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Sun, SPARC, Solaris news - 2002, January weeks 1 - 2

See also:- article:- Looking Back on Sun's Cache Memory Problem
article:-the Rise and Fall of the SPARC Workstation Market

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Perle Systems
. "We look forward to increased visibility that the Solaris Ready logo will provide for the CS9000," said Perle Systems Inc. president, Jeff Pack. "The CS9000 has been strongly received in the marketplace for its complete feature set, which now includes SSH, and the peace of mind that comes from Perle's Lifetime Warranty. The Solaris certification will provide additional confidence within the Sun environment that the CS9000 Console Server is the product to choose."
Perle Systems CS9000 Certified "Solaris Ready"

NASHVILLE, TN - January 14, 2002 - Perle Systems Limited today announced that its CS9000 Console Server product line has achieved "Solaris Ready" status, the official verification that the console server enhances and seamlessly works within the Sun SPARC Solaris and/or X86 Sun Solaris Intel environments.

Unlike many products on the market that have not earned Solaris Ready status, the Perle CS9000 does not shut down Sun servers when the power is cycled. By not sending out a break signal, the CS9000 prevents the unwanted shutdowns. The CS9000 can be configured, however, to allow a break signal to be passed through when deliberately sent by the network administrator. This allows the administrator to take a Sun server to the "open boot prompt" only when desired.

The CS9000 was also rated Sun Safe because the RJ45 ports are surge protected, and the server includes on board security, Radius support, in and out of band management, Web management, DHCP, SLIP & PPP. To earn the Solaris Ready designation, the Perle CS9000 passed independent testing to be certified as compatible with Sun equipment and the Solaris operating system.

The Perle CS9000 is a console server, offering network managers a secure, reliable and cost-effective solution to remotely maintain and monitor servers and other network devices over a LAN/WAN network. Users can connect up to 24 servers to one console server permanently. The console ports can then be accessed via the corporate LAN/WAN (or in the event of LAN failure via a dial up modem), allowing for permanent LAN access to server console ports, as well as simultaneous access to multiple systems in a server farm environment. The Perle CS9000 provides a simple, extremely reliable, low-cost-per-port solution for remote management of distributed networks for clients such as ISP's, data warehouses, ASPs, and large corporate IT centers. Major CS9000 customers include Sun Microsystems, Vodafone and AT&T. ...Perle Systems profile

See also:- serial interface cards
Perle Systems CS9000 Certified "Solaris Ready"

Unsafe At Any Speed?

Sun Microsystems Scores Lead in High Performance Computing Market Share

Peritek Launches PMC-to-CompactPCI (cPCI) adapter board

CIOs Report on Fastest-Growing Jobs in Information Technology

Kaparel Corporation announces PS3380 CompactPCI Power Entry Module

Computone's Multi-User Solutions to Provide 'Feet on the Street' Service to iXsystems' Customers

earlier news - archive
Tape libraries on
Megabyte's cousin, Terrorbyte, had a huge tape library. It was a bit scary.

View from the Hill:

The Emerging Bright Spots in the SPARC market

Last year was the worst year in Sun's 20 year history. The combination of the IT recession, 9/11, and Sun's shooting itself in the foot with technical problems in its cache memory (thereby blowing away its hard won reliability image advantage over Wintel) and the slowness of developing faster SPARC processors could leave you with the false impression that all was doom and gloom in the SPARC systems market.

Not so.

Despite the computer industry having a bad time in 2001 (lowlights included the first ever year to year decline in PC shipments, and the biggest ever losses in the semiconductor market) there were a few bright spots emerging which you may have missed, if you thought Sun's fortunes were typical of the SPARC market as a whole.

