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News about SPARC systems and related companies

2001, November week 2

See also:- article:- Re: Sony's S-AIT - by Jean-Jacques Maleval Editor of StorageNewsletter
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Themis Computer USPIIe SPARC VME server
VMEbus SPARC CPU cards
news about summary other news on this page
Aberdeen Group
. Today, the high-end of the HPC market is dominated by proprietary systems often running Unix and/or Unix cluster software from large system vendors, such as Compaq, Hewlett Packard, IBM, SGI, and Sun, and large supercomputers such as the T3E from Cray. Aberdeen research indicates that more than 70% of the revenue generated from HPC sales activities comes from the high-performance mid-range and technical servers areas, where systems cost $1M or less. These are the two areas where Linux is expected to rapidly dominate. As growing evidence of the impact that Linux is having on the HPC market, the Top500 list of the world's most powerful computer systems has Linux clusters ranked as the 30th and 31st most power computer systems in the world.
Linux to Dominate High Performance Computing in Less than Three Years

BOSTON, MA — November 14, 2001 - In an InSight released today, Aberdeen Group, a leading market analysis and positioning services firm, states that Linux will dominate most segments of high performance computing (HPC) by 2004. This research is a result of Aberdeen's Linux and Open Source Software practice, which covers emerging and established Linux hardware and software suppliers.

"There is growing interest in Linux clusters for hosting HPC applications because of the relatively large price/performance advantages that clustered Linux systems have over proprietary systems," says Bill Claybrook, Research Director at Aberdeen Group. "With the same amount of money that users are willing to spend on proprietary systems, they often get several times the computing power with Linux clusters."

The InSight, entitled Is Linux Domination of the High Performance Computing Marketplace Imminent? examines and profiles the primary competitors in the HPC marketplace. Currently, Compaq leads the HPC market share race, but IBM dominates the Top500 list with 200 systems, followed by Sun with 81 systems. ...Aberdeen Group profile
Linux to Dominate High Performance Computing in Less than Three Years

GNP Computers Announces High-Availability VoIP Application on Sun Microsystems Servers

Peritek Launches Extended Life-Cycle, Advanced Graphics CompactPCI® Board Family

AVAKI and Sun Accelerate Enterprise Adoption of Global Grid Infrastructure

Force Announces All-Encompassing High Availability Architecture Platform Initiative

Tadpole Enters SPARC-Based Appliance Market Leveraging Stonesoft's Secure Application Initiative

SMC Networks Enters Layer 3 Switch Market with Introduction of Chassis-Based and 24-Port Managed Standalone Switches

The Sun Oracle Applications Technology Center: Open for Business

Force Stresses Breadth of Embedded Portfolio in Worldwide Integrated Communications Campaign

earlier news - archive
Serial ATA - Auntie Wanda
Serial ATA on
Megabyte's Auntie, Wanda Spellerbyte, liked to use a mixture of traditional and new technology when gadding about her relations.
Nibble Re: Solid State Disks

Readers of STORAGEsearch have increased their interest in Solid State Disks (SSDs) this year by a staggering 500%.
  • In January/February 2001, 1.3% of readers visited the SSD pages.
  • In October 2001, over 6% of readers visited the SSD pages.
As we've got a larger readership than any other enterprise storage portal, and because SSDs are a well established feature on this site (since 1998), it's reasonable to assume that the growth in reader interest is significant and probably indicates a real market trend.

SSDs are not new (the first SSDs appeared in military systems in the 1980's), but I'm speculating that there are two likely reasons for the recent surge in interest.
  • the increasing use of SANs. SAN's give higher throughput and better network utilisation of storage assets, but... response times are slower than using directly attached storage. SSDs enable users to cache time critical parts of their network storage to overcome this problem.
  • the Sun installed base of servers has been starved of faster processor clock speeds in 2001, with most new SPARC systems typically offering 900MHz instead of the 2GHz which the market actually needs. Traditionally many Sun users would have upgraded their servers by now. Market data shows that has not happened. The Sun server market declined much more steeply than the Intel Pentium server market. The only realistic options for Sun users who needed application speed ups have been to buy more of the (slower) processors, or tune their system performance using products like SSDs.
The first analysis above (SAN), suggests that SSDs will eventually become mainstream network storage tools. The second (lack of fast enough SPARC upgrades) would result in a temporary increase in SSDs as a system speed up. We'll report on this again later to see how the trend is going.

See also:- Solid state disks

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Themis Computer USPIIe SPARC VME server
VMEbus SPARC CPU cards
. Continuant Cluster Suite is an amalgam of Continuant Cluster, the Continuant System Manager, and Continuant Watchdog.

