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SPARC History - 2005, January

See also:- Surviving the Solaris x86 Wars
SSD Myths and Legends - "write endurance"
Why Sun Should Acquire a Solid State Disk Company
Sun, SPARC and Solaris Highlights and Lowlights in 2004
the Benefits of SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) for External Subsystems
other sites:- Storage news, ServerWatch, Sunhelp, Solaris Central, SPARC-FLASH, SunFlash, PR FAQs

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Pure Sun Sites are Less Likely to Use SSDs
Editor:- January 26, 2005 - the results of the Solid State Disk Buyer Market Survey are published today.

This is a market where performance counts for a lot. When asked the question - Why do people use Solid State Disks? - The #1 reason given was - Application Speedup - cited by 76% SSD buyers.

So is there a difference in SSD usage related to platforms ?

We asked SSD users and those actively looking to buy SSDs to ask how they would describe their environments. Among the results in the report.
  • 14.9% - server - heterogeneous (mixed)
  • 8.5% - server - mostly Windows
  • 6.4% - server - mostly Linux
  • 4.3% - server - mostly IBM
  • 4.3% - server - mostly Sun
  • 2.1% - server - mostly Apple
This suggests that users with heterogeneous environments are 3.5 times more likely to look at SSD speedup compared to those with networks which are "mostly Sun."

It makes sense if you think about it.

In a mixed environment you can invest in a single black box turbocharger which will accelerate all your servers and deliver a lot of bang for your buck compared to spreading the same money thinly around a lot of different types of server. Whereas in contrast - users in a pure Sun environment can redeploy their heaviest applications onto a new high end server (or more processors within a SPARC mainframe) while shifting lighter apps onto older and slower machines (or less processors) - because they're all compatible.

STORAGEsearch has been charting the rise of the Solid State Disk Market for a number of years. In Q4 2004 we ran the industry's first major market survey designed to learn more about buyers needs and preferences. This article provides a summary of highlights from the survey results.

The survey has identified technical gaps which require new product solutions and service gaps which require changes in the marketing plans of SSD vendors who need to change the way they do business. SSD vendors must take note of the signals flagged in this survey if they wish to transform this market segment from a niche technical market into a mainstream multi billion dollar pillar of the storage market. the article, Solid state disks, Market research

Sun Announces Open Source License for Solaris

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - January 25, 2005 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today announced that the source code for Solaris 10 will be made available under the Open Source Initiative approved Common Development and Distribution License.

The company has established a community Web site at Buildable source code for Solaris will be available at this site in the second quarter of 2005. ...Sun profile

Editor's comments:-
as there are no independent makers of SPARC chips for servers any more (Fujitsu and Sun are more like technology partners than competitors) the only market Sun's open source move could make a difference to is the Intel Architecture server market. Will making Solaris x86 open source impact Linux or Windows sales?

According to IDC market research data (disclosed recently by HP) - "Solaris on x86 (Opteron and Xeon) has not been widely accepted by the marketplace. It has just 0.25% share of total x86 units shipped world wide."

Sometimes doing the right thing with the wrong timing has little or no effect. For example - slamming your foot on the brakes just after your car hits a brick wall.

Sun's open source move would have had a very significant impact on the server market if they had done it 5 years ago while their credibility was still high or even 4 years ago when it might have slowed down their revenue slide. There was a time in the darkest days when analysts were speculating if Sun would survive as a company - when the open source move might have reduced the anxiety of some users about availability and support if Sun went under.

But now? Sun's revenue is on an upswing again. They're profitable again. Users don't need that kind of safety net any more. Sun users who were going to defect to other platforms have mostly already done so. The products and price / performance in the SPARC/ Solaris space are getting better. Open source Solaris x86 may be a solution to a problem which only academics and geeks worry about. And the military - who were going to buy it in low volume anyway.

Themis Computer Announces New Subsidiary in Germany

FREMONT, California - January 20, 2005 - Themis Computer announced the opening of Themis Computer GmbH that will sell its embedded server and single-boards computers into communications, commercial and government markets in Europe.

