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SPARC History - 2001, October week 3

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Sun Microsystems Sun Confirms Q3 Revenue Decreased 43% Year on Year other SPARC news on this page
PALO ALTO, CA - October 18, 2001 - Sun Microsystems, Inc., (NASDAQ: SUNW) a leading provider of hardware, software and services that power enterprises and network computing, today reported results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2002 which ended September 30, 2001. Revenues for the first quarter were $2.861 billion, a year-over-year decrease of 43 percent. Net loss for the first quarter was $158 million and the net loss per share was $.05 (excluding losses on Sun's strategic investment portfolio, facility disinvestments, in-process research and development charges, and related tax effects).

During the first quarter, special items increased the net loss by $22 million. The special items are comprised of a $19 million loss on Sun's strategic investments, an in-process research and development charge of $3 million, and a facility disinvestment charge of $14 million. A decrease of $14 million in taxes related to the above-mentioned special items partially offsets these charges. Including these special items, the GAAP net loss was $180 million and the net loss per share was $.06. ...Sun Microsystems profile

Editor's note:- two weeks ago, Sun warned us about the scale of this decrease, but the confirmed numbers are a bit worse. This week storage company EMC also announced 47% lower Q3 revenue.
Sun Confirms Q3 Revenue Decreased 43% Year on Year

Themis VMEbus SBCs Selected for NATO AWACS

Force Announces its First SPARC 3U CompactPCI System

Antares announces the release of Quad Gigabit Ethernet NIC

Sun Microsystems Enhances Clustering Technology For SAP

Force Commemorates 20 Years in Embedded Computing

earlier news - archive
NAS on
"The storage system is the computer" said Megabyte, misquoting something he'd heard when he was younger...
View from the Hill

A Tale of 2 Markets Affected by the September 11th Atrocity...
Sun and Storage

As stated in Sun's conference call, October 5, 2001, the effects of September 11th had a major impact on Sun's business which no-one could have forseen.

As a web publisher involved in both the Sun and storage markets, I thought it might be interesting to share with you information about how we think these markets have been affected. Your analysis and conclusions may be entirely different. But if you're involved in making choices in these markets, these are difficult times, and any information might be useful.

Our Sun publication saw a 20% month to month decline in pageviews comparing August to September. In the 4 years previously, we'd seen a 20% increase. That 40% gap between expectation and actuality correlates with Sun's 38% projected revenue decline this quarter.

Looking at what happened after:- in the first week of October we saw a 14% rise in daily pageviews. So there is a recovery coming for Sun. But it's not as good as in other markets. As a publisher we've been tracking the Sun market for 10 years. This was the first time we had ever seen a decline in buyer activity moving from August to September. (Before 1996 we measured buyer/market activity by the sales of our directory, and sales of Sun mailing lists targeting end-users. Both stopped when we switched to our web format in 1996 .)

Sun's own analysis of the outlook prompted their announcement to lay off 9% of the workforce to reduce thir burn rate.

I think that the storage market most likely has seen a net gain from the tragedy, due to general reporting by all media of the plight of companeis which did not have data backup strategies. We've seen this confirmed in early comments from backup software and tape library comnpanies who are reporting financial results for this period. So the August-September transition for STORAGEsearch pageviews was a mere 7% decline, followed in October by a staggering 60% increase.

Historically, the reader activity levels on our sites have always predicted buying behaviour (revenue) as reported later by market research companies like IDC, or seen in the company results in specific product sectors. So there is a recovery coming for Sun, but it's still going to lag last year's revenue performance by about 30% and that's why they needed to reduce costs. You can also see most people in the wider market don't take Sun seriously as a storage company, otherwise their results would be a lot better.

Themis Computer
Themis Computer VMEbus Single Board Computers Selected for NATO E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) Computer and Display Systems

FREMONT, California – October 17, 2001 - Themis Computer announced the selection of its USP-2 and USPIIi-1v VMEbus single-board computers for use in the upgrade of NATO's E-3 fleet.