GNP uses its patent-pending Natural Clustering Technology (NCT) to adapt the parallel-processing method "Linda" for telecommunications applications. NCT allocates a portion of each processor's memory to a virtual shared memory, or tuple space. Any processor can read a tuple, process it and return the results back into tuple space.

The Continuant System Manager eliminates non-hardware-based failures within the system and eliminates the need for a dedicated, onsite System Administrator (SA) by automating routine SA tasks. Continuant System Manager includes modules that provide a complete operations framework. The hardened UNIX facility protects the Solaris Operating Environment from damage in case of shut down. Several modules monitor the system, detect changes, diagnose and isolate system faults, manage failover, repair failures, and reconfigure the system when changes occur. Continuant Watchdog is a fully scalable System Management Framework for diagnostic and fault management of all system elements.
GNP Computers Announces High-Availability VoIP Application on Sun Microsystems Servers

MONROVIA, Calif. - November 13, 2001 - GNP Computers today unveiled an application-ready high availability (HA) telecommunications platform for voice-over-Internet-protocol (VoIP) applications. This new platform integrates a Sun Microsystems NEBS Level 3 telecom server - the Netra™ ct based on the Solaris™ 8 Operating Environment - with GNP's Continuant Cluster Suite middleware, which is capable of delivering 99.999 percent uptime in telecommunications switching applications, providing load sharing, fault detection and recovery, and managing multiprocessor systems.

This cPCI carrier-grade network server is based on Sun's commercially available high-density rackable Netra ct servers, designed for telecommunications development. This platform is comprised of a Netra ct 800 and two Netra ct 400 servers running the Solaris 8 Operating Environment for high I/O density in a flexible, scalable and serviceable delivery platform that is crucial to Network Equipment Providers.

Arlen Vanderwel, chief technology officer of Sun Microsystems, Network Equipment Provider division, says of Sun's position: "By working with GNP, we are showing our customers that, jointly, we can implement powerful servers that meet their expectations for 5-9s reliability. "This is a real plus for expanding the telecommunications infrastructure in these tough economic times. Our Netra ct server configuration with GNP's Continuant Cluster Suite middleware provides availability levels required for telecommunications applications."

The Sun-based server platform provides a baseline application configuration complementary to Sun Netra cPCI boards. It implements a complete VoIP Media Gateway Controller operating under the direction of Continuant Cluster Suite. Each of the four active control nodes within the system has a Netra CP1500 CompactPCI board and runs the Solaris 8 Operating Environment. The scalable server achieves rapid switchover among all four nodes using Continuant Cluster Suite preventing any break in service in the event of a node hardware failure. ...GNP Computers profile

See also:- High Availability SPARC systems
. "Embedded system designers have been victimized for too long by the rapid product churn of PC graphics chipsets," stated Victor Gold, President of Peritek. "By providing both the graphics board and its on-board graphics accelerator, Peritek is better able to meet the long design life-cycle needs of the embedded market."
Eclipse3 for Solaris/Linux:
  • UltraSPARC IIi/IIe compatible for Solaris
  • f-code firmware for Solaris
  • Loadable DDX module for Solaris
  • x86 and PowerPC compatible for Linux
  • Support for the XFree86 X Server is provided in most Linux distributions
  • VGA BIOS for Linux
Software provided by Peritek includes a Graphics Library Package (Aurora3), Windows NT4.0 drivers (Corona3), and DDX drivers (Eclipse3). Third-party drivers are also available; contact the factory for more information.
Peritek Launches Extended Life-Cycle, Advanced Graphics CompactPCI® Board Family

OAKLAND, Calif. - November 13, 2001 - Peritek Corporation has introduced a new family of high-resolution cPCI graphics controllers. Comprised of three boards, the ACE (for Aurora, Corona, and Eclipse) family of 3U cPCI graphics boards frees embedded system designers from the short product life-cycles of controllers based on PC-related graphics chipsets.

In an industry first, the ACE boards represent a "universal" graphics solution for system designers, offering three different operating system "flavors" to support the widest range of system environments. ACE comprises the Aurora3, the Corona3 and the Eclipse3. Aurora3 supports the most popular real-time operating systems, including VxWorks®, and LynxOS®. Corona3 supports Windows®NT ,Windows®2000 and Windows®XP environments. Eclipse3 supports Solaris®, Unix and Linux operating systems. All configurations are available with either a 3U or 6U faceplate.
news image Peritek ACE
These boards support screen resolutions up to 1920 x 1200, and feature the 128-bit Borealis3 graphics accelerator, manufactured for Peritek by LSI Logic. Because Peritek supplies the graphics processor, it is able, unlike other graphics boards vendors, to provide the extended product life cycles demanded by embedded applications.