Themis has found increasing success for its products worldwide. Under the direction of David G. Earwaker, sales manager of Central and Eastern Europe, the new office will provide sales support and other key operational functions to customers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and the former East Block countries.

"I am pleased to announce our new subsidiary that will help us to expand our direct presence in Europe at a time when will be announcing new boards and systems solutions," stated William E. Kehret, president of Themis Computer. "Our new office will allow us to better serve our European existing customers and support the increased demand for our products and services, " he added. "The formation of Themis Computer GmbH demonstrates our commitment to this important market and will allow us to expand our business in the region."

For more information regarding Themis Computer GmbH at embedded world 2005, please contact David Earwaker at +49.89.64919197 or ...Themis Computer profile, VME SPARC SBCs, SPARC Resellers in Germany

Sun VARs Asked for their Views on Solaris x86 Business Prospects in 2005

Editor:- January 20, 2005 - SPARC Product Directory is conducting a confidential online survey to ask Sun VARs how they rate the business prospects for Solaris x86 during the next 12 months.

The results will be used in the next part of our major series of articles "Surviving the Solaris x86 Wars" and will provide unique insights into the thinking of the Sun channel community.

I've spoken to over 1,000 Sun VARs and IHVs about business and future prospects in the Sun market in the time that I've edited the SPARC Product Directory - and that's been helpful to me in understanding the market. But whenever I ask if someone would like to have their views aired on these pages - the answer is usually "No!"

Fear of reprisals from Sun, or just the competitive need to keep quiet about good opportunities which vendors don't want the competition to learn about - all play a part in this conspiracy of silence.

By capturing the mood of Sun VARs worldwide in our anonymous online survey form - they can more freely air their views and help users, VARs, IHVs, ISVs and Sun itself get a more accurate representation of what they're thinking.

The survey takes just a couple of minutes. If you're in the business of selling Sun or compatible systems please take part by clicking here.

See also:- Market research companies & analysts

BiTMICRO's E-DiskSAN Certified Solaris Ready

FREMONT, Calif. - January 18, 2005 - BiTMICRO Networks today announced it will support the Solaris 10 OS on both SPARC and x86 platforms.

Additionally, it has achieved Solaris Ready certification from Sun Microsystems, Inc. for its line of E-DiskSAN Fibre Channel rackmount solid state disk systems.

"Sun is pleased that BiTMICRO continues to deliver world-class SAN solutions that support Solaris 10 for both SPARC and x86 platforms," said Juan Carlos Soto, software CTO and senior director, market development engineering, Sun Microsystems, Inc. "BiTMICRO's work with Sun to deliver tested and approved Solaris-based SAN solutions also enables the companies to offer our customers a more extensive storage alternative for volume hardware platforms than Windows and Linux." ...BiTMICRO Networks profile, Solid state disks, Sun VARs worldwide directory

Sun Fails to Convince IBM that Solaris x86 Has Momentum

Editor:- January 17, 2005 - a new article in eWEEK says Sun is unhappy that IBM won't be supporting Solaris 10 for x86 with applications like DB2, WebSphere and Tivoli.

Frankly you don't need to be IBM to see that Solaris x86 is more a marketing concept which Sun has been using to deflect criticism of its flawed Linux strategies and past weaknesses in SPARC horsepower, than a viable market segment which is worthy of long term support.

My own view is that if the Solaris x86 base gets big enough Sun would lose less money by reselling Sun branded Dell servers with Solaris preloaded, or maybe just paying Dell to host a special Solaris server page on Dell's web site.

Sun will not make money in its x86 server business for years, if ever. And it's likely that long before that, SPARC will once again leapfrog the performance of Intel Architecture processors making Sun's x86 hardware business irrelevant.

See also:- article:- Surviving the Solaris x86 Wars

Dataram Doubles Memory Capacity of Sun Fire V210

Princeton, NJ January 13, 2005 Dataram Corporation today announced that it has successfully completed validation of a 4GB upgrade for Sun Microsystems' Sun Fire V210 server.