  • The rackmount SPARC server segment continued showing double digit year on year revenue growth as customers turned to telco style packaging to reduce cost of ownership. This trend was also reported in the Intel architecture server market, and was a very fast growing segment for Dell Computer. Because rackmount configurations require a high degree of customisation and testing to meet specific user requirements, this is a segment that's not actually dominated by Sun, even though many (but not all) of the companies in this market area do use Sun motherboards. The "pile them high and ship them fast" strategy which worked so well for Sun in the boom dotcom days, doesn't work in this more conservative market segment.
  • The military SPARC market started apprehensively in 2001 as manufacturers and integrators expected to feel the cold winds of the budget cuts promised by the Bush administration finally working their way through to them. But 9/11 changed all that. Most integrators in this market have been reporting publicly (and privately) an upsurge in spending. For the US government national security has replaced tax cuts as the #1 priority, and the underinvestment in security and and defense during the last few years is now seen as a mistake. 2002 and beyond will see high growth rates for companies in this area.
  • The fault tolerant high-availability SPARC server market saw many companies reporting very high double digit revenue growth in 2001. Originally this was a niche segment within the telecom market, but I expect that this kind of system will branch out into the mainstream, and the whole segment could easily see 50% year on year growth in 2002. Although Sun has a toehold, it is really a bit player in this market. Nevertheless Sun benefits from supplying cPCI SPARC motherboards to some of the HA SPARC companies (although Force Computers actually ships more SPARC cPCI cards than Sun.)
  • The SPARC portable market, like the Intel portable market, has not seen the same down downturn experienced on the desktop. While figures are not available, we've seen a new entrant Naturetech coming in to challenge the market leader Tadpole-Cycle. Several other companies also have toeholds in this market, and if the desktop market continues to decline during 2002, we may see more viable alternatives appearing in a portable format.
Outside the SPARC market, other fast growing segments in the enterprise computing market included:-
  • Solid state disks (which many users are turning to, to speed up their SAN access). This segment saw a 500% year on year increase in buyer interest during 2001, and despite falling memory prices, many SSD makers reported high double digit revenue growth during that period. I expect this to accelerate during 2002, as more users become aware of the benefits of using this type of technology.
  • Many companies in the Tape library segment reported double digit revenue growth during 2001 while remaining profitable. Increasing volumes of digital data everywhere make libraries the most cost effective way of archiving network information.
  • The wildcard, and unexpected success story in 2001 was the huge surge in interest in iSCSI. The cutback on IT spending has made this look like an attractive option for mid range users who have not yet wired up with Fibre-channel. It offers the promise of getting some SAN functionality by leveraging existing IP networks. Capability is one thing, but performance is another. But many users will be happy to use the off-site disk synchronization offered by iSCSI and don't really need the faster performance of fibre-channel in their internal networks. There are few real products in this market, and many vendors have been taken by surprise by the speed with which this new concept has been picked up by the user community. If "interest" translates into "buying" then this will be one of the fastest growing product areas in 2002, and could do much to restore the sagging fortunes of Cisco and other IP switch makers.
And what about Sun?

Although, the prospects for many SPARC companies look good for 2002, Sun, like most large corporations will be slower than more nimble medium sized competitors to react to changing customer needs. It demonstrated its inability to do that in the fast growing network storage market in recent years, where despite its best efforts it has lost significant market share. It may be 2003 before Sun again reports quarterly revenues as good as its historic highs.

In 2001 Sun proved what many in the semiconductor market have been saying for years, that Sun's strength lies in writing C code, operating systems and compilers, and not in chip design. Unless Sun can cure the constipation in its chip design area to get faster products out the door, it will lose more enterprise server market share to the faster Intel chips.

This may be the best opportunity ever for Fujitsu to show its chip making prowess. The 2GHz SPARC chips are what the market is waiting for.
AMES Sciences
Established in 1979, Ames Sciences is an independent reseller of refurbished Sun Microsystems computers, workstations, servers and parts.

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Sun's Cache Problems Unsafe At Any Speed?

Santa Fe - January 14, 2002 - a new article in the SPARC Product Directory by IT business guru Peter Baston looks under the hood at Sun's recent server engine problems.
  • What did Sun know?
  • When did Sun know it?
  • And what did Sun do about it?
Read this critical article for a blistering commentary on the whole sorry saga, and see Peter's suggestions for what SPARC mainframe users should do now to get increased performance and reliability.
Sun Microsystems Sun Microsystems Scores Lead in High Performance Computing Market Share

SANTA CLARA, CA - January 9, 2002 - According to analyst firm IDC (International Data Corporation), Sun Microsystems Inc. is the leading provider of servers (in revenue terms) for the high performance technical computing (HPC) market for the nine month period ending September 30, 2001. With 22 percent of the $3.6B market, Sun beat rivals Compaq, Hewlett-Packard and IBM and grew its share of the total HPC market by nearly two percent over the same nine month period in the previous year.