ACE Common Features: The ACE boards support screen resolutions ranging from VGA to UXGA for both Windows and real-time operating system applications, and provide Sun Microsystems' Creator Graphics-compatible resolutions for Solaris, Unix and Linux applications. All three graphics board configurations are powered by Peritek's Borealis3 graphics accelerator, and support 8, 16, or 32-bits per pixel with 16.7 million colors. Additional features include a 250 MHz dot clock, horizontal scan rates from 31.5 to 115 KHz and a hardware bit-mapped cursor. On-board I/O includes a front panel video connector for VGA-compatible monitors or 3-wire Sync-on-Green analog monitors. On-board video display memory can be configured as 16MB or 32MB of SGRAM.

Pricing is the same for each board "flavor" and starts at $656.00 in 100 piece quantities with 16MB of SGRAM. Availability is off-the-shelf. ...Peritek profile

Sun Microsystems
AVAKI and Sun Accelerate Enterprise Adoption of Global Grid Infrastructure
. Sun Grid Engine 5.2.3 software manages and submits jobs to specified machines within a cluster, facilitating the processing of compute intensive tasks and maximizing the available power of the local network. AVAKI 2.0 unifies and makes transparently available all networked resources - data, processing, and applications - in a single virtual environment, an AVAKI grid. By integrating the two, AVAKI and Sun empower IT departments to easily implement campus grids, by linking together local cluster grids within a wide area environment-potentially distributed across the world-resulting in much higher productivity across the enterprise.
DENVER, SUPERCOMPUTING - November 13, 2001 - Today, Sun Microsystems Inc., and Avaki Corporation, announced a joint effort to further the advancement of their grid technologies to accelerate the adoption of grid computing in enterprises worldwide. The parties will focus on extending the existing interfaces between Sun's distributed resource management software, Grid Engine 5.2.3, and AVAKI 2.0, to allow enterprise customers deploying cluster grids to enjoy the full benefits of the grid computing model. As users are able to increase productivity through more efficient job handling and CPU utilization, they also gain secure, virtualized access to data and compute resources in wide-area, multi-platform environments, as a result of tried and tested best-of-breed Sun and AVAKI solutions.

This latest development is an important milestone according to Wolfgang Gentzsch, director, Grid Computing, Sun Microsystems, Inc., "Our efforts with AVAKI are a prime example our commitment to making the global grid a reality. While other vendors are just talking about it AVAKI and Sun, are solving the problem of resource sharing, access and security across global enterprise departments, customers and partners." ...Avaki profile

"In defining HA2, Force lays out a product roadmap adaptable to emerging technologies and needs," said Eric Gauthier, Force Systems Business Unit corporate director of product marketing. "With this open architecture, OEMs can rest assured that their valuable application developments can seamlessly port to newer platforms as they appear on the upgrade path, generating implementation and design synergies for improved efficiency and longevity."
Force Announces All-Encompassing High Availability Architecture Platform Initiative

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Nov. 12, 2001 - Force Computers today announced the Force High Availability Architecture (HA2) platform initiative, the new basis for its future High Availability (HA) systems. To answer the need for making data communications and telecommunications "five nines" or "six nines" available-online 99.999 percent or 99.9999 percent of the time-Force's HA2 defines an all-encompassing, open standards-based hardware and middleware HA architecture. Then the resulting highly available systems can protect application developments against technology evolution, ensuring seamless platform migration at optimum price/performance points.

"With HA leadership dating back to 1998, Force has experience with its own Solaris-based Centellis CO 88000 products as well as OEM projects involving Windows NT® clusters," said Jens Wiegand, Force Systems Business Unit corporate director of system marketing and technologies. "Leveraging this real-world expertise, Force now provides a whole new concept for High Availability that we've dubbed HA2."

Platform independence leaves room for growth In defining the HA2 architecture and interfaces (e.g. APIs), Force leaves room for implementation flexibility. This allows developers to scale performance, function and even availability of their applications. OEM requirements for HA can then map to HA features for a very cost-effective implementation, giving customers the best possible price/requirement point-all enabled by HA2.