The upgrade, DRS240/4096, doubles the current maximum memory capacity from 8GB to 16GB and is not currently offered from Sun.

"This is another example of Datarams commitment to its Sun customers," stated Lars Marcher, president of Dataram. "The 4GB memory upgrade delivers the highest memory capacity available in the industry for the Sun Fire V210 - a powerful 16GB - and further supports advanced technical users running complex applications."

The Sun Fire V210 entry-level server is a feature-rich, all-in-one solution system offering high performance, reliability and security in an ultra-dense, 1U rack-optimized package powered by up to two 1 GHz UltraSPARC IIIi processors. Dataram also offers 1GB and 2GB memory upgrades for the V210 and provides customers with substantial savings of up to 50% when compared to the cost of Sun branded memory. Dataram is licensed by Sun Microsystems to incorporate Suns patented technology. All Dataram memory products for Sun systems are guaranteed to be 100% compatible and are backed by a lifetime warranty and free technical support. ...Dataram profile, Sun Compatible Memory

Sun Reports Profit with Slight Drop in Revenue

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - January 13, 2005 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. reported results today for its fiscal second quarter, which ended December 26, 2004.

Revenues for the second quarter were $2.843 billion, a decrease of 1.6% as compared with $2.888 billion for the second quarter of fiscal 2004. Net profit for the second quarter of fiscal 2005 was $19 million or $0.01 per share as compared with a net loss of $125 million or a net loss of $0.04 per share for the second quarter of fiscal 2004.

"The second quarter delivered many positives, including x64 and x86 server unit volume growth, positive cash flow from operations, and stunning market reviews of Solaris 10 OS. It feels good to ring up a modest GAAP profit," said Scott McNealy, chairman and chief executive officer, Sun Microsystems, Inc. "Sun has one of its most rock solid product line-ups in history today. Innovation is increasingly marked by business models as much as technology. Sun's $1 per CPU/hour and the Sun Java Enterprise System are emerging models for recurring revenue. We are clearly reestablishing relevance in key markets." ...Sun profile

Editor's comments:- I expected that Sun would report a 3rd consecutive quarter of year on year revenue growth, so the drop of 1.6% is a little disappointing. Offset against this however Sun has stemmed its losses. That means its pricing and business model are back in balance and sustainable for the first time in 4 years. I still expect to see revenue growth in the next quarter - partly fueled by server sales and partly due to better storage sales - because Sun has signed oem agreements with a record number of storage companies in the last year to resell their products. And while Sun's Linux server business is still small in absolute revenue terms, Sun is a credible supplier of storage to users of other Linux platforms.

See also:- article:- Sun, SPARC and Solaris Highlights and Lowlights in 2004

Sun Completes Acquisition of Sevenspace

SANTA CLARA, CALIF. - January 11, 2005 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today announced that it has completed the acquisition of SevenSpace, a privately-held company based in Ashburn, Va.

SevenSpace services are expected to enhance Sun's Managed Services offerings to include heterogeneous environments, adding support for Hewlett-Packard's legacy HP-UX and IBM's AIX systems, along with Microsoft Windows and Red Hat Linux.

SevenSpace delivers remote system monitoring and management with high levels of operational efficiency and committed service levels. The services provided include rapid identification, assessment, notification and resolution of system events as well as change control all within a best-practices framework. The services are designed to improve customer environment stability and availability while potentially reducing IT operations costs.

SevenSpace manages enterprise applications, including SAP, Oracle e-business suites, PeopleSoft and Siebel; databases, including Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server; operating systems, including Solaris OS, Windows and Linux platforms; and network devices. ...Sun profile, Acquired, dead, renamed etc STORAGE companies

Silent Spring for Linux Cell Phones?

