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News about SPARC systems and related companies

2004, June

See also:- article:- Don't Miss the Early Signs of the Sun SPARC Market Recovery
article:- Are Sun's Days Numbered?
article:- Why Sun will Acquire a Solid State Disk Company ASAP
article:- Hardware Upgrades to Make Your Sun SPARC Server Go Faster
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Sun to Resell StorageTek's StreamLine SL8500 Tape Libraries

LOUISVILLE, Colo. - June 30, 2004 - Today, at Storage World, StorageTek announced completion of a strategic OEM partnership agreement with Sun Microsystems.

Under the agreement, Sun will market and sell StorageTek's StreamLine SL8500 under the StorEdge brand, as well as StorageTek's L-700e and L-180 tape libraries.

"We are committed to changing forever the way storage is architected, implemented and managed," said Tim Pawloski, Senior Director, Sun Network Storage Products Group. "Our partnership with StorageTek will unleash compelling new revenue opportunities with unprecedented levels of sharing between the Sun and StorageTek sales teams." ...StorageTek profile, ...Sun profile, Tape Libraries, Sun VARs - USA

Fujitsu's 1.9 GHz SPARC Processor Goes Faster

SUNNYVALE, Calif. - June 22, 2004 - Fujitsu today announced enhancements to its 5th generation SPARC64 processor.

The Fujitsu SPARC64 V processor is fabricated using 90-nanometer process technology, a first for UNIX based servers, and operates at 1.89 GHz. The enhancements deliver a significant performance boost averaging 35% faster than previous generations.

"The improvements to the SPARC64 V processor for PRIMEPOWER servers allow Fujitsu to continue delivering high reliability and groundbreaking performance within mission-critical environments," said Richard McCormack, vice president, product and solutions marketing, Fujitsu Computer Systems. "Its arrival demonstrates our consistent technology leadership in the open systems marketplace and moves us even closer to the realization of solutions for the Fujitsu and Sun Microsystems Advance Product Line collaboration."

Like previous generations, the 1.89 GHz SPARC64 V processor is establishing world records for performance in the industry standard SPECjbb 2000 benchmark in 8-way, 16-way and 32-way configurations. In SPECjbb 2000 testing, the new processor delivered performance improvements of 35% to 42% over its predecessor in its respective configurations. A PRIMEPOWER 1500 server installed with 32 x 1.89 GHz SPARC64 V processors achieved the highest efficiency record in its class running Java based business applications. The system processed an unprecedented 663,133 transactions per second.

In addition to increased clock speed and 90-nm fabrication technology, the new SPARC64 V processor will incorporate 3 MB on-chip second-level cache, another element that allows PRIMEPOWER servers to achieve maximized throughput and uptime. PRIMEPOWER servers featuring the high-speed SPARC64 V processor will be available in the fourth quarter of 2004. ...Fujitsu profile

SBS Technologies Launches ATM Advanced Mezzanine Card

Chicago, IL - June 22, 2004 - Today at SuperComm 2004, SBS Technologies, Inc. announced the first member of its new ATCA family.

The TELUM 1001-O3M AMC module provides full duplex OC-3 ATM front I/O capabilities to an AdvancedTCA system. As a leading provider of PCI mezzanine cards to the embedded computer market, SBS Technologies will build upon the company's existing expertise by creating a broad new family of AMC modules for a variety of telecommunication applications. The TELUM 1001-O3M uses an Intel 41210 Serial to Parallel PCI bridge to the PCI Express bus to communicate with the host processor on an AdvancedTCA system. This board is the first in a series of next generation I/O solutions using the AMC form factor. ...SBS Technologies profile

Continuous Computing Announces ATCA Strategy

San Diego, CA - June 15, 2004 - Continuous Computing today announced its strategy to supply products conforming to the Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture (ATCA or AdvancedTCA) standard.

The company's entry into the ATCA market is seen as a strategic move that will help drive its next wave of customer and revenue growth in the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and 3G Wireless markets.

ATCA is a specification from PICMG, the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group, targeted at requirements for the next generation of carrier-grade communications equipment. The ATCA series of specifications (PICMG 3.x) incorporates the latest trends in high-speed interconnect technologies and next-generation processors along with improved reliability, manageability, and serviceability. Analysts from market research firms Crystal Cube Consulting and Metz International forecast the ATCA market potential to grow from a negligible amount today to over $20 billion by 2007. Research analysts unanimously agree that wireless infrastructure for 2.5G and 3G Wireless edge and core solutions will be the initial focus for deployment of ATCA-based solutions.

