||other news on this page|
|SPARC Product Directory
||SPARC Readership Still
December 7, 2001 - Editor:- this is just a quick
note to say that readership of the SPARC Product Directory in November was 19%
up on November 2000. I interpret that as a healthy indication that the Sun
Microsystems market may soon show some signs of recovery.
comparison for our other main site STORAGEsearch
shows a year on year increase of 130%, but unlike our ancient SPARC publication
the newer 40 month old storage site is still a long way off reaching the total
available market, and still has a lot of headroom for future growth. So the
storage growth figure has to be interpreted more cautiously, and does not
necessarily reflect the state of the market in exactly the same way.
|SPARC Readership Still Growing|
Promotion Aims to Shift Slow Moving Workstation Inventory
Dataram First to Double Memory Capacity to 16 Gigabytes in
Sun's 280R Server
ACSL Marks 10 Years as a Publisher in the Sun
earlier news -
Nibble:- What Sun's Cache Memory Problem Reveals
most of this year Sun's reputation for hardware reliability was plagued by
random faults in some of their cache memory products. These problems caused a
loss of confidence in Sun's core competence as a vendor of reliable trouble free
servers. A recent
article with Sun's CEO Scott McNealy seems to draw a line under the problem,
which Sun now blames on process or design problems in the high speed SRAM chips
its was buying from IBM to use in its cache. Sun claims that data bits in the
IBM supplied SRAM were being randomly flipped by alpha particles.
about 20 years since I last heard about alpha particles affecting memory. In the
late 1970's as chip makers prepared to solve the problems of designing the then
state of the art 64K (65,536 bits) DRAM researchers at Intel Corp revealed that
naturally occurring alpha particle radiation had enough energy to flip a bit in
the new design geometry. Alpha particles occur naturally in air, and one source
is granite rock. That's why if you live in a rocky area, you are advised to
ensure that your ground floor rooms get plenty of ventilation, because the
radioactive particles can be carried up through the floor. Anyway a small amount
of naturally occurring radiation exists in most places, but unlike high energy
gamma rays, the alpha particle radiation is relatively easy to shield. So
semiconductor companies back in the 1970's were disturbed to find that their
prototype RAM chips were being affected by this radiation.
all kinds of scares at the time about what this would mean for the computer
industry, and one suggested workaround was error correcting codes (ECC) memory,
in which redundant logic was designed onto memory boards which could detect and
fix single bit errors on the fly, and detect most double bit errors.
eventually chip makers found that the material which emitted alpha particles was
actually occuring as a low level contaminent in the material which they used to
coat and protect the chips. Changing those materials solved the problem as far
as the electronics world was concerned for about 20 years.
temporary fix to the problem in their cache was to use mirrored SRAM (ECC was
not an option because the logic delay penalty cancels out the speed advantage of
using SRAM in the cache). The real problem is probably a materials or process
problem in the semiconductor manufacturing chain. Once identified, these
problems can usually be fixed quite easily.
This problem affected
thousands of users, and one Sun customer wrote to tell us their company had
replaced over 1000 UltraSPARC 2 400mhz cpus because of the ecache issue.
this have been avoided?
About two decades ago, computer companies
spent more time testing and qualifying the new components they used in new
systems, and these kinds of problems would rarely have reached customers back in
the 1980's. However increased competition has led to shorter delays between new
technology becoming available, and being shipped in volume in user systems.
Manufacturers now rely much more on computer simulations to get their basic chip
integration tested, and don't spend so much time doing physical testing of their
new systems. In the 1990's for example Intel shipped millions of flawed Pentium
chips with a floating point division bug. However, unlike Sun's cache problem
(which caused random faults), the Intel problem operated consistently and had a
Sad to say, we are going to see more of these
kinds of problems occurring in future systems from all vendors. My guess is that
Sun is now going to be ultra cautious about testing the new products it uses,
and that may account for some of the delays in getting new generations of faster
SPARC systems to market. But if they had employed a few more electronic
engineers with gray hairs in the design department, the classic symptoms might
have been identified a lot sooner and a lot of customers could have been spared
||Sun Promotion Aims to Shift
Slow Moving Workstation Inventory|
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -
December 6, 2001 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today announced the Sun Ultra
Upgrade Program, offering special discounts to Sun Ultra workstation owners who
upgrade to Sun's faster, more powerful line of Sun Blade workstations. ...Sun Microsystems
||Sun's 900MHz Rackmount|
CLARA, CA. - December 5, 2001 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today announced the
availability of the 900 MHz UltraSPARC III processor for the Sun Fire 280R
rack-optimized, entry-level server, delivering enterprise-class features and
availability for today's most demanding applications.