Editor:- January 6, 2005 - in case you missed it, yesterday at the Consumer Electronics Show - Microsoft announced a killer app for mobile consumer devices like cell phones and entertainment nodes that will blow away Linux, Palm OS and leave only Apple's ipod still standing after the shockwaves have settled.

Microsoft's new killer app will accelerate the growth in demand for Windows Mobile storage intensive devices. In the same way that in the 1980s wordprocessors were the killer app which fueled the growth of the PC market, and in the 1990s enterprise connection to the Internet was the killer app which fueled the growth in Sun's SPARC servers.

What is the new mobile OS terminator?

It's MSN Video Downloads. Let's call it downloadable web based TV.

Microsoft, the worlds' #1 super meta integrator and conductor of new software and hardware from tens of thousands of oems and ISVs in the Intel Architecture market, has assembled an impressive array of content providers to launch the service which starts today.

The clever part Microsoft's marketing strategy is that the service will increase the demand for the Windows Mobile OS - which is intrinsically compatible with the new service. (By the way it will also increase the market for flash memory and small form factor hard drives.) Even if Microsoft publishes the API for the new service - it will put Linux based cell phones and portable gadgets about 6 to 9 months behind the needs of the consumer market. So that's a good way of killing competitors without breaking any laws.

Although you might argue that Microsoft's dominant market position created by its monopoly in the PC market is part of the leverage which gives the new service a head start - they can simply reply - that Apple - with its ipod and itunes is already the market leader in downloadable entertainment and that the new service is merely competing in an already competitive market.

But it's going to be a Silent Spring for Linux cell phones and pdas. You can kiss them goodbye.

And it's not going to harm Windows server sales either as hundreds if millions of consumers sign up to the new TV on the move.

See also:- the story of Silent Spring - how Rachel Carson warned the world about the dangers of DDT.

I read her book in the 1960s as a young teenager and although it didn't turn me into a raving tree hugger - it did help me think about environmental boundaries. So I don't spray the fields in the farm where I live and I use mechanical methods of weed control instead. (The exercise is cheaper than a gym but has the disadvantage of being seasonal - hence a little weight gain over Christmas.)

Carson's book probably influenced my generation in the same way that the recent movie - The Day After Tomorrow may impact the adults of tomorrow. By a spooky coincidence I watched it for the first time on DVD during the recent holiday just hours before the news of the real life Tsunami catastrophe in Indonesia broke. In fact that's nearly made me stop watching the news. It's just too painful.

Korea's Daegu City Deploys DataCore to Manage Storage for Sun / Intel Servers

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. - January 6, 2005 - Daegu City, the third largest city in Korea with a population of over 2.5 million citizens, has installed DataCore's SANsymphony to manage and consolidate its storage network of Hitachi and Samsung storage arrays.

Daegu City, driven by new government regulations, needed to quickly implement a storage-based disaster recovery solution. However, they soon found that their existing storage arrays did not offer common storage services, such as point-in-time snapshot copies and remote IP mirroring, that would work with dissimilar types of storage from different vendors. Each existing vendor actually proposed a swap-out approach so that all storage would be the same to avoid the interoperability issues involved. While this solution would benefit the winning vendor, this was not what Daegu wanted. Not only would it add substantial cost to buy new storage arrays, it would add a great deal of time and disruption to replace the existing systems already in place. Daegu City decided there must be a better way to get the job done while maintaining the use of their existing storage investment. After researching the marketplace, they turned to DataCore's SANsymphony.

"As a direct result of SANsymphony, I now have in place a storage networking architecture with the flexibility to employ different models of Hitachi storage and Samsung disk arrays and make them all coexist and work together, " stated IT manager, Hea-Chan Park. "With DataCore we got the 'best of both worlds', we maximized our existing investment, and we achieved an affordable IP-based network solution."