"We are extremely pleased to announce our commitment to the AdvancedTCA market, which is expected to be central to future network infrastructure deployments," said Ken Kalb, chairman and CEO of Continuous Computing. "Telecom equipment manufacturers developing 3G Wireless and VoIP applications face tremendous pressures to get to market quickly and affordably. Sourcing standards-based ATCA hardware, middleware, and protocol software from a company uniquely positioned to offer this complete set of solutions, plus the integration services required to pull all of it together, is an intelligent and strategic business decision." ...Continuous Computing profile

Sun Accused of Fixing Software Costs to Reduce Competition in Used SPARC Market

Editor:- June 8, 2004 - Sun Microsystems' policies on relicensing Solaris are lambasted in a press release today issued by the Association of Service and Computer Dealers International.

ASCDI accuses Sun of "deliberately attempting to eliminate the secondary market for its machines worldwide." In one way this is not news. Sun has always made life difficult for VARs in the gray and remarketed segments. But ASCDI shows how in detail, how it says Sun is trying to abuse its market position in SPARC servers. Here are some examples.

Example 1. New vs. Used: Sun V1280

The Solaris license (Product No. SOLI-090-Y999) is normally bundled with and included in the price of the Sun V1280 system. Solaris (SOLI-090-Y999) is currently priced separately at $35,000. The V1280 system has a list price of $59,995 and typically sells to the end-user at a 10-20% discount. The end-user purchase price is thus somewhere in the $50,000 range. Thus the actual value of the new hardware is now $15,000 ($50K-$35K=$15K).

A purchaser interested in acquiring a used V1280 system from the open market must pay the following: (1) the price of the hardware, (2) the Solaris license fee ($35,000); and (3) a recertification fee to Sun to assure maintenance agreement acceptability (chargeable by Sun even if the system had been continuously maintained by Sun). In many cases, these charges will render the used hardware valueless in the hands of the initial end-user/owner/lessor. In the end, the potential buyer for the previously owned equipment may have no choice but to return to Sun for a new product.

Example 2. Remanufactured vs. Used: E6500

Sun sells an E6500 remanufactured machine for $89,100. This price INCLUDES the Solaris 9 O/S, Server 32, 32 CPU Max license. However, the Solaris 9 O/S, Server 32, 32 CPU Max license is priced separately for a used machine purchased from a non-Sun source at $100,000. A customer, lessor or financial institution with an interest in a used E6500 will lose all or substantially all of the residual value it was anticipating in this machine as a result of this pricing scheme. By this and previous pricing actions, Sun is dramatically shifting the value of its systems from hardware to software. In so doing, Sun continues to deflate the market value of its worldwide installed hardware base. End users and lessors need to know this and take action to adjust the Sun hardware values reflected on their respective balance sheets and to account for the impact that Sun's actions described above and in the Announcement will have on resale and residual values.

When the next purchaser of a used Sun product from a non-Sun source attempts to purchase the proper Solaris O/S license, the reality of Sun's Solaris relicensing policy will become obvious:- the cost of a new Sun product or a remanufactured machine, that comes bundled with the Solaris O/S and Solaris license may cost less than the cost of a used Sun product including a "proper" license from Sun.

Lending institutions take a dim view of financing equipment heavily loaded with soft costs. Soft costs have no collateral value. The "non-marketable" Solaris license representing over 50% of the cost in Example 1 may make financing a problem absent additional collateral, (i.e. other business assets). This is true whether purchasing new or used Sun products. Sun products will eventually have no resale value as Sun continues shifting value from hardware to software within its product mix. ...ASCDI

Editor's comments:- I don't think Sun will be too worried about the residual value of their systems as viewed by 3rd party leasing companies. If 3rd parties decide not to finance Sun's servers, then Sun could step in and take that business directly. Other computer companies have done the same in the past when they disagreed with the open market's view of the value of their products. In fact locking out 3rd party leasing companies would actually increase Sun's profit on each sale.

If true, the effect of Sun's policy described by ASCDI is disturbing, and follows a long pattern of trying to reduce competition within the SPARC market. However these kinds of policies only work if they are not resisted by users.

PMC Card Combines Audio, Video I/O, 128-Bit Graphics, and USB 2.0

OAKLAND, Calif - June 6, 2004 - Peritek has launched a new category of "multi-media" PMC card with the introduction of its new Sirena/PMC module.

The Sirena/PMC provides audio I/O, video capture/display, graphic display up to 1900x1200 and a USB 2.0 controller all on a standard PMC card.

