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Sun, SPARC, Solaris and related news

2005, February

See also:- article:- Sun, SPARC and Solaris Highlights and Lowlights in 2004
article:- Surviving the Solaris x86 Wars
article:- Sun and its SPARC IHVs - Paint it Black? or Not Fade Away?
article:- the Benefits of SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) for External Subsystems
Squeak! - the Fastest Growing Storage Companies in 2004
article:- Why Sun Should Acquire a Solid State Disk Company
article:- Hardware Upgrades to Make Your Sun SPARC Server Go Faster
current SPARC news, earlier SPARC news, SPARC manufacturers, SPARC systems, PCI, cPCI, PMC & SBus cards, SPARC VARs - USA, SPARC VARs - UK, Articles about Sun, Events, Articles about storage
SPARC History:- February 2000, February 2001, February 2002, February 2003, February 2004

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M-Systems, 3.5" Ultra Wide SCSI Fast Flash Disk
Solaris Ready
3.5" Ultra Wide SCSI Fast Flash Disks
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RamSan-325 Solid State Disk Gets Cluster of Certifications

Houston, TX - February 28 2005 - Texas Memory Systems announced four significant interoperability certifications for its flagship RamSan-325 Fibre Channel solid state disk.

The certifications include Microsoft Designed for Windows Server 2003, Sun Solaris Ready, IBM TotalStorage Proven and McData OpenReady. Each of these certifications is awarded as a result of testing with the related platform.

"To achieve record-holding performance and the highest levels of interoperability, we designed the RamSan's Fibre Channel interface and software from the ground up," said Rich Holzmann, VP at Texas Memory Systems. "Because solid state disks are used strategically to accelerate critical applications, they need to work flawlessly in heterogeneous IT environments. Our active approach to working alongside leading vendors in the storage industry has led to a rock-solid product."

The RamSan-325 can accelerate I/O intensive applications such as databases up to 2,500%. It offers 250,000 I/Os per second and an internal bandwidth of 3GB per second that can be shared effectively amongst multiple servers. The performance boost from the RamSan can enable higher transaction loads and support more users without resorting to additional servers, associated licenses and management overhead. ...Texas Memory Systems profile, Solid State Disks

Surviving the Solaris x86 Wars Game On

Editor:- February 28, 2005 - the popular article in the SPARC Product Directory called - Surviving the Solaris x86 Wars - has been updated and concluded.

As well as documenting Sun's long history in the Intel Architecture segment, the article reverse analyses Sun's forward looking business strategy and predicts which types of vendors will benefit most, incorporating feedback from Sun VARs, oems and other partners. the article, SPARC Product Directory, other Sun SPARC Solaris articles

Sun Sparks Up SPARC

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - February 23, 2005 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today reinforced its commitment to the SPARC platform by boosting performance across its popular UltraSPARC IV processor-based server family.

The new UltraSPARC IV 1.35 GHz processor, available immediately, gives customers over twice the throughput at 34% better price/performance when compared to the fastest UltraSPARC III systems, and can be mixed and matched with previous UltraSPARC III and UltraSPARC IV processors.

Sun's UltraSPARC IV 1.35 GHz processor upgrade gives customers enhanced throughput computing power on the Sun Fire V490, V890, Sun Enterprise 2900, 4900, 6900, 20000 and 25000 servers. These UltraSPARC IV and Solaris OS-based systems deliver Chip Multithreading Technology (CMT), driving over double the application throughput in the same physical footprint as its predecessors, which helps reduce the cost and complexity of doing business for Sun's customers.

UltraSPARC IV processor-based Sun Fire mid-range servers deliver more than 7x the performance of UltraSPARC II servers with lower operating costs. For customers using UltraSPARC II technology, Sun is offering double trade-in values for upgrades to UltraSPARC IV technology through its Sun Upgrade Advantage Program. ...Sun profile

LeftHand Networks Reaches Out to UNIX

BOULDER, Colo - February 22, 2005 - LeftHand Networks today announced a significant new release of SAN/iQ intelligent storage operating system.

Release 6.1 incorporates policy management capability for provisioning and snapshots, support for several UNIX operating systems, and RAID 5 support within a storage module. With this release, the SAN administrator can establish policies that allow a primary storage volume or a volume used to store snapshots to grow as needed - without administrator intervention - until a specified threshold is reached. Establishing an artificially large volume size in the operating system and using the auto-grow capability eliminates the manual steps frequently involved in data growth, simplifying the job of the administrator.

In addition, this release adds support for the Sun Solaris, HP-UX, and IBM AIX operating systems. This additional operating system support broadens the applicability of the LeftHand SAN into UNIX environments and customer sites with multiple operating systems.

