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SPARC History - 2002, August week 2

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Tuning SANs with Solid State Disks - by Imperial Technology

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Antares Microsystems Antares Microsystems at SunNetwork Conference 2002

CAMPBELL, CALIFORNIA - August 13, 2002 - Antares Microsystems, a leader in Enterprise quality host bus adapters, will exhibit at the upcoming SunNetwork Conference 2002. The three-day premier Sun conference and exhibition event will take place on September 18-20, 2002, at the Moscone Center, San Francisco, California. Learn where the industry is heading, get in-depth education on Sun products not available anywhere else, participate in discussions and much more. Industry leading speakers will provide answers to your questions detailed and big-picture, common or unusual. For more information please contact Antares Microsystems. ...Antares Microsystems profile
Antares Microsystems at SunNetwork Conference 2002

Sun Launches x86 Linux Systems

New Article - Tuning SANs with Solid State Disks

SPARC International, Inc Revamps Web Site and Launches New Promotion Campaign for SPARC Brands

Advertising in the SPARC Product Directory

AVCOM Adds Key Cisco Specialization Certifications

Rave Computer is Giving Away SPARC Portables

earlier news - archive
Hard Disk Duplicators
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Spellabyte's disk duplicating process worked OK, but he wondered if in future, he should color code the barrels to avoid getting them mixed up. Color could be part of his added value

View from the Hill

A Better Windows than Windows...

A Better Linux than Linux?


For some quirky reason Sun Microsystems' launch of their Linux for Intel architecture systems at LinuxWorld in mid August, put me in mind of IBM's marketing push to get their OS/2 into PC's back in the mid 1990's, long after everyone in the PC world realised that the PC OS race was already over, and had been won by Microsoft.

IBM's phrase "A Better Windows than Windows" sounded good, and was relatively harmless. Less harmless, however, was the realization that if you bought a low cost IBM PC with Windows, then the disk also came packed with OS/2 and a bunch of other stuff which IBM thought you might find useful, just in case you changed your mind about which operating system you really wanted to boot up AFTER you had placed your order. Removing the OS/2 crud to free up disk space, was something you only did once. Next time you didn't make the mistake of buying an IBM PC. IBM's marketers at the time padded their "market share" data with millions of these dual boot, never used copies of the ill fated OS/2.

A recent Sun press release says that in keynote address to Linux enthusiasts at LinuxWorld, Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy said Sun is redefining value in the low-cost, entry server market with one of the first pre-integrated enterprise-class systems running Linux.

"There is no reason not to go to Sun for Linux - we've got the Sun ONE stack, price performance, support and services, scalability and an upgrade path," Sun CEO Scott McNealy said. "We are part of the Linux community and will stay committed through sponsorships, donations, and product deliveries. We're leveraging the Linux opportunity and helping customers at the same time by bringing enterprise-level support to the open source community."

Sun's entry level x86 server, the Sun LX50, launched a few days earlier comes preconfigured to run either Solaris or Linux, and the tone of Sun's statements about their entry into the Linux market are very much along the lines that you'll get a Better Linux than Linux from Sun.

I didn't attend LinuxWorld so I don't know if McNealy had his fingers crossed behind his back, or choked whenever he said something positive about Linux. From Sun's point of view, this is the operating system which brought rivals HP and IBM back into the Unix mainframe market long after Sun thought they had already won that race with Solaris. Sun hoped that Linux would go away, or stay a hobbyist market, but it didn't. They hoped that Intel, IBM and HP would always stay behind Sun in the race to produce the fastest processors, but that that didn't happen either. Then within less than a year of killing Solaris x86 off, and saying many rude things about Linux, and Intel, Sun has now eaten humble pie and launched a dual boot Linux/Solaris x86 server.

Who would believe it?

Well... the words "humble" and "Sun" don't fit together comfortably in the same sentence. No, instead, of eating humble pie, Sun has decided that it is going to ship a version of Linux which has lots of proprietary Sun add ons which will make it "better". If you see the light and change your mind about the Linux thing after placing your order, then not to worry. You can boot Solaris x86 instead. Somehow, I'm not sure that users will find it comforting.

Sun's Linux may be "better", but it's not Linux. Remember the fuss that Sun kicked up in the courts a few years back? When Microsoft tried to make Java better, by adding Windows and Visual basic extensions? I think Linux users will be distrustful of Sun's improvements which are designed to make applications less portable, unless you want to port over to Solaris. They've already been there with AIX and HP-UX. No thanks.

From the outside world, Sun's x86 Linux strategy today looks very similar to IBM's OS/2 strategy in the mid 1990's. Sun would have done better launching these products a few years ago when its marketing power carried more weight in the wider computer community. I suspect that most users would feel more comfortable buying a no-name brand PC installed with Red Hat Linux than a Sun LX50. A Linux box from Dell will cost less and scale upwards from day one. Or maybe I'm wrong and should stick to talking about hardware...

Readers who want to contribute their views to an expanded version of this article can email me upto August 30.

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Sun Microsystems Sun Launches x86 Linux Systems

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - August 12, 2002 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today launched a new generation of low-cost, entry level x86 systems. Sun's first product in the entry level x86 system category, the Sun LX50, is the industry's first enterprise-class, low-cost system to ship with pre-integrated and optimized software and applications - including Sun ONE software, Linux, Solaris Operating Environment, and Java technology. By pre-integrating its enterprise-class software into the Sun LX50, Sun is significantly changing the economics for its customers by offering one system, with both hardware and software, at one price.

