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Sun, SPARC, Solaris news

2005, October

See also:- article:- Surviving the Solaris x86 Wars
Squeak! - the Fastest Growing Storage Companies
article:- the 2005 Market Report on Sun Compatible OEMs
article:- Why Sun Should Acquire a Solid State Disk Company
article:- Serial Attached SCSI: New Interface, New Storage Rack?
article:- Hardware Upgrades to Make Your Sun SPARC Server Go Faster
article:- the Benefits of SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) for External Subsystems
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
other sites:- Storage news, MarketingViews, Sunhelp, Solaris Central, SPARC-FLASH, SunFlash, PR FAQs
SPARC History:- October 2000, October 2001, October 2002, October 2003, October 2004, October 2005, October 2006

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Sun, SPARC, Solaris Market news other news on this page
100+ Sun VAR Links Zapped Today

Editor:- October 27, 2005 - I deleted links to over 100 VARs from our US Sun VAR page today as part of improving the quality of information we supply to our readers.

Although all of the zapped companies did at one time supply SPARC servers (or compatibles) and some may still do so now, the companies gave the strong appearance that they were dormant and it has been many years since they either updated their web sites or contacted us. There may be more that we need to remove too...

On the other side of the revolving door - new VARs come into the Sun market every month - despite the fact that it has been a graveyard for many companies.

The market has matured - and Sun VARs today need to supply products and services that fill the gaps between what users want and what Sun can supply directly. Sometimes that difference is a lower price, or faster response - but usually there's a lot more too it than that. Sun VARs in the USA

Sun Innovator Notches Up 100th Patent

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - October 26, 2005 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today announced that Marc Tremblay, a Sun fellow, vice president and Chief Architect has been awarded his 100th technology patent since joining Sun more than 14 years ago.

The most patented Sun employee, his earlier contributions in the area of innovative processor technology have helped establish Sun as a leader in network computing. Tremblay's latest patents for multi-core processor technology has furthered the "throughput computing" model that is challenging the boundaries of Moore's Law and which will power new Sun servers that offer staggering utilization figures.

The patents expand a growing portfolio in chip-level multiprocessing, chip-level multithreading and speculative multithreading technologies that form the cornerstone of Sun's UltraSPARC processor portfolio and Sun's Throughput Computing strategy. ...Sun Microsystems profile

See also:- article:- Looking Back at 3rd Party SPARC Technology Firsts

SPARC Product Directory Publisher Celebrates 14th Anniversary

Editor:- October 19, 2005 - this month is the 14th anniversary of founding ACSL - publisher of the SPARC Product Directory and STORAGEsearch.com

In the early days the Sun market was our entire focus and there was no world wide web. Our directories, which included shortform product data on every host bus adapter and every SPARC workstation and server made by over 150 manufacturers, were paper publications which weighed over two pounds. It's hard to imagine in the internet world we now live in, the difficulties of researching a market in which the main forms of communication were the phone, fax and letter. When we switched to a web format in 1996 we were glad to get rid of all that paper.

Although the $75 billion / year storage market is our main source of revenue and readers, we still remain committed to the changing needs of SPARC users.

There seems to be renewed interest and confidence in the SPARC market - measured by 37% year on year increase in SPARC readers in September. The main reasons for this I think are:-
  • Sun's acquisition of StorageTek, which was the most popular news story of the year on STORAGEsearch.com, has removed any doubt that Sun has a long term future as an independent company. Sun's opportunities in the storage market are so huge that it's a lifeboat or insurance policy. Sun's server users don't have to worry so much if they don't always understand or agree with what Sun is doing day to day in its server business. That confidence means that Sun has more freedom to take risks which it thinks will have a long term payoff.
  • Sun's multicore SPARC processors have increased its competitiveness compared to its rivals in the proprietary server market. And Sun's alliance with Fujitsu gives users some hope that its SPARC chips will get faster and not just better at juggling dataflows.
Although the SPARC market will never regain the revenue dominance it achieved in the dotcom boom years, it looks like it will stay a firm part of the server landscape as the SPARC market enters its 3rd decade in 2006. And as long as our readers value the oldest surviving independent publication in the SPARC market, we'll be there covering it. ...ACSL profile, SPARC History