"iSCSI SANs continue to grow in popularity and the types of applications and environments that can leverage the simplicity of iSCSI are expanding as vendors add functionality and OS support," said Robert Gray, senior analyst at IDC. "IDC expects to see a 189% growth in iSCSI storage systems deployments in 2005."

SAN/iQ's primary data availability technology is a patented synchronous replication scheme that writes data a specified number of times across multiple storage modules on the network. Release 6.1 adds support for RAID 5 data protection for customers starting with a single storage module. ...LeftHand Networks profile

Sun Supports NetApp's Version of NFS

SUNNYVALE, Calif. - February 16, 2005 - Network Appliance, Inc. today announced that Sun Java System Messaging Server now supports the NetApp implementation of the Network File System (NFS) protocol.

Through NetApp unified storage customers of the Sun Java System Messaging Server can now reduce the complexity of message storage, execute rapid backup and recovery, and lower their total cost of ownership of archiving and storing messages.

"Sun support of NetApp NFS with Sun Java System Messaging Server enables customers to capitalize on the latest NetApp technology advances, including the newly released Data ONTAP 7G software, which powers the entire family of NetApp storage systems" said Patrick Rogers, VP of Partner and Alliances Marketing at Network Appliance. ...Network Appliance profile, ...Sun profile

Editor's comments:- this is an astonishing coup by NetApp on two counts. First - Sun invented the original version of NFS - which by the early 1990s had already been licensed by hundreds of network computer manufacturers. Second - Sun is a Die Hard case when it comes to adopting any technology which it didn't develop internally. The acknowledgement that NetApp has done a better job in Sun's core competence technology of IP may be a sign that Sun wants to play ball by the new rules in which it is just another server company.

Red Hat Simplifies Migration from Solaris to Linux

LINUXWORLD, BOSTON - February 15, 2005 - Red Hat announced plans to extend the functionality of Red Hat Network to manage software distribution and configuration for systems running Solaris.

The cross-platform support in Red Hat Network will ease the transition from Solaris to Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Red Hat expects the Red Hat Network Management Module for Solaris to be available by the end of the second quarter of 2005.

"...Customers are asking how they can complete their company-wide transitions from proprietary Unix to Red Hat Enterprise Linux," said Paul Cormier, Executive VP of Engineering at Red Hat. "Red Hat Network for Solaris makes the management of this transition efficient and cost effective." ...Red Hat profile

Editor's comments:- I doubt if Sun will lose much sleep over Red Hat's new product. A much bigger problem for Sun is that after all the hoopla about opening up Solaris x86 nobody in the commercial world (including most Sun VARs) seems to care very much and enthusiasm for it is less than for catching a cold.

Sun Unveils 4 Way 1.6GHz SPARC Server

CANNES, FRANCE - February 14, 2005 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today unveiled a 1.6GHz performance enhancement to the Netra 440 UltraSPARC processor based 4-way carrier grade server.

Announced at 3GSM World Congress in Cannes, France, the enhancement can provide up to a 36% increase in price/performance.

Running on the UltraSPARC IIIi with carrier-grade Solaris Operating System and Sun Java Enterprise Systems technologies, the upgraded Netra 440 server can enable the delivery of next-generation, high-bandwidth, telecom infrastructure applications such as 3G wireless and broadband services. Sun claims its Netra 440 server is the lowest cost, highest density, NEBS-Level 3 certified 4-way carrier grade server on the market today. The Netra 440 server start at $13,995. ...Sun profile

See also:- article:- the New Solaris Migration?

SPARC Notebook Maker Tadpole Computer Names New VP for Government Sales

Cupertino, Calif. - February 7, 2005 - Tadpole Computer today announced that Bob Melissinos has joined the company as VP of Sales for the company's Government Business Division reporting to Tadpole President/CEO, Mark Johnston.

Bob takes over from Barbara Payne who held the position for 12 years and was recently promoted to a new role as VP Government Strategic Business.

Bob has previously occupied Vice President positions in Sales and Business Development for both product and services companies with a strong focus on the Government. As VP of Sales & Strategic Business Development for a premier government reseller, Bob was instrumental in the transition of their sales force from selling products to selling solutions. In this role, he successfully grew overall sales revenues with Sun-related revenues increasing by 44% year-over-year.

With 38 years of experience selling and managing sales organizations in the IT industry and the Government market, Bob has an enviable and strong track record of success and is the recipient of a multitude of awards for excellence in performance.