See also:- Market research companies
Peritek Peritek Launches PMC-to-CompactPCI (cPCI) adapter board

OAKLAND, Calif. - January 8, 2002 - Peritek Corporation has introduced a new PMC-to-CompactPCI (cPCI) adapter board. The PMA-C is a 3U cPCI card that hosts any 32 or 64-bit PMC module. It speeds the integration of PMC mezzanine cards into cPCI systems, by reducing software development requirements. The PMA-C is a passive PMC to CompactPCI adapter module. There is no PCI to PCI bridge to program, which simplifies and speeds the software development process for integrating PMC (IEEE 1386) mezzanine cards into a cPCI system. Instead, the adapter makes a direct PCI bus connection between the PMC and the cPCI carrier's J1/J2 connectors.
news image Peritek

"The PMA-C is the simplest, fastest way to integrate vital PMC mezzanine cards, such as Peritek's RG-101 and VCQ graphic cards, into CompactPCI systems," stated Victor Gold, President of Peritek. "Passive carriers free integrators from unnecessary software development."

The PMA-C supports PCI Rev. 2.1, PCI 64, and provides a full 64-bit interconnec t between the cPCI and PMC Connectors. The board meets the PICMG 2.0 R3.0 revision of the CompactPCI standard. Jumpers enable the user to select 66 MHz operation, PCI PRSNT and PMC BUSMODE. The card also includes test points and power supply LEDs. The board comes standard with a 6U faceplate. A 3U faceplate version is also available.

Pricing for the PMA-C starts at $244.00 in 100 piece quantities. Availability is off-the-shelf. ...Peritek profile

See also:- cPCI to VME-bus Interfaces
RHI Consulting CIOs Report on Fastest-Growing Jobs in Information Technology

MENLO PARK, CA - January 4, 2002 - Networking once again tops the list of skills most in demand by the nation's CIOs. In the semi-annual RHI Consulting Hot Jobs Report, 18 percent of information technology (IT) executives said networking is the fastest-growing job specialty within their departments. Internet/intranet development was identified as the second most sought-after area of expertise, receiving 14 percent of the response. Data/database management ranked third with 12 percent. The Hot Jobs Report tracks job growth in information technology through a survey of more than 1,400 CIOs nationwide.

The study was developed by RHI Consulting and conducted by an independent research firm, which polled CIOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 100 or more employees. RHI Consulting is a leading provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis.

The seven specialty areas experiencing the strongest growth in U.S. corporate IT departments, as ranked by CIOs, are:
  • Networking 18%
  • Internet/intranet development 14%
  • Data/database management 12%
  • Applications development 11%
  • Help desk/end-user support 9%
  • Project management 6%
  • Systems analysis 2%
  • No growth 8%
  • Other/don't know 20%
"Networking expertise remains critical within IT departments as firms depend on their internal systems to share data companywide," said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of RHI Consulting. "In particular, demand continues to grow for professionals experienced in identifying and protecting against security breaches."

The job titles most requested within this category include network engineer, systems analyst and network security specialist. Lee noted that demand for network security experts is driving up compensation in this specialty, a trend reflected in the RHI Consulting 2002 Salary Guide. ...RHI Consulting
Kaparel Kaparel Corporation announces PS3380 CompactPCI Power Entry Module

WATERLOO, CANADA - January 3, 2002 - Kaparel Corporation, today announced the release of the their PS3380 Power Entry Module (PEM). The PS3380 is a 6U, 8HP card module that provides –48V power to a CompactPCI backplane for telecom applications. The card connects to the backplane through a rear side blind mating connector.

The PS3380 accepts –48V DC externally and provides filtered –48V to the backplane. The card is hot swappable for high availability systems and parallel operation for redundant N + 1 applications. ...Kaparel

Editor's notes:- the company also recently launched a 6U CompactPCI dual SCSI hard disk drive module. This module allows two SCSI hard disks to be added to any CompactPCI embedded system, without requiring the addition of a sub-chassis.

Computone's Multi-User Solutions to Provide 'Feet on the Street' Service to iXsystems' Customers

ATLANTA - January 2, 2002 - Multi-User Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of Computone Corporation, announced today that it has finalized an agreement with iXsystems to provide on-site services to its customers throughout North America.

Leo Bebeau, President of Computone Corporation said, "Under the terms of this agreement, users of iXsystems will be offered Multi-User's 'feet on the street' to service their rackmount servers with next business day service and 24/7 coverage options. Multi-User's knowledge of the IT market and acquired expertise in working with hardware technology makes us confident in the ability to deliver expert service." ...Computone profile, ...iXsystems profile

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