Enhancements to NATO's E-3 AWACS include:

  • State-of-the-art flat panel situation displays with a Windows-like environment to support the interaction between operators and sensor systems increasing the operator's situational awareness. Multi-Sensor Integration will improve the reliability and accuracy of the tracking process and target identification.
  • A new mission computing system with an open-system architecture, supporting cost-effective, future upgrades to hardware and software.
  • Digital communications systems to improve crew access to available radio links and provide automatic record and replay of communication and display data. Satellite communications will be integrated into the mission system, offering a wider range and improved over-the horizon communication via satellite links.
  • Broad-spectrum VHF radios that will support increased operations with Eastern European nations' air and ground forces. Improved transponders will be compatible with emerging international air traffic control systems requirements.
  • Upgraded aircraft navigation that takes advantage of the new Global Positioning System (GPS).
The NATO E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) fleet is a highly mobile, survivable surveillance system designed to strengthen and significantly improve air defense systems in Europe. The E-3 AWACS fills the need for both airborne surveillance and command control communications functions for NATO air and maritime forces. As an "eye in the sky," AWACS has a 360-degree view of the horizon, and can track air and sea targets simultaneously.

The Boeing Company, as prime contractor, is leading the work to develop new mission essential features for the NATO E-3 fleet. Under the Mid-Term engineering, manufacturing and development (EMD) contract, Boeing, supported by subcontractors from participating NATO nations, is integrating major system-related enhancements including; computers, displays, communications, navigation and multi-sensor integration.

Working with the Airborne Systems Division (AS) of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), Themis' USP-2 was chosen to upgrade the mission computers and multi-sensor integration computers in the E-3 AWACS. The USP-2, Themis' highest performance dual-processor UltraSPARC -based VME engine, was selected because of its high performance and scalability. As part of the selection process, the USP-2 was subjected to and passed rigorous environmental testing, including EMC/EMI, humidity, and airborne-class shock and vibration tests.

The USP-2 is a multi-slot VME module that implements a dual MP Ultra-2 architecture. Its pluggable UltraSPARC II UPA processor module from Sun Microelectronics enables performance upgrades and simplifies maintenance. The USP-2 supports both single and dual processor versions, and a single processor board can be upgraded to a dual processor system.

Themis' single VME slot USPIIi-1v is used to upgrade E-3 AWACS display and communications consoles. The USPIIi-1v combines the UltraSPARC-IIi, Sun Microsystems highly integrated 64-bit SPARC V9 superscalar processor, with a high speed VME64 controller. Both the value and performance of the USPIIi-1v are complemented by a complete set of workstation I/O features. ...THEMIS COMPUTER profile

Force Announces its First SPARC 3U CompactPCI System

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Oct. 17, 2001 - Force Computers today announced the Centellis™ 4550 3U system featuring Force's award-winning Sentinel™ "universal-mode" PCI-to-PCI bridge (PPB) technology for CompactPCI system or peripheral slot functionality. Based on Force's CPCI-550 SBC, it's powered by the highest performance processor on Sun Microsystems' embedded roadmap, the UltraSPARC-IIe® 500MHz processor. This four-slot, H.110 computer telephony (CT) bus-compatible system provides a flexible, reliable Solaris® 8 operating system-ready solution ideal for network firewall security, Web caching, digital subscriber line (DSL) concentration, Internet protocol (IP) over satellite, video on demand and other customer premises equipment (CPE) applications. It also supports PICMG 2.1, R2.0 Full Hot Swap in desktop or rack-mount configurations, suitable for CT integration of off-the-shelf, third-party I/O solutions.
  • 3U rackmount
  • UltraSPARC-IIe® 500MHz processor
  • 512MBytes ECC-protected SDRAM
  • Multiple storage options—18GByte hard disk drive, floppy and DVD
  • Four 10/100 Mbit 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)
"As Force's first SPARC architecture-based 3U system to leverage the leading-edge Sentinel universal bridge and the fastest embedded and power-conserving UltraSPARC-IIe processor, the Centellis 4550 gives engineers field-tested telecom-standard technology in a very small footprint. And it also offers H.110 compliance," said Luise Czech, Force product marketing manager. "With the factory-installed, embedded Solaris 8 operating system, this workstation offers CompactPCI reliability for a multitude of CPE applications requiring a reduced number of boards, and its CT integration-ready design shortens development cycles and time-to-market."

The entry-level UltraSPARC-IIe processor-based Centellis 4550 is available now under Force's Early Access Unit (EAU) program with volume scheduled for Q4 2001. Prices start at $5,260 for single-order quantities and at less than $5,000 in volume. ...Force Computers profile
Antares announces the release of Dual and Quad Gigabit Ethernet NIC

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA – Oct 15, 2001 – Antares Microsystems, a leader in both PC and Sun-Compatible I/O adapters, today announced the availability of industry leading Dual and Quad Gigabit Ethernet Network Interface card (NIC).