"As we transition our Government Business, from its initial stages as a flat "product" centric organization to a multi dimensional group, with both global sales and strategic business development resources, Bob's experience will be invaluable", commented Mark Johnston, Tadpole's President/CEO. "The Government market for Tadpole has demonstrated strong growth in the past 24 months and currently we are supplying our reliable mobile solutions into some 40 different Government Programs. We see strong positive growth for the Company in the future leveraging these Program wins, as we expand our mobile product offerings into this Program base." ....Tadpole Computer profile

Editor's comments:- Tadpole recently launched a new family of SPARC notebooks which they call the Bullfrog. The high end model includes dual 1.2 GHz UltraSPARC IIIi processors and up to 16GB DRAM.

eWEEK Article Reveals Flaws in Sun's Open Source Plans

Editor:- February 3, 2005 - an article today in eWEEK compares the tricksie nature of Sun's open source thinking with a classic episode from Star Trek.

In my end of 2004 review article I predicted that in 2005 Sun's efforts in this direction might come to nought and that the open source Solaris idea would be declared to be a dream. the eWEEK article

Sun Enters the Shadow of Enron with Computer Capacity Trading

SANTA CLARA, Calif. And Chicago - February 3, 2005 - During its quarterly Network Computing '05 launch today, Sun Microsystems, Inc. and Archipelago Holdings Inc. announced the companies plan to build the world's first online compute exchange.

Based on the new Sun Grid and Archipelago's electronic matching technology, the companies plan to introduce a new electronic trading environment that will allow customers to bid on CPU usage cycles. Being able to dynamically bid for open compute cycles will provide companies across the globe with unprecedented flexibility in planning for the purchase and use of compute power. This is a new paradigm in computing where companies can access an unlimited number of CPUs as they need them.

"Archipelago leads the way when it comes to electronic trading technology," said Robert Youngjohns, executive vice president of strategic development and Sun financing at Sun Microsystems, Inc. "With Sun Grid, and Archipelago's matching technology, we expect companies will be able to access an unlimited number of CPUs as they need them--and have access to technology that is reliable, simple to use, powerful, and sophisticated--at a single point of contact." ...Sun profile

Editor's comments:- nothing is really new. In March 2001, in my capacity as editor of, I was approached by the Director of Enron's Storage Trading Initiative. Enron had a plan for running a trading market on storage capacity in a similar way to something they had previously done on OC-48 bandwidth. I didn't think the idea would fly then for a number of reasons. And later Enron's collapse became the biggest in corporate history. I don't think Sun's server capacity trading idea will work either. The security implications are horrendous. What do you think?

Sun's Knockoff Ads Delusional - Says Article

Editor:- February 1, 2005 - an article published today in critiques a recent print ad by Sun in which the company claims its servers are 76% faster than those from rival HP.

Sun's performance and price comparisons have often been misleading by comparing new Sun systems to old or less well specified competitor boxes. Remember when a Sun workstation was supposed to cost less than a PC? Anyway this quote from the article gives you a hint of its flavour.

"Sun's current Santa Clara headquarters is built on the grounds of an old insane asylum, and it seems the ghosts of past inmates may be affecting Sun's marketing staff." the article

Sun Improves SPARC Workstation Price / Performance

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - February 1, 2005 - today Sun Microsystems, Inc. unveiled up to 40% performance increases in its UltraSPARC processor-based Sun Blade 1500 and Sun Blade 2500 workstations.

These workstations take advantage of the performance boost from the recently announced Solaris 10 OS. Additionally, Sun today announced new pricing promotions for both its UltraSPARC and AMD Opteron processor-based workstation lines, giving customers even better price-performance benefits for these products.

"With more than one million workstations installed worldwide, Sun has a strong history of leadership in this market, and the company continues to provide its customers with superior price-performance both on UltraSPARC and AMD Opteron processor-based workstations," said Rajesh Shakkarwar, senior director, Workstation Marketing at Sun. "These workstations, running the Solaris 10 OS, offer customers improved performance and advanced features such as predictive self-healing, DTrace and Solaris Containers."

The new Sun Blade 1500 and Sun Blade 2500 workstations are currently available worldwide at a starting list price of $3,195 and $7,195, respectively.

Sun also announced a pricing promotion whereby customers can get complete PC functionality on their workstation with a limited-time $1 offer on a SunPCi IIIpro card when purchased with a new UltraSPARC processor-based Sun Blade 1500 or 2500 workstation. The SunPCi IIIpro card enables users to run Windows or Linux natively within the Solaris OS. ...Sun profile, Desktop - SPARC

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RamSan-325 Gets Cluster of Certifications

Surviving the Solaris x86 Wars Game On

Sun Sparks Up SPARC

LeftHand Networks Reaches Out to UNIX

Sun Supports NetApp's Version of NFS

Red Hat Simplifies Migration from Solaris to Linux

Sun Unveils 4 Way 1.6GHz SPARC Server

Tadpole Names New VP for Government Sales

eWEEK Article Reveals Flaws in Sun's Open Source Plans

Sun Enters the Shadow of Enron

Sun's Knockoff Ads Delusional - Says Article

Sun Improves SPARC Workstation Price / Performance

earlier news - archive
Hard Disk Duplicators - click for expanded image
Hard disk duplicators
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.