Daegu's main computing center hosts a large number of Sun Microsystems and Intel based servers to run city government and public service applications. Prior to DataCore, the city used a number of directly attached storage arrays, which limited the IT department's ability to meet the growing data requirements. Therefore, Daegu's IT manager Hea-Chan Park knew it was time to deploy a storage network to better consolidate and manage storage resources and add the necessary flexibility to expand and meet future requirements. The challenge was obvious: find a way to maximize the use of existing storage investments, network them all together, and add the capability to do remote site disaster recovery of data. Due to cost concerns, the city also needed a low cost approach that leveraged existing IP networking infrastructure. Beyond cost and investment protection, a major objective was to reliably protect the city's data storage by mirroring critical operational data to a dissimilar storage array at the disaster backup site located over 20 kilometers away. ...DataCore Software profile

Arkeia Chooses Sun Veteran for Business Development

CARLSBAD, Calif. - January 5, 2005 -Arkeia Corp today announced that Dave Elliott has been appointed to the newly created position as director of business development, responsible for partnerships and OEM business in North America, Asia Pacific and Latin America.

Prior to joining Arkeia, Elliott was responsible for strategic development at Iomega where he drove partnerships with enterprise software companies. Before that, he oversaw business development for Blue Martini Software, and led the team that forged technology partnerships with IBM, HP, Sun Microsystems, TIBCO and SAS Institute. Elliott has also held marketing management positions with Sun Microsystems, and consulted with technology companies on strategy and marketing while with management consultant A.T. Kearney (EDS). Dave holds an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley's Haas School of Business and a BA in Economics from the University of California, San Diego.

"Arkeia has a dominant and defensible position in a fast growing market: data protection for Linux systems," said Elliott. "Customers such as Lockheed Martin, Bacardi and NASA already rely on Arkeia products, and I am thrilled to be part of the aggressive Arkeia team." ...Arkeia profile

McNealy Interview Confirms Sun is Optimistic About Continued Growth

Editor:- January 2, 2005 - in an interview of Sun's CEO Scott McNealy published today in the The Sacramento Bee - we get independent confirmation of two key trends we discussed in previous articles and analysis here in the SPARC Product Directory.
  • The recovery and growth in telecoms (Sun's biggest customer segment) is a key factor driving Sun's revenue growth today.
  • Sun is projecting a 3rd consecutive quarter of revenue growth
Articles about Sun
Pure Sun Sites Less Likely to Use Solid State Disks

Sun Announces Open Source License for Solaris

Themis Computer Announces New Subsidiary in Germany

Sun VARs Asked for their Views on Solaris x86 Business

BiTMICRO's E-DiskSAN Certified Solaris Ready

Sun Fails to Convince IBM that Solaris x86 Has Momentum

Dataram Doubles Memory Capacity of Sun Fire V210

Sun Reports Profit with Slight Drop in Revenue

Sun Completes Acquisition Of Sevenspace

Silent Spring for Linux Cell Phones?

Korea's Daegu City Deploys DataCore to Manage Storage

Arkeia Chooses Sun Veteran for Business Development

McNealy Interview Confirms Sun's Optimism
the problem with flash SSD  write IOPS
the Problem with Write IOPS - in flash SSDs
Repeating write operations in some apps
and some flash SSDs can take orders of
magnitude longer than predicted by
IOPS specs. Time does indeed go by -
potentially discrediting a long established
performance modeling metric.
There are hundreds of articles about SSDs on
Here, below, are some examples.
  • RAM Cache Ratios in flash SSDs - it's important to know the underlying RAM cache architecture - even if you're happy with the R/W and IOPS performance.
  • 2010 - 1st Fizz in the SSD Bubble? - even the dogs in the street know this is going to be a multibillion dollar market. Greed will play as big a part as technology in shaping the SSD year ahead.
  • the pros and cons of using SSD ASAPs - auto tuning SSD appliances are a new category of SSD which entered the market in the 2nd half of 2009 to accelerate servers without needing human tune-ups. How can you tell if they are right for you? And how well do they work?
  • the Problem with Write IOPS - in flash SSDs - long established as a useful performance modeling metric - this article explains why some specs are exaggerated when applied to flash SSDs - or predict the wrong results for many common applications.

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