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News about SPARC systems and related companies

2002, April week 4

See also:- article:- Storage Administrators: A Changing of the Guard in IT - by MTI Technology
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Peritek
. "The PMB-C is an ideal platform for integrating multiple PMC mezzanine cards, such as Peritek's Solaris-compatible ACE/PMC graphic cards, into CompactPCI systems," stated Victor Gold, President of Peritek. "Depending on a system designer's needs, Peritek can provide this carrier either un-populated or pre-loaded and pre-tested with one or two PMC cards."
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Peritek Unveils Dual PMC-to-CompactPCI Hot Swap Carrier Board

OAKLAND, Calif. - April 30, 2002 - Peritek Corporation has introduced a new Dual PMC-to-CompactP CI adapter board. The PMB-C is a single-slot 6U CompactPCI card with front and rear panel I/O access that hosts up to two 32 or 64-bit PMC modules. This adapter board speeds and simplifies the integration of PMC mezzanine boards into CompactPCI embedded systems.

Peritek offers pre-tested and fully integrated, PMB-C carriers. In addition to Peritek's graphics cards, other types of PMC cards, including SCSI cards, are available for integration on the PMB-C. The PMB-C supports the Hot Swap (PICMG 2.1) and PCI Revision 2.2 specifications .

The board measures 233mm x 160mm. Power required for the PMB-C is +3.3 VDC, 90 mA (max.), plus additional power consumed by PMC(s) on the carrier. The PMB-C's operating temperature is rated at 0°C to 70°C.

For applications requiring use of a single PMC board, Peritek offers the PMA-C, a 3U PMC-to-CompactPCI adapter, and the PMA-P PMC-to-PCI adapter cards. Pricing for the PMB-C starts at $573.00 in 100 piece quantities. Availability is off-the-shelf. ...Peritek profile
Peritek Unveils Dual PMC-to-CompactPCI Hot Swap Carrier Board

Gartner Dataquest Says Worldwide Server Market Experienced Flat Growth in First Quarter of 2002

Sun Creates Two New Business Organizations

Quatech Announces Surge Suppression Package for USB to Serial Adapters

Aurora Launches PCI-to-StarFabric Interface

Ingram Micro, Sun and FalconStor Bring High Availability, Network Storage Solutions To Maximize Business Continuity

PDSi Ships BlueSwitch-500

New Quad PowerPC DSP Board from Dy 4 Systems, Supports Enhanced I/O Bandwidth

earlier news - archive
A Changing of the Guard in Storage
Storage Administrators: A Changing of the Guard in IT - new article by MTI Technology
Megabyte was taking Steve Lefferdink's article very seriously.

View from the Hill

Should Sun Rename All its Products in Line with the New Reorganization Thinking?


May 2002 - Sun Microsystems has recently come out of deep-thought mode and made sweeping changes to a whole bunch of things. In case you've missed them, here's a quick summary:

  • Sun is going to do Linux, like all those other computer companies which use those "Intel Inside" chips.
  • Sun has renamed most of its forgetable software products. So all those applications you couldn't remember before are now called "Sun" plus "something". Remembering half the name is better than remembering none. But wait a minute! Solaris, which was previously called SunOS, is still called Solaris. Now there's a flaw in the naming convention which no one else seems to have spotted yet.
  • Sun is making changes at the the top of the organization to bring in vitally needed new blood. So when Ed Zander retires, Scott McNealy will step in as President. Meanwhile Carly Fiorina, who is suspected of working for Sun as a double agent, will, for the time being, stay under cover in her job at HP.
  • Sun Microsystems has started up a marketing organization. Most start-ups have one in place before they do their IPO, but this is a sign of maturity in the 20 year old Sun, that it can learn from benchmarking the best practise of other organizations. I think some management consultants may have been involved here, possibly the clever ones which split off from Anderson and became called something with an accent which I can't reproduce on this keyboard, long before the Enron fiasco made it an even better idea.

Now, I know that many influential people in Sun, read the SPARC Product Directory, and look for new business ideas in these columns. So here are a few free suggestions guys and gals for the next few steps to take, while Dell is still drooling about taking over Compaq's PC and server business, and while HP does a deja vu in acquisition a la HP acquiring Apollo, and Compaq acquiring DEC. (There's a lot of foreign words in there, but I'm sure you take my point, and we do have some European readers who we want to feel comfortable here.) The strategic ideas below are not in any particular order, and are freely contributed in the spirit of open source/ open systems to be used whenever the circumstances seem appropriate / desperate.