M-Systems is a leader and innovator of flash-based data storage products known as flash disks.

All Aboard the 4 Gigabit Train? - by Steve Gardner, Director of Product Marketing, Engenio
The future of 4 Gigabit Fibre Channel technology is here and by 2006 it will be widely adopted by organisations around the world.
Just 6 -months ago that statement would have been met with heavy skepticism; but today, industry analysts, customers and manufacturers all agree that 4 Gbps technology will be available from the world's leading IT vendors by mid-2005.

Companies with high performance computing needs, such as scientists, engineers, artists and others who need access to large amounts of data to solve complex problems, will be the first to adopt the technology. Four Gigabit Fibre Channel technology will enable auto manufacturers to reduce time to market and improve the safety of vehicles by making testing and simulations less time consuming. Energy companies will be able to conduct more iterations of analysis thereby improving the bidding process and increasing their probability of finding petroleum. Companies that aren't considered "traditional" high performance computing customers will also benefit. Food manufacturers, for example, will be able to redesign and improve packaging in less time by using 4 Gbps technology.

The entertainment industry will produce higher quality animated movies, in less time, when they adopt 4 Gbps technology. The producers of Polar Express, an animated film that was a holiday hit, used a new technique called "Performance Capture" that allows an actor to be covered in hundreds of tiny computer chips. The data from these chips contains precise information about all of the actor's movements, including facial expressions. Production of the graphics involved in the endeavor required millions of time consuming calculations. Had 4 Gbps been available, the time required to produce the movie could have been reduced significantly.

The most frequently asked question regarding 4 Gbps technology is "Why do I need this?" After all, most users still aren't taking full advantage of all that 2 Gbps SANs have to offer. The answer is twofold: technology and economics. As technology advances components become smaller, faster and less expensive. Vendors push improvements to differentiate and create competitive advantage. As a by product, the new technology can drive lower costs, creating an economic incentive for buyers to use the latest technology, even if their need is not immediate. When you add the fact that the new 4 Gbps technology will be compatible with 2 Gbps and 1 Gbps installations. There will be no need to uninstall 2 Gbps investments, and customers will be able to seamlessly plug into the improved infrastructure. This understanding changed the question from "Why do I need this?" to "When can I have this?"

It's important to remember that 4 Gbps Fibre Channel Technology is only part of the computing equation. If your performance bottleneck is the server horsepower for example, adding 4 Gbps infrastructure won't produce improved results. 4Gbps technology is just around the corner. The speed is impressive, and the costs are attractive. This train will be leaving the station soon. Don't be left behind. ...Engenio profile, Fibre-channel adapter cards, SAN, article:- Fibre-Channel SAN History

See also:- another article by Steve Gardner - Disk to Disk Backup versus Tape - War or Truce?
click to see company profile for Engenio
New Sun Sponsored Survey Reveals Security and Accessibility Top the List of Consumer Concerns for Data in Digital Domains

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - January 27, 2005 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today announced the results of a new Harris Interactive survey (of 2,056 U.S. online adults) that sheds light on the relationship between consumers' growing reliance on their "digital domains" and data center storage trends. Expectations of online savvy adults place heavy demands on data accessibility, security and storage.

According to the survey, 94% of U.S. online adults use digital services, and, of those users, 82% consider the security of their online data to be of great importance, rating security of this information a 9 or a 10 on a 10-point importance scale. The perceived need for security is followed in importance by the ease of accessibility to a consumer's data, which was considered a 9 or a 10 by 63% of the digital service users polled.

The survey also revealed that many respondents expect the data they store through digital services to be accessible forever; this includes photo downloads (30%), online banking records (25%), music downloads (24%) or email (23%). And, while these users have growing needs for and expectations of online storage, 82% of respondents said they would not be willing to pay for additional storage capacity.

"As consumers continue to 'outsource' their data storage by using online services to process email, share photos, build MP3 libraries, access financial information, and participate in online auctions, the role of a well-planned enterprise storage strategy becomes all the more crucial to ISPs and other companies that profit from providing these services - especially when these customers are not willing to pay more for the increased storage they will demand," said Mark Canepa, executive vice president of Sun Network Storage. "Additionally, the fact that consumers place the most importance on data security and access supports Sun's systems approach to building data centers, which focuses not just on storage, but on how data is accessed, used and moved throughout its lifecycle."

