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News about SPARC systems and related companies

2004, March

See also:- article:- Are Sun's Days Numbered?
article:- Data Recovery for Sun Servers
article:- Predicting the SPARC Server Market - (2007 to 2009)
current SPARC news, earlier SPARC news, SPARC manufacturers, Articles about Sun
SPARC History:- March 2000, March 2001, March 2002, March 2003, March 2004, March 2005, March 2006

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NatureTech Launches Dual Processor (1.28GHz UltraSPARC) Portable

Taipei , Taiwan & Fremont California - March 29, 2004 - NatureTech launches its latest mobile technology of Proso 2000, a 64-bit IIIi dual processor-capable portable solution.

Offering best-of-class price/performance, The Proso 2000 is equipped with 15¨ UXGA TFT panel (1600 by 1200), up to two 1.28GHz UltraSPARC IIIi processors, 16 GB of DDR SDRAM with ECC. Proso 2000 provides high-throughput connectivity, including dual Giga-bit Ethernet, smart card reader, USB 2.0 and SCSI ports. The graphics is with outstanding performance for visually demanding graphics applications through the support of Sun XVR-100, XVR-600 and XVR-1200 graphics accelerators.

The pre-installed Solaris 9 Operating System provides 100% binary compatibility with all Solaris applications including Sun Java Enterprise System. Proso 2000 enables the mobility with superior reliability, availability and Serviceability for the advanced working environment.

"NatureTech has taken the lead as Sun Microsystems' iForce Partner to develop complimentary portable solutions using dual Sun IIIi processors," Wenson Chang, NatureTech President said. "By taking advantage of the 128-bit JBUS, we are able to deliver the highest performance portable solution with more than 3 times as much computing power than current IIi notebooks on the market."

The system is also break the bottleneck for internet transmission by Giga-bit LAN & improve the storage access through SCSI HDDs. The company said its Dual IIIi CPU portable product provides 64MB frame buffer memory acts like portable visualization workstations and are ideal for GIS, military, scientific applications, design engineering, MCAD, CAD/CAE and visual simulation applications. ...Naturetech profile

Precision I/O Gets $10 million in Venture Funding to Increase Ethernet Throughput for Servers

PALO ALTO, Calif. - March 29, 2004 - Precision I/O, Inc., has raised $10 million in venture funding to bring to market a new high-performance server I/O architecture based on Ethernet.

The company's products, to be introduced beginning in mid-2004, will open up the server-to-network bottleneck that has plagued enterprises in their efforts to bring the benefits of high-speed networking to data-center and high-performance computing applications. Judy Estrin, Precision I/O's chairman and acting CEO, said the company is the first to solve the server I/O problem using standard IP/Ethernet infrastructure. Previous approaches have been proprietary solutions or complex new switch fabric technologies (e.g., InfiniBand) that require users to deploy a costly secondary switch infrastructure and make significant software modifications.

Precision I/O products will be implemented initially as software solutions that support network speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second, and later as hardware/software solutions that support wire-rate processing of 10 Gbps. Products will be offered for Unix, Linux and Windows operating system environments. The company plans to sell its products chiefly through system integrators, value-added resellers and OEMs.

"Organizations implementing new network computing architectures - cluster or grid computing, blade servers, NAS and the like - have been frustrated by seeing the server-to-network bottleneck essentially cancel out potential gains in application and network performance," Estrin said. "Similarly, existing enterprise servers have run out of steam because they are wasting valuable CPU cycles on I/O that could be used to support more users or to accelerate business-critical applications. Customers face an endless upward cost spiral as they buy more and more servers to compensate.

"The industry has made several attempts to deal with this problem. TCP Offload Engine (TOE) solutions are based on standard Ethernet, but they mistakenly treat the protocol processing, instead of the operating system overhead, as the primary performance obstacle. InfiniBand involves a solution that bypasses the OS – the key to achieving very low latency – but forces users to implement a new network fabric side-by-side with their packet-switched IP networks; this adds untold cost and complexity, requiring new hardware and drivers as well as changes to applications. A third solution, remote direct memory access (RDMA), adds a whole new protocol that must be deployed at both ends of the wire to achieve any performance improvement at all." ...Precision I/O profile

NextCom Launches Mobile Workstation and Server for Mil-Aero and Homeland Security

Nashua, NH - March 25, 2004 - NextCom LLC announces the availability of an enhanced version of its PowerSPARC product line targeted at deployable military-aerospace and homeland security applications.

