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Sun, SPARC, Solaris and related news

2005, April

See also:- article:- the 2005 Market Report on Sun Compatible OEMs
article:- Sun, SPARC and Solaris Highlights and Lowlights in 2004
article:- Surviving the Solaris x86 Wars
article:- the Benefits of SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) for External Subsystems
Squeak! - the Fastest Growing Storage Companies
article:- Why Sun Should Acquire a Solid State Disk Company
article:- Hardware Upgrades to Make Your Sun SPARC Server Go Faster
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other sites:- Storage news, ServerWatch, Sunhelp, Solaris Central, SPARC-FLASH, SunFlash, PR FAQs
SPARC History:- April 2000, April 2001, April 2002, April 2003, April 2004

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Throw Away Your PCs or Servers?

Editor:- April 24, 2005 - Jonathan Schwartz, President of Sun Microsystems made a valuable observation in his blog today.

"The average utilization in a datacenter is 15% (what we see is tyipcally lower, but we like to be polite). That implies some 80% of the capital that goes to purchasing computers, 80% of the real estate, and best of all, 80% of the electricity to power and cool the unused systems - is flat out wasted. Greenpeace, where are you?"

Unfortunately after that went on to preach Sun's old mantra - "throw out the PC, replace it with a SPARCstation, dumb terminal, X terminal, JavaStation... or Sun's latest dumb terminal - the SunRay." - The actual replacement proposed depends on where you are in the period 1992 to 2005 - and what Sun is selling at the time.

But don't let that nonsense spoil the essence which I used in my quote - 80% of datacenter server power is not used. We can assume this is a reliable figure, because Sun measures a lot of this stuff in order to tweak its Solaris OS - which has as much to do with SPARC server performance as its chip design. But if you talk to most datacenter managers - they are mostly worrying about the slow response times for critical apps and planning the next processor upgrade.

My call to action, is different to Schwartz's. I think this data bite shows that your server could speed up your applications by a factor upto x5, if you had a fast enough network storage system. Or another way of looking at it - is you could double the application performance, and take out half your servers, saving licensing costs, service costs etc. There are many case studies and articles which show how users have done exactly this, not just with Sun, but with other server architectures as well. Same data, different conclusion. But that's because Sun sells servers and terminals. I published an article a year ago which showed what the future direction of Sun (also IBM, HP etc) will be when their processors hit the GHz ceiling. Having more of the same old CPUs in the same chip (throughput computing) is not as good as having CPUs which run all applications twice as fast. That's something which users are going to learn - when they find critical parts in their applications which aren't parallelizable.

So what conclusion do your draw from the 15% datacenter utilization factoid? Throw away your PCs? - or - Throw away half your servers? It's worth looking at the options. ...Sun profile, Solid State Disks

See also:- article:- Why Sun Should Acquire a Solid State Disk Company

Azul Launches Network Attached Java Accelerator

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California - April 18, 2005 - Azul Systems Inc. today introduced the Azul Compute Appliance, the world's greatest capacity single system targeted at virtual-machine based applications such as those using the Java platform or the Microsoft .Net framework.

Azul Compute Appliances are available this quarter for customer orders and as part of the company's "No Cost Evaluation" program. There are three configurations with 96, 192, and 384 coherent processor cores. Prices for a 96-way symmetric multiprocessing system with 32 GB of memory start at $89,000 in the US. At the heart of the Azul Compute Appliance is the industry's first 24-core, 64-bit SMP-capable microprocessor that is optimized for virtual machine-based applications. The Azul Vega chip supports object-oriented operations, pauseless garbage collection, 96 GB of heap, and optimistic thread concurrency.

The Azul Compute Appliance integrates easily with today's leading application server deployments including IBM WebSphere, BEA WebLogic platforms as well as JBoss and other open source J2EE platforms. ...Azul Systems

Editor's comments:- the company claims this is the industry's first network attached processing solution. That's complete nonsense. But there is something new below the hype. The best way to look at this new product is as a Java accelerator, in much the same way that floating point maths accelerators (like the Intel 8087) and graphics accelerators were used in PCs and workstations before chip technology enabled most of these features to be integrated onto a single CPU chip.

Azul cites a Gartner report which says that by 2008, more than 80% of all new eBusiness application development will be based on virtual machines (Java and .NET). Azul claims their accelerator offers a better return on investment than simply adding more traditional server resources. Accelerators have their uses, but this is just one of many solutions for SPARC servers.

See also:- article:- Hardware Upgrades to Make Your Sun SPARC Server Go Faster

Sun Reports Results for Fiscal 2005 Third Quarter

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - April 14, 2005 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. reported results today for its fiscal third quarter, which ended March 27, 2005.