Due to increasing demands presented by powerful applications and limited number of PCI slots, Antares delivers an enterprise quality Dual and Quad Gigabit Ethernet NIC. The Dual and Quad Gigabit Ethernet Adapters are PCI 2.2 compliant and they offer two or four independent Gigabit Ethernet channels on a single NIC, two on (P0082) and four on (P0085). ...Antares Microsystems profile
Sun Microsystems Sun Microsystems Enhances Clustering Technology For E-Business-Critical SAP Solutions

SANTA CLARA, CA - October 15, 2001 -- Sun Microsystems, Inc. today announced that SAP users can now run their mission-critical e-Business solutions on Sun Cluster 3.0 software for increased scalability, availability and manageability. The SunPlex clustering environment offers enhanced support for users of SAP® solutions through the new Sun Cluster 3.0 7/01 HA (High Availability) Agent for SAP solutions. Sun's advanced clustering technology continues to support and complement® e-Business solutions including mySAP[tm] Supply Chain Management, mySAP Customer Relationship Management, mySAP Product Lifecycle Management and mySAP Business Intelligence, as well as the technology of SAP-Markets, Inc., the exchange company of the SAP group.

A SunPlex environment with the Sun Cluster 3.0 HA Agent for SAP solutions ensures even higher availability for the entire SAP application. If a node within the cluster goes down, others automatically take over the workload, reducing downtime and ensuring availability of critical applications. This provides the best end-to-end availability for SAP solutions because it is one of the only HA environments to monitor and fail over all components of the SAP infrastructure, from the SAP application servers to the central SAP R/3® system.

Sun Cluster 3.0 7/01 software is available immediately and the software update is free for existing Sun Cluster 3.0 software customers. For new customers, Sun Cluster 3.0 software prices start at $1,000 per server with support ranging from the entry-level Netra t1 server to the Sun Fire 15K server. ...Sun Microsystems profile
Force Computers Commemorates 20 Years of Trailblazing in Embedded Computing

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Oct. 15, 2001 - Force Computers this month commemorates 20 years of leadership in embedded computing. From VMEbus to CompactPCI® to Compact Packet-Switching Backplane (cPSB), Force sets the pace in developing and popularizing leading-edge embedded architectures.
A history of 'firsts'

Force's technological history can best be described as a history of "firsts."

As an example, a 1990 partnership with Sun Microsystems led to the first SPARC® processor-based VMEbus products and later the first SPARC/CompactPCI platforms.

Other firsts: First 68020 "zero-wait-state," 68040 and 88000 RISC processor-based VMEbus single board computers (SBCs) VMEbus-, SBus- and PCI-interface ASICs with unique functionality
Today, Force is the global CompactPCI market leader (as determined by independent industry analysts) and a major VMEbus provider as well as a key designer/developer of customized board and system platforms for OEMs—like Alcatel, Ericsson and Siemens—in telecom, data com, industrial, command and control, medical and other uses.

"Since 1981, Force has blazed the trail in embedded computing, which continues to widen in scope and grow in scale," said Ajay Shah, president and CEO of Force Computers and executive vice president of Solectron Corporation.

Open standards created the opportunity Sven A. Behrendt and Max Lösel—both experienced technologists/marketers—anticipated that VMEbus, an architecture developed under them at a prior employer, would play the lead as the first open standard bus. To take advantage of their foresight, they founded Force Computers in Palo Alto, Calif., along with a German subsidiary, in October 1981 and opened the Munich design center a few months later. By 1985, their vision was fulfilled, as Force became one of the world's two biggest VMEbus suppliers.

Past is prologue—the future looks bright As a pioneer and promoter of open systems, Force continues to drive computer bus architecture standards in industry bodies like IEEE, ANSI and PICMG. And Force continues to spearhead open standards, evidenced by its helping develop Arapahoe/3GIO, InfiniBand, PICMG 3.x and other next-generation architectures. ...Force Computers profile

Editor's note:- we don't discuss other processors much on the SPD site but as a matter of record Force claims to have produced the first "five nines" system that was NEBS Level 3-tested using Pentium® III and PowerPC™ as well as the UltraSPARC-IIe systems which are more familiar to our readers.

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