Sun's New Flagship SPARC Servers

SANTA CLARA, CALIF.- October 17, 2005 - Sun Microsystems today announced the immediate availability of its new high end servers, the Sun Fire E20K and E25K server.
  • Sun Fire E20K - upto 36 x 1.35GHz dual core UltraSPARC IV+ processors and 288GB memory. Upto 9 Uniboards - the same ones used on Sun Fire E4900-E25K servers.
  • Sun Fire E25K - upto 72 x 1.35GHz dual core UltraSPARC IV+ processors and 576GB memory.
The new UltraSPARC IV+-processor based uniboards can be "hot swapped" into existing Sun Fire servers so that customers don't have to replace entire systems in order to experience performance gains. Sun says the UltraSPARC IV+ servers deliver nearly double the performance of UltraSPARC IV servers at the same price Pricing starts at around $500,000 for the Sun Fire E20K and $1,000,000 for the E25K. ...Sun Microsystems profile, Sun's SPARC Servers Overview

Editor's comments:-
4 years ago, Sun's flagship SPARC processors were 900MHz single core units. So in that yawning length of time users have seen the headline SPARC processor clock rate increase by only a pitiful 50%. That's one of the reasons that Intel Architecture processors running Windows and Linux have overtaken Sun's once commanding lead in server revenue and shipments.

On the plus side for SPARC... tweaks to Solaris and integrating two processors inside the SPARC IV chips means that Sun is delivering more throughput performance and is more competitive than in the past - but my prediction is - it will get harder for Sun to extract more peak performance from its processors over the next 4 years too.

Does that mean the race for SPARC performance leadership is lost?

No. The good news - is that other processor architectures too will see a flattening in their headline GigaHertz clock rates - for similar technical reasons. (Signal skew on wide data busses means that there is too much timing uncertainty as the signals leave the chips and hit the motherboard. Therefore the advantage of being able to run faster inside the chip is mostly lost - by the time the data has settled on the PCB.) What users will see instead, is server makers offering more cores and much faster storage - as the primary ways to deliver faster architectures. If you want faster SPARC processors now - Fujitsu has been shipping 1.9GHz SPARC servers for over a year. But because they are useless at marketing, most Sun users will prefer to wait until Sun oems Fujitsu's server range.

Curtiss-Wright Debuts Conduction-Cooled 8-Port GigE Switch PMC

San Diego CA - October 11, 2005 - Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing has introduced the PGR8, a new unmanaged, 8-port Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) Switch PMC card.

This conduction-cooled, fully ruggedized mezzanine module enables system designers to quickly and easily add high reliability GigE switched networks to their most demanding VMEbus and CompactPCI-based embedded applications.

"Defense and aerospace platforms deployed in harsh environments increasingly need dependable high bandwidth data communications," said Lynn Patterson, vice president and general manager of Modular Solutions, Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing. "The conduction cooled, ruggedized PGR8 allows gigabit switched networks to be built into existing embedded systems."

Designed in full compliance with the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard, the PGR8 provides integrated 8-port Layer-2 switching and delivers full wire-speed performance over each of its ports. Integration of a PGR8 onto a host board is fast and simple; the card's PMC connectors provide the required power and ground rails. No PCI bus signaling or additional software support is needed. ...Curtiss-Wright Controls profile, military SPARC systems, add-in cards for Sun

Dot Hill to Provide More Storage to the Dot in Dot Com

CARLSBAD, Calif. - October 5, 2005 - Dot Hill Systems Corp.announced today that it has expanded and extended its multi-year product purchase and development agreement with Sun through January 2011.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sun will continue to develop storage solutions for the Sun StorEdge family of entry/volume storage products, while utilizing key elements from Dot Hill including the newly acquired storage and management controller technologies from Chaparral Network Storage.

"Our continued development of new volume storage solutions targeted at the next-generation Sun server AMD Opteron and SPARC families, will further expand our leadership position in providing customers with an open, scalable and highly efficient storage/compute platform for their data centers," said James Whitemore, vice president of marketing, Data Management Group, Sun Microsystems. "The Sun StorEdge 3000 series, built on technology collaboration with Dot Hill, continues to be one of our most successful storage product lines, because it provides enterprise quality and functionality to customers for task and business critical applications while providing pay as you grow affordability in price sensitive departmental and workgroup environments. This strong partnership continues to grow as both companies are committed to the delivery of compelling advanced storage solutions designed to meet the needs of existing and future customers." ...Dot Hill profile

Sun and Google Collaborate on Software Distribution

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - October 4, 2005 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. and Google Inc. today announced an agreement to promote and distribute their software technologies to millions of users around the world.
Under the agreement, Sun will include the Google Toolbar as an option in its consumer downloads of the Java Runtime Environment.