  • Good idea #1 - rename all the "SPARC chips" to "Sun chips". So the "UltraSPARC 4" would become the "SunCPU 1". That will make it easier for all your younger customers whose memories don't stretch back far enough into all that exciting SPARC stuff in the 1980's. It will also be compatible with all the new "Sun" plus "something else" naming conventions.

    Now I realise there is a small problem here, because other companies, most notably Fujitsu also make SPARC chips, and they may cry "foul". But let's be honest, they also do a lot of that "Intel Inside" stuff. So they aren't as totally committed to the Sun success idea as Sun. But I've thought of a way around this problem as well. In the spirit of complete and utter equality, you can agree to let them call their chips, the "FujitsuCPU" family. No one could object to that, could they? And it will be a lot clearer for all end-users... Now there is a slight flaw with this plan if we look at Sun's other idea of expanding into the Intel Server market. I forgot to mention that one above, but it is true. I didn't make it up. The grit in the ointment here is that I don't think Intel will agree to Sun renaming its Pentium processors, just because they happen to be operating inside a Sun server. But that's where "thinking outside the box" becomes important.

    Sun could market the new Intel based servers as "Sun Outside."

    Eureka! I don't claim any royalty fees for that idea either.
  • Good idea #2 - concerns another software product which again seems to have missed the first round of software renaming, and we all know I'm talking about that coffee stuff. Now I've never been a great fan of Java, partly because the hype in the early days seemed to go a little bit too far when Sun's dumb terminal was named the JavaStation. Let's just admit that I was wrong, a lot of people do actually use Java, but actually on PCs. The dumb terminal idea was just, well, dumb... The problem with Java is that Sun doesn't get enough credit for the idea. So let's just rename "Java" to "Sun C" or Sun/PL (Sun Programming Language) and start all over.
  • Good idea #3 - a long time ago Sun used to feature a dog in its ads. That made the company seem a lot more friendly and approachable. So think about introducing a new animal into all Sun's ads. But not a mouse... Mice have already been done. Otherwise people may mistakenly think that Sun is a storage company.
LSI Logic
LSI Logic Corporation is a leading designer and manufacturer of communications and storage semiconductors for applications that access, interconnect and store data, voice and video.

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Gartner
. "The economic downturn and weak global business environment continue to have a great impact on customer's buying behavior," said Shahin Naftchi, senior analyst covering servers for Gartner Dataquest's Computing Platform Worldwide program. "Businesses are not ready to spend on tech products unless it's absolutely crucial. Customers mostly purchase the least expensive systems to meet their short-term needs and can show a quick return on their IT investment."
Gartner Dataquest Says Worldwide Server Market Experienced Flat Growth in First Quarter of 2002

SAN JOSE, Calif. - April 29, 2002 - The tough market conditions experienced by the server industry continued into the first quarter of 2002. Worldwide server shipments totaled 1.09 million in the first quarter of 2002, an increase of 0.6 percent over the first quarter of 2001, according to preliminary statistics by Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner, Inc.

Compaq remained in the top spot with 22.8 percent of the worldwide server shipments, followed by Dell and IBM, with 17.8 percent and 14.3 percent, respectively. Dell was the only vendor to record positive double-digit year-over-year growth

Sun Microsystems' US server shipments increased by 6.7% from 30,663 units in 1Q01 to 32,709 units in 1Q02 . But this was offset by worsening international sales. Worldwide, Sun shipped 68,655 units in 1Q02, a 1% decline from the previous year. ...Gartner profile

Editor's comments:- it looks like there's life in the old dog yet. This "year on year" growth in US SPARC shipments by Sun is very significant, and I'm surprised that Sun hasn't made more of it yet in PR terms. The "flat" level of worldwide sales is less important. Europe followed the US slowly into an IT recession, but will bounce back more quickly, following the US recovery because it never really got that deep.
Sun Microsystems Sun Creates Two New Business Organizations

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - April 29, 2002 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today announced the formation of two new business organizations.
  • Sun Software - unifies Sun's existing software organizations and software product brands. Jonathan Schwartz, currently Sun's chief strategy officer, will head the unit. Schwartz has been responsible for the company's long-range planning and development functions, including mergers and acquisitions, venture and strategic investments, and the oversight of certain strategic relationships.
  • Marketing and Business Development - is a new organization that brings together the company's corporate marketing, strategy, industry marketing, product alignment, and business development organizations. This will be led by Mark Tolliver, who previously served as president of Sun's Consumer and Embedded Division. Other positions held at Sun include vice president of Market Development and vice president of Strategy and Business Development.
These new organizations and positions will take effect July 1, 2002. ...Sun Microsystems profile

Editor's comments:- these are positive moves from Sun and will help it become more proactive. Most major software advances by systems companies nowadays are done via the acquisition route, and Schwartz has been at both ends of this process at Sun.