The Sun LX50 is the first general purpose Linux-based server from Sun. The Sun LX50 is based on the standard 2.4 Linux kernel and is pre-installed on the Sun LX50 as part of an optimized and integrated system with a focus on stability, security, ease of installation and set up and remote manageability. Linux, like the Solaris OE, includes optimized and tested drivers and easily integrates with Java technology and the Sun ONE platform. The Linux version of the Sun LX50 is also fully supported by Sun's professional and support services. ...Sun Microsystems profile

Editor's comments:-
you can detect Sun's complete lack of enthusiasm for this new product line from the lack of any useful information about the new systems in the full press release. Sun's PR department has spent so long bad mouthing Linux and x86 over the years that they find it difficult including these words in a positive context in a Sun press release. They're launching these products because their market research and shareholders have been telling them to do something like this for years. But they're like actors mouthing a script which they don't really understand. My guess is that a few computer museums may buy these new systems, but Sun have little credibility in the Intel architecture space and they are unlikely to be successful.

We rarely mention Intel servers in the SPARC Product Directory, because that's not why you come here. The next time you hear about Sun's Linux Intel servers on this site could be when they pull the plug.
Imperial Technology New Article - Tuning SANs with Solid State Disks

Editor - August 12, 2002 - a new article appears on STORAGEsearch.com today called "Tuning SANs with Solid State Disks" written by Craig Harries at Imperial Technology.

The benefits of using solid state disks (SSDs) in a SAN environment go well beyond speeding up a static part of your system. This article includes useful ideas about how to architect your SAN to get the best performance even if you're not currently using SSDs.

Solid state disks can give most commercial applications a much faster speedup than the paltry 15% available by upgrading from a 900MHz to 1.05GHz Sun processor. And if you already have the 1.05GHz SPARC chips installed, then SSDs are a cost effective way to get even faster operation. ...Imperial Technology profile
SPARC International SPARC International, Inc. Revamps Web Site and Launches New Promotion Campaign for SPARC Brands

Editor - August 12, 2002 - SPARC International, Inc., the membership organization which licenses SPARC trademarks and coordinates the compatibility testing of new SPARC processors, has this week revamped its web site, as part of a new initiative to promote the benefits of SPARC technology.

One of the features of the open licensing scheme for SPARC processors is that you can download the design specifications free. So if you think you can design a better SPARC chip than Sun (faster, smaller or lower power for example) then you are free to do so. Even though Sun's revenue has plummeted this year, the total number of SPARC systems shipped by all companies (not just Sun) has actually increased. The market is a lot bigger than most people think, and part of SPARC International's new promotion campaign is to make more people aware of the widescale use of this technology. ...SPARC International
Advertising info Advertising in the SPARC Product Directory

Editor - August 9, 2002 - after reporting a readership dip in June and Sun's poor financial results in early July, I'm pleased to report a sharp upward climb in our readership for the month of July. July readership showed a 16% year on year increase compared to July last year, and showed an even bigger increase from June (2002) which was a low point. This incease is as a result of our better coverage of issues which really matter to readers.

Looking ahead... I realise from my reader emails that although the SPARC market has been around for 15 years, many of you are new to this market and would like a summary guide to help you get a feel for it more quickly. I'll be publishing one soon which includes market size data, history and trends in a short easy to digest format.

For would be advertisers. There has always been more demand for our banner ad capacity than we can supply, and this year has been no exception. In fact we decline almost as many new advertisers as we accept. For a limited period we are now able to offer banner ad capacity to new SPARC advertisers. This is due entirely to the unexpected upsurge in readership, which after more than 10 years SPARC publishing, took us a bit by surprise. ...Advertising info
AVCOM
. "These two certifications reflect AVCOM's ongoing commitment to remain abreast of the most current technology training," said Kevin Campbell, Sr. Cisco Specialist for AVCOM. "In doing so, we are able to consistently provide best-of-breed products and services that enable our customers to deploy reliable and cost-effective solutions in any environment."
AVCOM Adds Key Cisco Specialization Certifications

SILICON VALLEY, Calif. - August 8, 2002 - AVCOM today announced that it has expanded its service qualifications for Cisco Systems with two key product certifications. By achieving Wireless LAN and VPN/Security specializations, AVCOM augments its status as a Cisco Silver Certified Partner and adds to its capabilities in the design and implementation of leading-edge Cisco products.

The Wireless LAN specialization recognizes AVCOM for its knowledge and expertise in building and maintaining end-to-end wireless network connections throughout or between buildings, without the limitations of wires or cables. This specialization focuses on the award-winning Cisco Aironet wireless LAN products for enterprise, small and midsize business markets. The Aironet Series product line combines mobility and flexibility with the throughput and security users demand from a business LAN. ...AVCOM Technologies profile
Rave Computer Rave Computer is Giving Away SPARC Portables

Editor - August 8, 2002 - SPARC portables have become very desirable items, as shown up in our recent Top #10 SPARC Systems Companies article.

This week Rave Computer started a promotion which gives away a free 400MHz Sun UltraSPARC-IIe laptop from Naturetech, to customers who buy a 1.5TB InfiniSAN rackmount storage system before September 30th. ...Rave Computer profile

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