To establish room for application flexibility and growth, Force has defined the HA2 architecture to be platform independent, independent of bus, processor and operating system. Force's first HA2 products support the CompactPCI®, PICMG 2.16 and PCI bus open standards based on redundant Pentium® III processor/Linux(tm) OS-powered single board computers. And a spectrum of related Force HA systems will offer competitive platforms for multiple markets. ...Force Computers profile

Robert Butchko, Tadpole's vice president of sales and marketing, comments: "Tadpole's new appliances embedded with Stonesoft's clustering and security gateway applications opens a new page in the company's history of building best-of-breed systems for compute dense environments. Mid-sized enterprises now have tailored SPARC solutions that can be simply installed out-of-the-box into existing networks, and will dramatically reduce customers' deployment and operational costs."

George Stacey, director of Stonesoft's Global Infrastructure Partner program, adds: "Our relationship with Tadpole initiates a new, dynamic, and growth orientation for Stonesoft and our partners. The introduction of pre-configured ServerCluster platforms is only the beginning. As Stonesoft announces new applications we will partner with industry leaders like Tadpole to serve an ever-growing demand for "appliantized" solutions.
Tadpole Enters SPARC-Based Appliance Market Leveraging Stonesoft's Secure Application Initiative

Carlsbad (CA), Cambridge (UK), Atlanta and Helsinki, November 12, 2001 - Tadpole has allied with Stonesoft and becomes one of the founding members of the software firm's new Secure Application Partner Program. The alliance facilitates Tadpole's entry into the $16 billion appliance market and enables it to offer mid-sized enterprises best-of-breed plug and play UltraSPARC-based systems pre-loaded with Stonesoft's advanced ServerCluster software to ensure high-availability applications and databases.

Tadpole's new appliances will slash the time it takes a customer to evaluate and install a new system, and gives the added benefits of making customers more productive in a shorter timeframe, saving them money, and dramatically reducing operational risks. The alliance generates mutual benefits to Tadpole and Stonesoft allowing each to accelerate their growth strategies from the fast growing appliance market.

The initiative calls for leading IT vendors with enabling, complementing, or reinforcing technologies to integrate into Stonesoft's pre-tested and certified interoperability solutions yielding reduced deployment cycle and higher confidence in enterprise security or application availability.

Tadpole's new line of Stonesoft-certified appliances are designed as building blocks to meet customers' specific network requirements and provide key business advantages of plug-in deployment, early return on investment, and reduced total cost of ownership. The Solaris-based appliances, clustered with Stonesoft's ServerCluster, allows applications and databases to migrate automatically from one appliance to another in the event of software crash or system failure thus keeping applications and data available on a 24 x 7 basis. They also allow system administrators to easily switch-over appliances for maintenance purposes, or to scale out the cluster by bringing new appliances into the cluster on-line. ...Stonesoft profile, ...Tadpole-Cycle profile

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SMC Networks SMC Networks Enters Layer 3 Switch Market with Introduction of Chassis-Based and 24-Port Managed Standalone Switches

IRVINE, Calif. - Nov. 12, 2001 – SMC Networks, a leading solutions provider of networking products engineered to increase the performance and productivity of small-to-medium enterprises, today announced the launch of four high-performance networking solutions.
  • TigerChassis 10/100/1000 (SMC9712G) Providing wire-speed Layer 2 and Layer 3 managed switching, the 12-slot TigerChassis 10/100/1000 offers the flexibility, versatility and redundancy characteristics of chassis-based switching, giving organizations the ability to expand and tailor the system to meet its unique network requirements. Scalable from 8 to 96 Fast Ethernet ports and from 1 to 24 Gigabit Ethernet ports, using a variety of available SMC modules, the TigerChassis is an all-in-one solution that meets organizational requirements for high port-density and routing between subnets and VLANs. Aside from a design that allows full redundancy from the switch fabric modules down to the power and cooling systems, the TigerChassis boasts a robust feature set including support for IP routing, (RIP v1, RIP v2), with future support of OSPF, DVMRP and PIM. Additionally, the switch supports IEEE 802.1Q VLAN tagging, multicast filtering and RMON. The TigerChassis 10/100/1000 will be available mid-December 2001 at an estimated street price of $3,120.00.
  • TigerSwitch 10/100 (SMC6724L3) TigerSwitch 10/100 is a standalone Layer 2 and Layer 3 managed 24-port switch designed to provide seamless integration of network subnets and VLANs through the use of IP routing which augments or replaces slow legacy routers, and provides the required throughput for today's Web-based Intranet traffic. In addition to the 24 auto-MDIX 10/100 ports, the TigerSwitch 10/100 provides 2 expansion slots that accept optional 100BASE-FX or 1000BASE-X modules. The TigerSwitch 10/100 supports advanced features such as link aggregation, VLANs, GVRP, and priority queuing in Layer 2 switching, with future support for protocols such as OSPF routing and DVMRP in Layer 3. The TigerSwitch 10/100 will be available immediately at an estimated street price of $1,800.00
  • TigerSwitch 1000- Gigabit 10/100/1000 (SMC8606T and SMC8606SX) The TigerSwitch 1000 (SMC8606SX) supports up to six 1000BASE-SX Gigabit fiber ports. The TigerSwitch 1000 (SMC8606T) supports six 1000BASE-T Gigabit copper ports and a tri-speed Gigabit backbone designed to handle the requirements of heavy traffic workgroups and power users. Both switches support an aggregated bandwidth of 16Gbps, which will be fully utilized when the two optional GBIC expansion slots are installed for connections up to 5 kilometers in distance. Both TigerSwitch products support RMON, SNMP, QoS, VLANs, and port trunking for power application. Other integrated features including IGMP snooping, storm broadcasting control, Spanning Tree support and port mirroring. Only 1RU high, the compact SMC 8606T switch is available now at an estimated street price of $1860.00 for the SMC8606T. The SMC8606SX is expected to be available at the end of December at an estimated street price of $2,442.00.
...SCM Microsystems profile