PowerSPARCII is the next generation mission critical and mission deployable enterprise open standards computing platform. This all in one Mobile Graphics Workstation and Mobile Server is reconfigurable, expandable, and deployable. Why haul around all that rack mount equipment in bulky transit cases when you can take it and go with PowerSPARC by NextCom? Workstation features include:-
  • 64-bit UltraSPARC IIi 650MHz running Solaris 8 or 9
  • Sun XVR100 graphics, 64MB VRAM, 1600x1200 resolution, Dual Head and Panoramic capable. Second (external flat panel head) resolution support to 1920x1200
  • 4GB DRAM, removable hard drives to 160GB
  • Dual Ethernet and (optional) Wi-Fi 802.11g
  • Small footprint (12 3/4" x 9 7/8")
  • Magnesium Alloy Case with Passive Cooling. Rugged transit case.
Mobile server features include:-
  • Bootable Dual Ethernet (NAS storage and connectivity)
  • Bootable Ultra Wide 40 MB/Sec SCSI (DAS, RAID)
  • Wi-Fi 802.11g (Optional)
  • 4x USB 2.0 plug and play support
  • Reconfigurable computing with Quick-Time removable boot and data drives
  • Built in UPS, 19VDC input
  • Small footprint (12 3/4" x 9 7/8"), Magnesium Alloy Case with Passive Cooling. Rugged transit case.
Product availability is 2 weeks ARO. ...NextCom profile

Editor's comments:- names are funny things and trigger odd recollections. Older readers may remember the SPARC power micro-P. This was a chip level processor upgrade for the SPARCstation 2, designed and made by Weitek

Sun Offers Buy Now, Pay Later Deals to Help Migration to SPARC IV

Santa Clara, Calif. - March 24, 2004 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today announced programs aimed at helping customers adopt recently UltraSPARC IV technologies as they become readily available in CYQ2 2004.

Sun Microsystems Finance is introducing two special, limited-time offers that make it easy and affordable for customers to acquire UltraSPARC III technology today with a defined migration process to UltraSPARC IV systems:

UltraSPARC III Processor "50/50+5" Offer To entice customers that traditionally prefer to purchase technology, Sun is offering the acquisition of UltraSPARC III processor-based Sun Fire 4800 and 6800 systems for 50% down with the remaining 50% due in 12 months. From month six onward, customers have the option to acquire an UltraSPARC IV processor upgrade kit, and spread the cost over five interest-free payments. Or they can roll the entire balance due into an attractive leasing plan.

UltraSPARC III Processor "Two Payments on Us" Lease Option Sun is also currently offering a 24-month below market rate lease for UltraSPARC III processor -based Sun Fire 4800 and 6800 systems. As part of this promotion, Sun will pay the first two monthly payments with absolutely no cost to the customer. Additionally, customers have the option to acquire an UltraSPARC IV processor upgrade kit, at any time after month six with no interest, by simply dividing the upgrade cost by the remaining term of the lease and adding the resulting sum to the existing monthly payment.

Both plans are available in the U.S. through Sun sales and Sun authorized iForce Partners. Offers expire June 30, 2004 ...Sun Microsystems profile

Fujitsu Bundles Element Management Software with SPARC Server

Richardson, TX - March 16, 2004 - Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. announced today the immediate availability of a fully integrated and powerful optical network management solution combining the NETSMART 1500 Element Management System and the PRIMEPOWER 650 server from Fujitsu.

This bundled solution is positioned for telecommunication service providers and Multiple System Operators. There are over 300,000 Fujitsu DWDM and SONET network elements deployed in North America, and service providers can use NETSMART 1500 software to manage them.

The current version of NETSMART 1500 software is a "best in class" EMS. It includes features that significantly reduce the time to provision circuit connections, and it provides network management teams with the capability to manage existing connections and perform alarm correlation.

The PRIMEPOWER family of SPARC compliant Solaris compatible servers grew out of the considerable mainframe expertise and global reputation for enterprise IT leadership from Fujitsu, the world's fourth-largest computer company. The PRIMEPOWER servers have consistently outperformed competitors in head-to-head testing and have earned a reputation for reliability and exceptional value. ...Fujitsu profile

Dataram Doubles Memory Capacity of Sun Fire V440

Princeton, NJ - March 3, 2004 - Dataram Corporation today announced that it has successfully completed validation of a 4GB upgrade for Sun Microsystems' Sun Fire V440 server.

The upgrade, DRS240/4096, which doubles the current maximum memory capacity from 16GB to 32GB, is not currently offered by Sun. ...Dataram profile

Rave Supplies NextCom's SPARC and IA Notebooks

Editor:- March 2, 2004 - Rave Computer has recently become a distributor for NextCom's SPARC and Intel Architecture notebooks.

