed and a hard re-boot is required.
Milford, CT - September 25, 2001 - Lightwave Communications Inc. introduces the PCU-8 Power Control Unit. The PCU-8 is a remote power cycling device that controls up to 8 devices from a single RS-232 serial port. Where more than 8 devices need to be controlled, several units can be cascaded to control up to 72 devices.

"IT professionals need solid, dependable methods to remotely control power to servers in unmanned locations," said Kevin Keefe, Lightwave's VP of Engineering. "With our new PCU-8, they now have a solution to one of the most critical remote management challenges."

The PCU-8 utilizes solid state zero-crossing relays to ensure that expensive equipment is not harmed by power spikes which can occur by "throwing a switch" or closing a traditional relay. The zero-crossing relays also provide for silent operation of the unit, making it friendly to manned environments.

Smooth recovery of controlled devices is achieved through programmed time delays, which provide a progressive startup. Power Failure Recovery ensures that no one has to be present to start up the network should a power failure occur. ...Lightwave Communications profile

Editor's comments:- I'm sure there's a great need for this type of functionality, but as someone who worked for a US programmable controller company about 20 years ago, I think this product is reinventing the wheel. A web site called looks like it speaks the arcane languages of PLCs and Unix. You need to look at systems which are imune to RFI, overloads, brown-outs, high temperature (in Texas), low temperature (in Alaska). There's decades of experience been acquired running factories without a reset button. Companies like Allen Bradley, GE, and Schneider Electric spring to mind as possible alternatives.
Sun Microsystems Sun Once Again Beats the Competition With an Industry Breakthrough Server

NEW YORK CITY, NY - September 25, 2001 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today introduced the Sun Fire 15K server, its new flagship high-end system built on technologies that radically alter the performance level and reliability, scalability and availability of high-end servers while significantly helping to reduce total cost of ownership.
Sun Fire 15K can have up to 106 third-generation 64-bit UltraSPARC III processors with the ability to scale beyond 1000 CPUs. The 900 MHz UltraSPARC III copper processor harnessed by the power of Solaris 8, enables best of breed linear scalability and application speed. The UltraSPARC processor roadmap supports field upgradeability to speeds of 1.8 Ghz and beyond. And with hot CPU upgrades, the Sun Fire 15K server enables resources to be added easily while the system is up and running.
With 106 processors, two to four times the memory of competitive products with 576 Gigabytes, and 18 I/O hubs for networking and storage connectivity, it is the world's largest single cabinet UNIX® server system. At nearly 2.5 times the MIPS rating of the largest mainframe, the Sun Fire 15K server has the most balanced high-performance server architecture available and delivers the industry's best benchmark results in real-world applications, including SAP, Java platform performance (SPECjbb) and high performance computing (Fluent).

"The Sun Fire 15K system is the culmination of an 18 month roll-out of our entire compatible product family," said John Shoemaker, Executive Vice President, Computer Systems, Sun Microsystems, Inc.

At the heart of the system, with roughly 5 miles of wiring, is the Sun Fireplane interconnect that offers unprecedented throughput, critical for superior application performance. With the ability to transfer 172 Gigabytes per second, this high performance, "triple cross-bar" design enables predictable, high performance across a wide range of applications. The Sun Fireplane interconnect is the only one of its kind and is 3 to 5 years ahead of expected competitive offerings. ...Sun Microsystems profile

Editor's comments:- you can get more information about Sun's new mainframes by clicking here. Sun has taken its own sweet time in getting this product line out, and if it wasn't for the recession slowing down everyone's spending during the last 3 quarters, the switch away from SPARC to IBM and HP would have caused more damage. I think most of us will now breathe a sigh of relief that Sun has got its act together again. It was getting rubbished at the high end by a lot of competitors' benchmarks. A flood of orders for the new systems will start hitting Sun's sales teams as soon as their customers can remember where accounting hid the purchase order forms.
Tadpole and Platform Computing Launch "PowerBack" To Reduce Energy Costs For Power-Hungry Data Centers

Cambridge (UK), Carlsbad and San Jose (CA) - September 25, 2001 - Tadpole and Platform Computing today announced "PowerBack", a pioneering initiative to reduce the escalating energy costs of data centres around the world.
At the end of 2000, there were approximately 320 ISP data centres in the US alone with total computer room space occupying 9.5 million square feet - an average of some 30,000 sq.ft. per data center. According to the Energy Information Administration's Annual Energy Outlook 2001, the average power consumption of a data centre is 50W/sq.ft. If 15% of an average data centre's 1.5 MW power demand is saved through investments in PowerBack, up to $200,000 could be shaved off each company's energy bill each year.

A recent report from Salomon Smith Barney anticipated that there would be 17.9 million square feet of data centre rooms built or under construction in the U.S. by the end of 2001, an 80 per cent increase over 2000. In her thesis (Energy Needs In An Internet Economy: A Closer Look At Data Centers, published May 2001), Jennifer Mitchell-Jackson of the Energy Resources Group at UC Berkeley uses the growth rates from the Salomon Smith Barney report to estimate total data centre floor area in the United States at 25 million square feet by 2003.
With PowerBack, data centres will be able to minimise their power requirements as computing demand fluctuates, or to take advantage of off-peak energy rates. They will also make further energy savings through reduced usage of kW-hungry air conditioning in rooms that house idle computer systems.