In addition, the companies have agreed to explore opportunities to promote and enhance Sun technologies, like the Java Runtime Environment and the OpenOffice.org productivity suite.

Editor's comments:- Google accounts for 46% of web searches according to Search Engine Watch. Although Google is a smaller threat to Microsoft today than Netscape was in the mid 1990s (when it had nearly 100% of the web browser market) Google remains the only viable launchpad for serious competition on the desktop. So this agreement opens a potentially huge channel for Sun. But don't hold your breath. I doubt if this agreement will lead to more than a ripple in the desktop market.

More to life than desktops and servers.

One of the upcoming war scapes in computer architecture will be the battle for storage search-engines (see sidebar article) - which help regulatory compliance on networks within the enterprise. Having Google search technology in embedded heterogeneous products using Sun technology would be compatible with Sun's future destiny as one of the world's biggest storage companies.

The $75 billion storage market is already considerably bigger than the server market and is not yet dominated by any single company. That could change. Microsoft announced last week its plans to make its own OS the lowest cost platform for storage.

Google and Sun aren't natural allies. When it became clear in 2000 that the world's largest internet delivery company used Linux and Intel servers to power its business - that was a strong counter argument to the concept that users had to use the "dot in dotcom" to power their ecommerce ambitions. But as Churchill said when commenting on his unlikely partnership with Stalin in World War 2. "As much as he detested the Soviet regime - if Hitler were to invade Hell he would promptly sign a pact with the Devil."
Nibble:- Will Storage Search Appliances Create a Real New Market?

ver since the widespread use of search-engines on the world wide web in 1996 it's been a bone of contention for marketers and knowledge workers that finding critical data within their own corporate networks is harder than finding useful data on the web.

Although some search technology companies like Google and Thunderstone offer search appliances for use in company intranets - they don't solve two basic basic problems.
  • Not all enterprise data is available in file formats which are understood by search-engines which were originally designed for a web world.
  • Not all enterprise data is amenable to access by crawlers. For example data in directly attached storage or connected to fibre-channel SANs. Also the performance overhead and security risks inherent in allowing search agents access to all the servers on your network may be unacceptable.
The importance of unstructured data in emails, word documents, powerpoint presentations etc is well understood. In the last few years backup software vendors have brought out special products to make sure that these files are archived and retrievable to meet security regulations. But that's not the same as making this data easy to randomly access for the purposes of business intelligence or creating a new strategic plan.

That's why two announcements in mid March by Index Engines and Kazeon Systems are interesting - because they suggest that a new generation of storage start up companies has been quitely working on this problem and is starting to offer products.

The approach from Index Engines, is to install an indexing appliance in the path of the network backup system. This avoids the problem of network topologies - because wherever the data came from - it should end up passing through the backup tape or disk system - at the time that a backup is done. This solution indexes the data in real-time - with minimal impact on the backup time - but has the disadvantage of scalability. It will be too slow for many users. But it's a real product and is a good start in this market. My view is this company needs to start making deals with tape backup companies pronto - so that they can bundle the new products as a value-added option. Otherwise sales will be slow as few users will be willing to take the risk that the appliance from an unknown new company might somehow affect their backup.

The approach from Kazeon Systems is more cryptic - because they don't have a marketable product yet - although the company does say that it is being tried in real customer sites. This sounds like a more scalable solution - because the company's initial press release said it could deal with "billions of objects and the information they contain." We'll have to wait till the summer to see more details.

But we can expect to see a lot more companies in this market space marry storage search technology to data archiving. When that happens we'll create a special index page for it. Until then just watch this space.

Dataram Launches 128GB Memory Upgrade For Sun Fire V890 Servers

Princeton, NJ - October 3, 2005 - Dataram today announced a powerful new Maximizer XXL memory upgrade for Sun Microsystems Sun Fire V890 server.

The DRS880/128GB enables customers to double the memory capacity of the V890 from 64 to 128GB a powerful option designed to fully utilize the technological advances of the new UltraSPARC IV+ processors.

The DRS880/128GB is an attractively priced bundle of sixty-four 2GB DIMMs designed to fully populate all slots of the Sun Fire V890. For just an additional $12,000 (see offer below), customers can double the memory capacity of Suns 64GB V890 "Extra Large" model.