The SPARC models are available with processor speeds upto 650MHz, and either Solaris 8, 9, or Linux OS.

The Intel models are available with processor speeds upto 3.2GHz and can be preloaded with Solaris 9 x86, Linux, or Microsoft Windows. ...NextCom profile, ...Rave profile

Financial Insights Examines SCO Litigation Against LINUX End-Users and Its Impact on Banks

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. - March 1, 2004 - A new report by Financial Insights (an IDC company) explores the proposed actions by SCO Group to pursue users of Linux. Financial Insights considers the potential impact of the next wave of litigation expected from The SCO Group.

SCO's continuing litigious actions have increased fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the future of "free" Linux, but end-users have been by-standers so far. SCO's next gambit is to launch litigation against an end user organization using Linux, and at least one financial institution is on SCO's "short list" of targets. End-user litigation will increase the stakes, bringing this issue to a head throughout the banking industry as liability becomes a real threat.

According to Jeanne Capachin, research director in Financial Insights' Corporate Banking group, "whether SCO's claims are boundless or valid, its actions are having an effect on Linux and its adoption in the financial services industry. Bankers, already skittish about new technology, will have one more reason to let the Linux bandwagon pass them by."

QLogic Affirms Commitment to Solaris

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. - March 1, 2004 - QLogic Corp. today announced that its SANblade 2340 Series will support the Solaris 9 OS, SPARC and x86 Platform Editions.

Additionally, its SANblade 2340 family of single and dual port Fibre Channel HBAs has received Solaris Ready Certification from Sun Microsystems, Inc. The QLogic SANblade 2340 Series is a family of 133MHz PCI-X products that double storage throughput over standard PCI products and offers performance up to 80,000 IOPs and more than 800 Mb of throughput. ...QLogic profile
NatureTech Launches Dual Processor (1.28GHz UltraSPARC) Portable

Precision I/O Gets $10 million in Venture Funding to Increase Ethernet Throughput for Servers

NextCom Launches New Mobile Graphics Workstation and Server for Mil-aero and Homeland Security

Sun Microsystems Offers Finance Deals to Help Migration to SPARC IV

Fujitsu Bundles Element Management Software with SPARC Server

Dataram Doubles Memory for Sun Fire V440

Rave Supplies NextCom's SPARC and IA Notebooks

Financial Insights Examines SCO Litigation Against LINUX End-Users

QLogic Affirms Commitment to Solaris

earlier news - archive
research would have come in useful here
Market research on
Market research can help you avoid going down a dead end track.

Nibble:- How Many SPARC CPUs 1987-2003?

I was asked recently if I had any idea how many SPARC processors have been deployed in servers and workstations since the market started back in 1987.

The simple answer was - no...

Sure, I did calculate the size of the SPARC market back in 1992 when I first published the SPARC Product Directory, and from time to time updated those estimates. More recently quarterly and annual SPARC computer shipments and revenue data have appeared in these news pages from time to time.

So I realised that although I didn't have a good grasp of the numbers any more, I had most of the information I needed to make a stab at some estimates.

Post Millenium - Jan 2000 to Dec 2003

Over 5 million SPARC CPUs

In estimating the above figure - I had used the following estimates. The average server used 3 CPUs. The average workstation used 1.5 CPUs. I realise that lots of you may have dozens of SPARC processors in your biggest servers, but that's outweighed by the larger number of servers with upto 4 CPUs.

Pre Millenium - 1987 to 1999

Approximately 3 million SPARC CPUs.

Interestingly there were 5 main manufacturers of SPARC chips during this early period and over 50 manufacturers of SPARC systems.

How Many SPARC Processors 1987-2003?

From all the data I've seen I think a floor level of 8 million SPARC CPUs is a conservative estimate. The true number is more likely to be higher than lower.

Please bear in mind these are estimates based on computer shipments. If a manufacturer uses a SPARC CPU in a dumb terminal, printer or photocopier that's not something which gives a useful idea of the size of the historic SPARC computing base market, and is not counted.

If someone from Sun marketing would like to cast more light on this, they should feel free to contact me with the relevant supporting data.


The data I used came from a variety of sources including financial data from various SPARC manufacturers. In particular, data from market research companies Gartner and IDC which appeared in press releases in the SPARC Product Directory were very helpful covering the period 2000 onwards. Any errors in facts or interpretation of trends are my fault alone.

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