Under the terms of the partnership, Tadpole will integrate Platform SiteAssure with the power management feature of its Sun-compatible compute servers to provide a sophisticated and dynamic energy saving solution. As workload demand for computing resources in data centres equipped with Tadpole Compute Servers drops, PowerBack will automatically power down unneeded servers. As workload demand increases, it will detect when the maximum pre-defined threshold of CPU use has been achieved, and automatically power up an idle Tadpole Compute Server to full operating status in seconds. The combination of this and Platform's complementary load sharing facility (LSF) scheduler will automatically ensure that workload is evenly balanced across large numbers of individual computers in company data centres.

"PowerBack leverages Platform's experience in distributed computing to proactively manage all available resources," said Steve Salkeld, Platform Computing's director of business development. "With this powerful solution, data centres can ensure that idle computing resources across multiple platforms and environments are powered down, resulting in decreased costs and energy savings." David Miles, Tadpole's vice president of business development, adds: "Data centres can no longer ignore the impact of rising energy costs on their business models or adding to the threat of further energy shortfalls. PowerBack is Tadpole's and Platform's answer for data centres to work smarter and at less cost."

"Given the uncertainties in the price and availability of electric power, data centre owners and operators are increasingly searching for ways to improve the efficiency of their facilities, reduce power use, and save money," says Jonathan G. Koomey, Ph.D. Staff Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The first Tadpole compute server line to integrate Platform SiteAssure is the Tadpole Compute Server 3300, an UltraSPARC III high-density compute server available in a 19-inch, 3U form factor, this system can yield up to 25% greater rack density than other offerings. ...Platform Computing web site, ...Tadpole-Cycle profile
Continuous Computing Corporation
Continuous Computing Recognized by Deloitte & Touche as #1 Rising Star Technology Company in Orange and San Diego Counties

SAN DIEGO, September 24, 2001 - Continuous Computing Corporation (CCPU), a leading provider of High-Availability Computing Platform solutions for telecom equipment manufacturers, today announced that the company has been honored by Deloitte & Touche as the fastest growing technology company in Orange and San Diego counties in the Rising Star category at the 2001 Technology Fast 50 awards ceremony.

The Rising Star category includes up-and-coming technology companies that have been in business for between three and four years. The Rising Star award is based on revenue growth from 1998 to 2000.

CCPU's revenues increased from approximately $57,000 in fiscal year 1998 to over $16 million in fiscal year 2000 – an increase of over 28,000 percent. CCPU beat out other Rising Star candidates, including, IPNet and Widcomm. In fact, CCPU recorded faster growth than any of the top place finishers in the Technology Fast 50 category, which includes companies that have been in business at least five years, including JNI, Novatel Wireless and Broadcom.

Continuous Computing Chief Financial Officer, Erez Barnavon, who accepted the award on behalf of the company, said, "This is a tribute to all the employees at CCPU who do a tremendous job day-in and day-out for the company."

Randy Lunn, General Partner of Palomar Ventures and a Director of CCPU who also attended the awards dinner, said, "The #1 Rising Star Award reflects the team's dedication to excellence. Customer relationships have become stronger over this past year, and I look forward to continued growth next year." ...Continuous Computing profile

See also:- Squeak! - The fastest growing storage companies in the US
Tadpole Unveils US-Wide Customer Support Agreement With Logicon

Carlsbad (CA), September 24, 2001 - Tadpole and Logicon today announced a nationwide agreement enabling Logicon to deliver best-of-class service and support to Tadpole's customers in the United States. Services covered under the agreement will be performed by Logicon's Commercial Information Services (LCIS) unit.

Over one hundred Logicon service centers across the United States become the hub of Tadpole's customer-centric service policies offering multi-level support contracts from time and materials, to 4-hour business day response, through 2-hour response on a 24 x 7 basis. As a result of this initiative, business and mission-critical users of Tadpole's compute servers will now enjoy the support and backing of Logicon service professionals through its on-site and helpdesk programs.

Hugh Taylor, president of Logicon Commercial Information Services, comments: "Logicon is delighted to enter into this nationwide agreement and is committed to offering the highest levels of service and support on Tadpole's lines of high-density compute servers for ISP's, corporate infrastructures and federal agencies."

Bernard Hulme, Tadpole's group chief executive, comments: "Logicon has an impeccable pedigree in supporting systems used in the compute intensive environments of major corporations, universities and financial institutions. Through this US-wide program, Tadpole strengthens its offerings to the EDA and other markets with compute intensive needs, and customers can now call upon the skills, resources and best practices of a major service provider at any time, and from anywhere." ...Logicon profile, ...Tadpole-Cycle profile

See also:- Repair Services for SPARC, STORAGE Services

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