The new Marketing and Business Development unit is also long overdue. The business landscape has changed all around Sun, and even Sun itself has changed to a much more defensive and less admired company. After the end of the Cold War, NATO had to change many of its weapons and retarget them to smaller enemies. The recession of 2001 has left companies like Sun and EMC realising that their focus on historic competitors like IBM and HP left them blindsided about the newer companies which were coming up behind them at high speed. Some, like Dell have already overtaken them. New thinking and repositioning is required within Sun's marketing to make it seem credible and relevant to its customers.
Quatech Quatech Announces Surge Suppression Package for USB to Serial Adapters

Akron OH - April 27 - Quatech Inc. today introduced a new surge suppression package for their FreedomUSB line of multiport USB to serial adapters.

While initially designed for consumer oriented desktop applications, USB is becoming one of the leading I/O interfaces for a wide variety of PC-based industrial and commercial applications because of its low cost and Plug & Play capability. Serial adapters make USB an even more attractive choice for these applications because they enable continued use of legacy peripherals via the USB port. However, as USB was not created for this type of application, it ignores the significant problem of data line surges. For example, in industrial environments surges enter a system via other serial equipment, long cable runs, external antennas or security equipment. Static voltages can also be transferred to equipment by the materials being processed. In Point Of Sale applications, users can introduce static onto the data line via scanners or card readers.

Quatech's new "IND" option for their USB to serial adapters solves this problem by introducing suppression before the surge hits the device, thus protecting it. Each data line is equipped with a surge suppressor that is capable of sustaining up to 40A peak, 8 x 20ms transient surges, a clamping voltage of 30V (15.5V for RS-422/485 lines), and a peak energy dissipation of 0.1 Joules. The surge suppression package is available for all Quatech two, four, eight and sixteen port adapters. ...Quatech profile
Aurora Technologies
. "The PMC-SB StarFabric PCI Mezzanine Card packages all of the features and functions of a StarFabric interface in the limited space requirements of a PMC module," says Frank Fitzgerald, Director of Engineering at Aurora Technologies, Inc.
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Aurora news image
Aurora Launches PCI-to-StarFabric Interface

Brockton, MA - April 24, 2002 - Aurora Technologies' new PMC-SB StarFabric PCI Mezzanine Card, utilizing StarGen® Inc.'s StarFabric bridge technology, offers a flexible switch fabric interface to real-time networks that scale from a few to hundreds of nodes. The flexibility and scalability of the PMC-SB is ideal for many signal-processing applications, including voice, that require the use of multiple processors to achieve real-time response and throughput.

The Aurora PMC-SB is PICMG 2.17 ready and mounts on a cPCI carrier to provide a PCI-to-StarFabric interface. The PMC-SB converts a conventional parallel 32 or 64 bit PCI bus operating at up to 66 MHz to dual high-speed serial links compliant with the StarFabric protocol. The two links may be used separately for redundant fabric applications or may be aggregated for higher speed operation. Using shielded CAT5 cabling via RJ-45 or backplane interconnects allows for multi-chassis I/O expansion and interconnecting between different hardware platforms, for example linking cPCI systems and any StarFabric enabled device.

The PMC-SB currently is compatible with Microsoft® Windows® and Linux® operating systems. ...Aurora Technologies profile
FalconStor

Ingram Micro

Sun Microsystems
. "We are delighted to be working with FalconStor and Ingram Micro to leverage our technologies to address issues that are important to our customers," said Ng Kia Chiang, product sales director, Asia South, Sun Microsystems. "From our range of Sun StorEdge systems to our Storage One storage management architecture, we have shown our growing competency and leadership in storage. We are certain that with our combined strengths, our customers will benefit from this partnership."
Ingram Micro, Sun and FalconStor Bring High Availability, Network Storage Solutions To Maximize Business Continuity

SINGAPORE - April 24, 2002 - Ingram Micro Asia Ltd. and FalconStor Software, Inc. today announced a channel partnership to bring highly available network storage solutions to the South Asia marketplace.