Designed for the extended life-cycle demanded by embedded system designs, the new card features Peritek's 128-bit Borealis graphics processor and supports 2D, 3D, OpenGL, and DirectX-compatible displays in Solaris, Linux, Windows, LynxOS, and VxWorks environments.
  • Borealis 128-bit 2D/3D graphics controller
  • Display programmable for 8, 16, or 32 bits/pixel
  • 16 MB SGRAM (32 MB SGRAM optional)
  • Analog (RGB) resolution up to 1920 x 1200
  • Digital (PanelLink/DVI) up to 1280 x 1024
  • OpenGL 1.1 in Hardware
  • Hardware scroll, pan, and cursor
  • VGA and FCode BIOS support on Channel A
  • USB 2.0 Hub Controller
  • Stereo Audio I/O
  • Multi-input Video Digitizers
  • Supports all PMC interfaces from 32-bit, 33 MHz PCI to 64-bit, 133 MHz PCI-X Bus Interface
  • Conduction-Cooled PMC Form Factor compatible
  • Operating temperature range is 0º to +70º C
  • For special processes such as conformal coating and extended temperature (-40º to +70º C) please contact factory.
"The Sirena/PMC is an ideal solution for capturing and displaying audio and video from standard off-the-shelf USB 2.0 peripherals including digital video cameras," said Victor Gold, Vice President of Graphics Technology. "It quickly adds multimedia functionality to any computer that has a single available PMC slot." ...Peritek profile, military SPARC systems, Graphics adapters

Sun's Plans Re Open Source Solaris Discussed in LinuxInsider

Editor:- June 4, 2004 - LinuxInsider published an interesting article today called - Sun's Plans To Open Source Solaris Questionable.

Personally, I think it's irrelevant whether Sun does or doesn't pursue this.

Sun's Solaris license base is at a historic high anyway, and growing. It's likely that Sun's revenue will increase or at least stop declining during the next 3-4 quarters because of its SPARC IV servers. And soon the recovery in the telco market, which was a heavy user of SPARC and Solaris in the dotcom boom days, and which hasn't invested in switching to alternative embedded platforms will provide another boost to Sun's revenue.

Sun doesn't have a compelling need to reform its proprietary outlook any more. With Microsoft's cash, and the projected saving in R&D costs from its Fujitsu deal, they're looking at a brighter future. I don't think Sun is going to change its ways now. If anything they will become more confident/arrogant. the article

Fujitsu and Sun to Merge SPARC Server Product Lines

SANTA CLARA, Calif., and TOKYO - June 2, 2004 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. and Fujitsu Limited today announced the expansion of their 20-year strategic relationship to include the joint development and delivery of future generation Solaris and SPARC-based systems.

Today's announcement brings together two of the strongest companies in the world to deliver best in class platforms for all possible network computing workloads and grow the market for Solaris and SPARC. Sun and Fujitsu will bring together their Solaris and SPARC-based server product lines by mid-2006, creating the industry's most complete data center systems family, code named the Advanced Product Line (APL). APL will run the world's leading enterprise-class operating system, Solaris, the Java Enterprise System, and virtually every major enterprise application.

When complete, the APL will replace Sun's and Fujitsu's existing Sun Fire and PRIMEPOWER product lines, respectively. Customers will benefit from safe and seamless binary compatibility along the SPARC roadmap.

During the transition period leading up to the launch of the APL, Sun and Fujitsu will work together to quickly implement arrangements to make each other's current Sun Fire and PRIMEPOWER product lines available for distribution through both companies. These arrangements will vary by geography. The companies and their respective customers will all benefit from the expanded distribution of both companies' existing product lines prior to the introduction of the jointly-developed, next generation products. ...Fujitsu profile, ...Sun profile

Editor's comments:- I already commented on this deal when we first reported on speculation this would happen last October in my article Are Sun's Days Numbered?

Sun Announces Low Cost Quad SPARC NEB Level 3 Server

SANTA CLARA, Calif. and SHANGHAI - June 1, 2004 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today unveiled new server and storage systems designed to meet the high availability and security requirements of service providers, telecommunications companies and governments.