Digital services are online services that allow consumers to store, manage, access and share their personal data like photos, music or e-mail over the Internet. As consumers continue to store and access more of their personal data through online services, they build what Sun calls their own "digital domain" - a virtual world where they store, access, manage, share, move and enhance their personal data. Companies with the best enterprise storage strategies for their data centers reap the benefits from customers' growing their digital domains. Sun Microsystems, Storage Security, Market research

click to read article click to read article

Serial Attached SCSI - Delivering Flexibility to the Data Center - article by LSI Logic and Maxtor

"SAS gains a performance advantage through its support of multiple initiators, or the ability to support I/O requests from more than one controller at a time. With dual ports and multiple initiator support, SAS RAID arrays can implement dynamic load balancing, allowing I/O requests to be evenly spread across multiple controllers, leveraging the full processing power of all of them. Without this capability, the I/O requests can become skewed, and overload one controller, while the others may not be at full capacity. SATA technology does not support this capability." the article, ...LSI Logic profile, ...Maxtor profile, Serial Attached SCSI

click to read article by BiTMICRO Networks
Solid State Disks:- Pushing the Envelope in Blade Server Design - article by BiTMICRO

"In terms of power consumption, mechanical hard disks typically devour around 500mA while flash SSDs consume a mere 50mA. The difference may seem insignificant in small enterprise apps, but for huge data farms, the cost savings become apparent. This further enhances the blade server's advantage over proprietary systems with regard to operational costs. The reliable performance of mechanical disk drives can only be ensured if these drives operate within specified temperature ranges. As drive manufacturers introduce newer models featuring spindle speeds as high as 15,000 RPM, cooling has emerged as a major issue." ... read the article, ...BiTMICRO profile
SPARC Trivia Quiz - Test your knowledge of Sun's technologies and marketing strategies.

Sun has had an impressive track record of promoting innovation and inventing new computer technology, especially in its younger more creative days. Which of the following statements is true?

(a) - Sun invented the microprocessor.

(b) - Sun invented Unix.

(c) - the first C compiler was written on a Sun-1 workstation.

(d) - Sun was the co-inventor of Ethernet (along with Xerox and DEC).

(e) - Sun invented RAID.

(f) - Sun invented RISC.

(g) - all of the above.

(h) - none of the above.

This is just one of many similar questions you'll find in our entertaining Sun SPARC Trivia Quiz
How Do Solid State Disks Make Economic Sense?
When Some 3.5" Drives Cost $20,000 or More?
If your application is speeding up an enterprise server with thousands or tens of thousands of networked users then it's a mistake to think of the SSD as replacing storage. In fact the SSD is replacing servers and software licenses. SSDs can be used either to speed up the response time of existing applications as an alternative to buying more servers, or to reduce the number of servers and software licenses deployed. The economics can be compellingly in favor of an SSD deployment and are discussed in our case study articles.

Another server use for SSDs is to prolong the life of server architectures which have been end-of-lifed such as HP's Alpha. The SSD can work like a processor speedup and buy the owners more years of useful life while they evaluate viable alternatives. See the article:- Out of the Alpha Frying Pan into the Sun Fire?

...from - the Solid State Disks Buyers Guide

click to read article by Xtore
NAS, DAS or SAN? - Choosing the Right Storage Technology for Your Organization - article by Xtore

It's 4 years since we published the Storage Architecture Guide a classic reference written by the world's first network storage company Auspex. The new overview article from Xtore places the main storage connection strategies in a current context. Here's an extract.

"Another important consideration for a medium sized business or large enterprise is heterogeneous data sharing. With DAS, each server is running its own operating platform, so there is no common storage in an environment that may include a mix of Windows, Mac and Linux workstations. NAS systems can integrate into any environment and serve files across all operating platforms. On the network, a NAS system appears like a native file server to each of its different clients. That means that files are saved on the NAS system, as well as retrieved from the NAS system, in their native file formats. NAS is also based on industry standard network protocols such as TCP/IP, FC and CIFS. " ... read the article, ...Xtore profile

current SPARC news
SPARC History (from 1987 till last month) STORAGEsearch SPARC Product Directory ACSL - the publisher

SPARC(R) is a registered trademark of SPARC International, Inc. SPARC PRODUCT DIRECTORY(SM) is a service mark of SPARC International, Inc used under license by ACSL. Products using the SPARC trademarks are based on an architecture developed by Sun Microsystems, Inc.