The Sun Fire 280R server with 900 MHz UltraSPARC III processors comes
standard with 8 MB of Level 2 cache -- more than 14 times that of most
comparable Wintel/Lintel servers on the market -- and provides up to 8 GB of
main memory, which allows for faster transactions in input/output (I/O) and
compute-intensive environments. The 900 MHz processor running the Solaris 8
Operating Environment boosts performance up to 20% over 750 MHz-based systems.
now, the price for an entry configuration is $22,995 for a dual 900 MHz Sun Fire
280R server with 8 MB of e-cache, 2 GB of memory, dual power supplies, dual 36
GB, 10000-rpm FC-AL internal disks, and DVD-ROM. The configuration comes
standard with Remote System Control. The Sun Fire 280R server can scale up to 8
GB of memory, with two 73 GB FC-AL disks in a single system. ...Sun Microsystems
the limited number of memory slots in these servers, we feel our 8GB upgrade
will be well received. Memory intensive applications such as database, EDA chip
design and 3D rendering are a few examples of the areas that will really benefit
from this extra memory," stated Paul Henke, Dataram's Director of Product
Marketing. "Dataram's advanced engineering design experience and high
density DRAM packaging techniques are showcased with this new memory. Our goal
is to give our customers more options and to improve upon, or go beyond, what
the OEM is able to provide."
||Dataram First to Double
Memory Capacity to 16 Gigabytes in Sun's 280R Server|
NJ - December 3, 2001 - Dataram Corporation today announced immediate
availability of the first 8 GB memory upgrade for Sun Microsystems' Sun Fire
280R server. Dataram's upgrade, enables customers to double the maximum memory
capacity of the Sun Fire 280R from 8GB to 16GB. This is a unique product
offering not available from the system vendor or any other memory manufacturer.
The DRS280/8192 upgrade consists of a set of four 2GB high density
DIMMs. The Sun Fire 280R server has eight memory slots, arranged as two banks of
four DIMMs for a total of 16GB. Dataram's memory upgrades can be installed alone
or mixed with Sun's memory, as long as DIMMs are installed in sets of four
identical modules. They are guaranteed to be 100% compatible with Sun's hardware
and software and are backed by a lifetime warranty and free technical support.
Contact your local sales representative for a free 30-day, no obligation
Editor's comments:- some of our advertisers are Dataram
authorized VARs who specialise in the Sun market, and will be easier for you to
contact about obtaining these products.
that an industry directory shouldn't just reflect the market it's in, but should
also help to change it. |
"A committed publisher becomes a
stakeholder in the markets they cover, and wants to see them succeed and grow"
said publisher Zsolt Kerekes.
During the early 1990's ACSL played a
part in accelerating the growth of the SPARC market by researching and supplying
critical marketing data to leading OEMs, on channels, partners, users and
In fact it was not until 1998, that the company diversified
outside the SPARC market, with the launch of its enterprise storage portal
recent years there's been a lot of new competition from heavily funded wannabe
portal publishers. ACSL sees that as a good thing, because competitive pressure
leads to better products in publishing, as well as in systems. Kerekes observed
that "if you've been competing for eyeballs with publications from Sun
Microsystems for 10 years, then no other publisher can scare you."
new competition, ACSL's readership ends 2001 at record high levels, with growth
|ACSL Marks 10 Years as a
Publisher in the Sun Microsystems Market|
December 3, 2001 -
ACSL, a publisher in the enterprise server markets, announced the 10
years anniversary of its incorporation. The company was founded in December 1991
to research the Sun Microsystems compatible market. Its best known publication
in the Sun market is the SPARC
Product Directory which started life as a printed book called the "SBus
Product Directory" in the first quarter of 1992. The publication was
renamed with its own exclusive SPARC trademark and transitioned to the web in
"Nowadays publishing our directories involves the active
collaboration of thousands of companies" said publisher Zsolt Kerekes. "But
because our publications are now so well known, my job has become a lot easier
than it used to be in the early days when I had to explain to everyone what they
were all about."
Kerekes admits that he knew nothing at all about
publishing when he started ACSL and made a lot of fundamental business mistakes
in the early years. "But luckily when the web came along, all publishers
restarted with a level playing field, and it was an ideal medium for this kind
"I'd like to thank everyone who uses
our publications, my content partners and all our advertisers for helping
ACSL get through a difficult year in 2001."
Looking ahead, in the
next few weeks, the SPARC Product Directory will include a series of articles
which will provide an up to date survey of the market landscape at the end of
2001, and predictions for the next 2-3 years ahead. ...ACSL profile