Pricing for the Netra 440 server starts at $13,995. Sun claims that the Netra 440 also offers telecom customers the best compute density (4P/5U) of any comparable server on the market today, enabling them to deploy more capacity and capability in a single rack. Leading innovators such as Motorola and Alcatel are already benefitting from this technology.
  • Up to 4 x UltraSPARC IIIi processors
  • 5U rackmount
  • NEBS Level 3 certification
  • Up to 4 x 73-GB, Ultra320 SCSI disk drives
  • 6 x 64-bit, full-length, PCI 2.2-compliant expansion slots
  • Redundant, hot-pluggable DC power supplies with separate power cords
...Sun profile

Sun Says Every One of its New UltraSPARC IV Servers is a Benchmark Winner

SANTA CLARA, Calif. and SHANGHAI - June 1, 2004 - During its second quarterly Network Computer '04 launch today, Sun Microsystems, Inc. announced that every one of the new Solaris and UltraSPARC IV-based midrange and high-end systems has set a world-record or benchmark, bringing the total to 37 world-records to date.

Customer demand for the newest UltraSPARC IV-based systems running the Solaris OS continues to gain momentum. And thousands of customers are currently previewing Solaris 10 through Software Express, allowing them to implement technologies unavailable anywhere else in production environments today. ...Sun profile
Sun to Resell StorageTek's StreamLine SL8500 Tape Libraries

Fujitsu's 1.9 GHz SPARC Processor Goes Faster

SBS Technologies Launches ATM Advanced Mezzanine Card

Continuous Computing Announces ATCA Strategy

Sun Accused of Fixing Software Costs to Reduce Competition

PMC Card Combines Audio, Video I/O, Graphics, and USB

Sun's Plans Re Open Source Solaris Discussed in LinuxInsider

Fujitsu and Sun to Merge SPARC Server Product Lines

Sun Announces Low Cost Quad SPARC NEB Level 3 Server

All the New UltraSPARC IV Servers are Benchmark Winners

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For an experienced player like Megabyte picking winners was just a question of pulling the right handles.

Nibble:- the SPARC IV Chip

o those who don't know the internal details of the SPARC IV processor, Sun's recent announcement that it was shipping these chips in new servers may not have sounded very impressive.

A superficial glance shows that the new chip runs at the same clock speeds as the old SPARC III (upto about 1.2GHz). And these clock rates don't sound impressive at all when pitched against those in the Intel architecture world which are 3 to 4 times faster.

To be sure, Sun has been a laggard in recent years in bringing out faster processors. But the SPARC IV is the first of a new generation of processors from Sun, Intel etc which includes two internal processors. Inside the SPARC IV are two SPARC III processors which share a high speed cache and either of which can operate on the incoming instruction pipeline. At peak performance the single SPARC IV will operate twice as fast as a SPARC III.

Because the 2 chips are pin compatible, except for a single pin, it means that motherboard designers can rush new high performance servers to market using a single (old) design of motherboard.

It's the operating system which makes the real difference. And because Sun designs new versions of Solaris in parallel with new chip designs, the latent power is available to users from the first day that the new systems are shipped. This is in contrast with the Intel market where historically Intel and AMD typically have had to wait one to three years before Microsoft's operating systems have supported new hardware features.

There is a problem with clock speed in 64 bit processors. Due to data skew along wide physical busses it's not so easy to guarantee that all the signal arrive at the same time and that's why 64 bit chips tend to run at motherboard clock speeds which are about half that of 32 bit chips. This problem applies to all manufacturers, not just Sun. But once you are inside the chip, the wider data bus effectively doubles the speed of calculating memory access addresses, and makes up for the external difference.

So in performance terms a 1.2GHz SPARC IV performs as fast as a 4.8GHz 32 bit SPARC chip would, if there were such a beast. Except that the whole commercial SPARC market switched to 64 bit processing about 8 years ago. That should make you feel a bit more confident that the new SPARC IV systems will be appearing a lot faster than if they required a total system redesign. Also the performance is more impressive than you might have thought at first. is a premier global supplier of open systems Sun workstations, servers and Internet infrastructure hardware to small and medium sized companies (and individuals too!!).

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Learn How to Trust Your Storage Drives - article by the Trusted Computing Group
Learn How to Trust Your Storage Drives - article by the Trusted Computing Group

ow much can you trust the security of data on your storage drives?

Snugly nestling in a RAID system in your datacenter - maybe. Now what about when those self same drives are in some one else's mitts - because they've been replaced, sold or stolen?

The Trusted Computing Group has been working with storage manufacturers and other industry trade bodies to create a standard model and framework for extending security into the storage drive - using extensions of the SCSI and ATA command sets - and by extending the features originally designed for internal error logging. Although at an early stage, readers may be interested in reading and commenting (to TCG) on the draft document - which is published here as part of their market liaison exercise. the article, ...Trusted Computing Group profile, Storage Security, disk sanitizers

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