Sun Microsystems
The Sun Oracle Applications Technology Center: Open for Business

Nov. 9, 2001 - Sun Microsystems and Oracle today announced help for users who are looking to optimize Oracle Applications on the Sun platform. Visit the Sun Oracle Applications Technology Center (SOATC), a service center dedicated to Oracle and Sun prospects and customers. Located in Menlo Park, Calif., the SOATC provides access to engineers, configuration and sizing data, and proof-of concept workshops for Oracle Applications and Sun technology. Continuing Sun and Oracle's joint commitment to maximizing customer's deployment of Oracle9i and Oracle E-Business Suite on Sun technology, the center will also showcase the new, pre-tested, pre-installed and optimized Oracle E-Business Suite Certified Configuration, powered by Sun systems. ...Oracle profile, ...Sun Microsystems profile
Force Computers

"Now in its 20th year leading embedded computing, Force Computers makes the case anew for its preeminent industry position with these simple, direct 'One Company, 4 Solutions' messages," said Diana Loredo, Force director of corporate communications. "While others take aim at their competitors or talk about meaningless slogans, Force just lays out the facts: system platforms for 99.999-percent availability, small form-factor rack-mounts, SBCs based on cPCI, cPSB, PMC and VME open standards—with choice of the three most popular microprocessors—and Tailor Made board- and system-level solutions designed and manufactured to exact customer specifications."
Force Stresses Breadth of Embedded Portfolio in Worldwide Integrated Communications Campaign

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Nov. 8, 2001 - Force Computers today announced its new "One Company, 4 Solutions" integrated communications campaign running worldwide in current issues of leading embedded computing trade publications, on the Internet and through requested interactive marketing. In a rotation of four strategically placed messages, the company emphasizes how its broad selection of board- and system-level computing platforms provides a comprehensive outsource solution for OEMs. From High Availability architectures to off-the-shelf systems to single board computers (SBCs) to customized design and development, no other embedded computing provider matches Force's OEM-friendly solution portfolio.

You can find out more about this new campaign by clicking on the image below. ...Force Computers profile
FORCE COMPUTERS news image - Force marketing campaign, click for more info
Editor's comments:- (putting my MarketingViews hat on now) it's actually very difficult to get customers to hold more than one product picture in mind for the same company, and classical marketing theory suggests that if you want to be a leader in more than one product segment it's easier to set up a new brand or company, rather than try to stretch one brand across multiple markets. Famous examples of companies which didn't succeed doing this include
  • AT&T - which invented Unix but failed in the computer market,
  • BT - the UK national telephone company, which failed to get anywhere in the mobile cellphone market after deregulation
  • Wordperfect - once the #1 wordprocessor company, which diversified in so many directions that it disappeared out of sight.
That's one of the reasons that the Ford Motor Company bought Jaguar, because it was cheaper than extending the Ford brand into the luxury car market.

The most famous example of a company which did succeed in attaching a world leading brand to a variety of different markets was Richard Branson's Virgin. The Virgin brands include an airline, financial services, music distribution and soft drinks. So it can be done, but it's difficult, even when the product segments are linked by common core technologies, as in the case of the Force Computers campaign.

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