The UltraSPARC IV+ processor uses Chip Multithreaded Technology that supports two simultaneous threads as a result of two independent cores. Each processor runs at 1.5 GHz speed with 2MB of L2 cache and 32MB L3 cache. With 8 processors and 16 cores, coupled with 128GB of system memory, a very powerful V890 is ready to take on the most demanding memory intensive applications. The Sun Fire V490 is also an excellent candidate for Dataram's high-density 2GB DIMMs and features up to 4 UltraSPARC IV+ processors, 8 cores and 64GB of Dataram memory. In addition, the Sun Fire E2900-E6900 may be powered with Datarams advanced 2GB high capacity memory modules.

The promotional price of the Maximizer XXL DRS880/128GB is $56,000 which includes the trade-in of sixty-four 512MB Sun factory-installed DIMMs (an $8,000 value) from a Sun V890 "Large" model. The combination of Dataram's 128GB upgrade ($56,000) and Sun's V890 "Large" model ($118,995 List Price) provides a total customer cost of $174,995 versus the 64GB Sun V890 "Extra Large" model with a List Price of $162,995 a difference of $12,000 for twice the memory capacity. ...Dataram profile
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100+ Sun VAR Links Zapped Today

Sun Innovator Notches Up 100th Patent

SPARC Product Directory Publisher is 14

Sun's New Flagship SPARC Servers

Curtiss-Wright Debuts Conduction-Cooled GigE Switch PMC

Dot Hill to Provide More Storage to Sun

Sun and Google Collaborate on Software Distribution

Dataram Launches 128GB RAM Upgrade For Sun Fire V890

earlier news - archive
Serial Attached SCSI
Serial Attached SCSI on
Megabyte found it difficult
adapting to the newer thinner
Serial SCSI connections.

AMES Sciences
Established in 1979, Ames Sciences is an
independent reseller of refurbished Sun Microsystems
computers, workstations, servers and parts.
USA Sun VARs - USA / Storage VARs

SPARC / Solaris / Unix laptops from Standard Build
SPARC / Unix laptops in the UK
and Europe from Standard Build
european VARs Sun VARs- UK / Storage VARs

Epoka Group sells Sun and Fujitsu and has offices in Denmark, Germany and Russia
Epoka Group, with sales offices in
Germany, Denmark and Russia is a leading
European reseller of Sun and Fujitsu SPARC
european VARs Sun VARs Germany

2005 Market Report on Sun Compatible OEMs
in the SPARC Product Directory

his article reviews the history of Sun's relationships with Sun compatible hardware OEMs and chronicles the 3 great culls of SPARC compatible OEMs.

The article also analyzes emerging new trends and strategic growth markets for Sun partners in 2005. ...read the article
click to read article click to read article

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

If you think you already know SAS because you know SATA and traditional SCSI then think again. Sometimes disruptive technologies wear an unassuming disguise. In fiction, Clark Kent, Frodo Baggins and Buffy Summers at first seem harmless, but we see them change into Superman, the Ring Bearer and the Slayer.

SAS too comes cloaked in plain garb - with a physical layer which looks a lot like SATA. But like the Incredible Hulk there are muscles rippling under that shirt - and you would be wrong to dismiss SAS so lightly. There's a lot more inside this interface than it says on the box as this informative article reveals. ...read the article, ...LSI Logic profile, ...Maxtor profile, Serial Attached SCSI

read the serial scsi article by Adaptec
the Benefits of SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) for External Subsystems - article by Adaptec

This introduction to Serial Attached SCSI gives you an idea of the performance, compatibilities, applications and roadmap for this new directly attached disk connection standard. With throughput capability faster than 2Gbps Fibre-channel systems and faster than ultra320 SCSI - the new SAS products not only provide an upward migration path for parallel SCSI applications but also open the door to a new class of high performance high reliability enterprise systems. ...read the article, ...Adaptec profile, Serial Attached SCSI
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."

...read the article, ...LSI Logic profile, ...Maxtor profile, Serial Attached SCSI

article by
War of the Disks: Hard Disk Drives vs. Flash Solid State Disks - Despatches from the Magneto / Flash Wars - article by BiTMICRO

BiTMICRO is the #1 best recognised brand of SSDs (source STORAGEsearch.com SSD Survey) and they have published a lot of articles to help customers understand the benefits of their products. When I first saw the submission for this article I was pleased to see that it quoted extracts from and linked to several other articles that I myself had written or edited - so that gave me a warm glow.

After years of analyzing this market SSD vendors and analysts are starting to see some clear patterns emerging. Although opinions still differ on some subjects, and vendors are prone to pitch their own solutions as best, this article is a useful synthesis of current industry thinking by one of the leading flash SSD module manufacturers. ...read the article, ...BiTMICRO Networks profile, Solid State Disks, Hard disk drives
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