Ingram Micro will distribute Sun's new VStor product line, which consists of FalconStor's IPStor™ bundled with the Sun Fire server, and offer services, training and education to provide corporate users with high performance, high availability to ensure business continuity. Ingram Micro also becomes a FalconStor Authorized Education Center and will conduct an IPStor-certified Engineer program, as well as build an IPStor-based Open SAN demonstration facility to hold product demonstrations, education courses, and seminars. ...FalconStor Software profile, ...Ingram Micro profile, ...Sun Microsystems profile
PDSi
. Christopher L. Winslow, Vice President of PDSI's Product Group, said, "We are seeing significant interest in the BlueSwitch-500 and telco-grade blade servers in general, as the market for intelligent network applications continues to grow. With the release of the BlueSwitch-500, PDSi will offer the most feature-rich, SPARC - based blade server computer on the market. The shipment of product marks another milestone in our development of an industry-leading line of application-specific systems."
PDSi Ships BlueSwitch-500

COLUMBUS, Ohio - April 22, 2002 - Pinnacle Data Systems, Inc. (PDSi) announced today that it began shipping its next generation telecommunications-grade blade server, the BlueSwitch-500 to beta customers and technology partners this past week. General availability is scheduled for June 2002. Targeted for next-generation wireless, messaging and softswitch applications, the BlueSwitch-500 includes leading-edge features such as dual gigabit (GB) Ethernet connectivity, a 64-bit processor, on-board storage, and full support of the PICMG 2.16 and PICMG 2.9 standards. The PICMG 2.16 specification, collaboratively developed by a consortium of leading technology companies, combines the reliability and hot-swap capabilities of popular CompactPCI architectures with the ubiquity of Ethernet connectivity. The PICMG 2.9 specification defines system management and monitoring capabilities necessary for integration into large network infrastructures.

PDSi's BlueSwitch-500 industry-leading features include a 500MHz 64-bit UltraSPARC IIe - based blade server, support for up to 2 GB of memory, dual GB Ethernet connectivity to the CompactPCI Packet Switched Backplane, PMC support (concurrent with 2 GB of memory), and a Rear Transition Module supporting storage of up to 20 GB for "system in a slot" capabilities. In addition, the BlueSwitch-500(tm) supports the full PICMG 2.9 specification with the blade server acting as either a highly available base board management controller or satellite management controller and containing PDSi-designed System Management Software for configuration and alarming.

The BlueSwitch-500(tm) will be offered on a stand-alone basis to be installed in PICMG 2.16 compliant chassis or in PDSi's own TS1350, a NEBS-compliant PICMG 2.16 integrated system designed for high-availability and high-density central office installations. ...PDSi profile
Dy 4 Systems

Force Computers
. Steve Blackman, director of marketing and business development at Wind River Systems, Aerospace and Defense Business Unit said, "The CHAMP-AV II is an excellent platform for customers using Tornado II VxWorks and/or VSPWorks in radar/sonar/and signal analysis applications. The technology is a great fit with VxWorks and VSPworks since multiple CHAMP-AV II cards can be connected together with Dy 4's StarLink switch-fabric. The environment simplifies the writing of applications for distributed computing systems and provides a truly deterministic solution for hard real-time applications that can be easily scaled with the addition of multiple boards and multiple virtual processors."
New Quad PowerPC DSP Board from Dy 4 Systems, Supports Enhanced I/O Bandwidth

Kanata, Ontario, April 22, 2002 - Dy 4 Systems, a division of Force Computers has released the CHAMP-AV II quad 500MHz PowerPC™ 7410 board with Dy 4's unique new QuadFlow™ non-blocking architecture. QuadFlow architecture provides for exceptionally high, total node-to-node data flow of up to 2GBytes/sec. combined with the power of the AltiVec® DSP enhancements of the 7410 to offer the highest performance of any VMEbus DSP product.

This new board is available in both air- and conduction-cooled versions and is targeted for complex defense and aerospace DSP applications that demand the use of large numbers of processors and a high-performance switch-fabric interconnect, such as sonar, radar and signal intelligence applications.

The CHAMP-AV II, Dy 4's second-generation DSP board, employs an independent-node architecture. Each of the four 500MHz processors has 2MBytes L2 cache and its own bank of SDRAM, each up to 256MBytes ensuring that memory-intensive applications will not suffer performance degradation compared with alternative shared memory architectures. The CHAMP-AV II provides each processing node with dual 66MHz, 64-bit PCI connections to adjacent nodes, resulting in peak bandwidth of 1056MBytes/sec into each node, and up to 2GBytes/sec peak aggregate bandwidth.

Instead of using PCI busses to relay interrupt messages, the nodes incorporate a separate hardware interface to accelerate inter-processor messaging. This significantly reduces system latency, since interrupts are routed independently of data traffic on the PCI busses.

Software support for the CHAMP-AV II includes Wind River Systems Tornado II / VxWorks and VSPWorks. Customers can choose Dy 4's IXLibs-AV library of fully optimized DSP functions designed for the board's AltiVec instruction unit. VSI/Pro VSIPL libraries are also available from MPI Software Technology. Pricing for the CHAMP-AV II starts at $17,900. ...Force Computers profile

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