Revenues for the third quarter were $2.625 billion, a decrease of 1.0% as compared with $2.651 billion for the third quarter of fiscal 2004. Net loss for the third quarter of fiscal 2005 on a GAAP basis was $9 million or a net loss of $0.00 per share. This compared with a net loss of $760 million or a net loss of $0.23 per share for the third quarter of fiscal 2004.

"We made good progress in the third fiscal quarter, but more importantly we're seeing a marked improvement over the first nine months of fiscal 2004," said Scott McNealy, chairman and chief executive officer, Sun Microsystems, Inc. "Break even is a huge move forward from the loss we experienced a year ago. We've made over a $1 billion improvement in Net Income on a year to date three quarter comparison," McNealy continued, "Revenue was stable for the first three quarters of fiscal 2005 as compared with the same period in fiscal 2004, while margins have improved and we've made tremendous strides in reducing our R&D and SG&A by over $400 million dollars. On top of that, in the third quarter we experienced growth in Sun x86 server unit shipments, good traction in Netra servers, Sun Fire 4-8 way and 12-24 way SPARC processor-based servers, and Solaris 10 registrations exceeded expectations. All of these results, combined with a solid new product pipeline, point to real improvements in the business." ...Sun profile

Editor's comments:- Sun has a better lineup of server and storage products and is in a fitter more competitive state than it has been at any time since 2000.

Interview with Sun UK's New Boss

Editor:- April 13, 2005 - Computing magazine published an interview today with Sun's recently appointed UK head - Trudy Norris-Grey.

Asked about the most important issue for Sun's UK users, she said it was identity management and identity sharing.

On the subject of her own immediate priorities? - It was clarifiying what Sun stands for. Well, I guess everyone would be interested to know that - not just Sun users in the UK. the article, Sun VARs in the UK

LynxOS Selected as Embedded OS for US Army's Future Combat Systems

SAN JOSÉ, Calif. - April 11, 2005 - LynuxWorks Inc. today announced it was chosen as the embedded operating system vendor by General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems for the U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) program's Integrated Computer System (ICS).

Under terms of the contract, LynuxWorks' Linux-compatible LynxOS-178 safety-critical real-time operating system will be used to meet the performance and reliability needs of the FCS, a family of advanced, networked air- and ground-based military systems for use by the Army's Future Force.

A Linux compatible, open standards operating system is required to meet the Army's needs for real-time information and safety-criticality. LynuxWorks enables developers to easily move FCS applications between those that have been developed for standard Linux environments and those targeted for embedded RTOS platforms with no costly or lengthy porting process. In addition, FCS's developers can utilize LynuxWorks' Luminosity, a Linux, Windows and Solaris-based integrated development environment powered by the open source Eclipse IDE platform, giving developers complete control over creating, editing, compiling, managing and debugging C/C++, Ada and Java embedded and real-time applications. ...LynuxWorks profile, military SPARC systems, Operating Systems for SPARC, Linux Portals

Sun No Longer Shines in Italy's 7th Largest Bank

MILAN, Italy - April 7, 2005 - Red Hat, Inc. today announced that BPU Banca, Italy's seventh largest banking group, has kicked out Sun's Solaris and decided to implement Red Hat Enterprise Linux across its desktops and servers.

The bank is migrating all of its 8,000 UNIX workstation clients to Red Hat Desktop. In this project BPU Banca will replace Sun hardware with Intel-based PCs to achieve combined hardware and software cost savings of about 50%.

"This project is one of the most important migrations to Linux in the Italian financial sector," says Roberto Semplici, Account Executive Red Hat Italy. "BPU Banca is a clear proof-point of the advantages guaranteed by the Red Hat Enterprise Linux product family, opening the path to future Linux implementations in this market sector." ...Red Hat profile

See also:- articles:- Solaris Migration - migrating away from Sun's OS

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Throw Away Your PCs or Servers?

Azul Launches Network Attached Java Accelerator

Sun Reports Results for Fiscal 2005 Third Quarter

Interview with Sun UK's New Boss

LynxOS Selected as Embedded OS for US Army

Red Hat Kicks Out Sun in Italian Bank

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Network Attached Storage
"The storage network is the computer" said Megabyte, misquoting something he'd heard in the sunny days of his youth...

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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
Remember Xenix? - No Not the Warrior Princess

Editor:- take a look at the article - called - Surviving the Solaris x86 Wars in the SPARC Product Directory.

Sun's recent commitment to making Solaris open source means the phony marketing war for Solaris x86 is over. It lasted 18 years and Sun retreated 3 times. The real marketing war will take place in 2005. the article, SPARC Product Directory

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

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