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Sun, SPARC, Solaris news, 2007 February

See also:- Squeak! - the Solid State Disks Buyers Guide
article:- a Short History of Disk to Disk Backup
article:- the Next 3 Years in the SPARC Server Market - (2007 to 2009)
earlier SPARC news, Storage news, Solid state disks, PCI cards Articles about Sun
SPARC history:- Feb 2000, Feb 2001, Feb 2002, Feb 2003, Feb 2004, Feb 2005, Feb 2006
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Sun's Server Revenue Grew 24% - Says IDC

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., February 26, 2007 – According to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, factory revenue in the worldwide server market grew 5.2% year over year to $15.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2006, marking the third consecutive quarter of growth.

Worldwide server unit shipment growth was flat in 4Q06 when compared with the year-ago period.

For the full year 2006, worldwide server revenue grew 2.0% to $52.3 billion, while worldwide unit shipments grew 5.9% to 7.5 million units. This represents the highest annual server revenue since the market peaked in 2000.

Sun was the 3rd largest server vendor with $1.5 billion server revenue 24% higher than the year before quarter.

After two consecutive quarters of single-digit revenue growth, Linux server revenue growth accelerated once again, growing 15.3% to $1.8 billion when compared with 4Q05. Linux servers now represent 11.9% of all server revenue.

Unix servers experienced 2.8% revenue growth year over year when compared with 4Q06. Worldwide Unix revenues were $5.1 billion for the quarter, representing 33.5% of quarterly server spending and reflecting continued IT investment in this server market segment, with particular strength in the high-end enterprise segment of the Unix market. ...IDC profile

Editor's comments:- Sun was 25 years old this month - so this independent affirmation of Sun's server growth by IDC made a nice birthday present.

Earlier this week NetApp's founder Dave Hitz referred to Sun's lamentable storage failures during the 2000 - 2003 IT recession in a 19 page planning document from that era which he made public. In it he said "Sun is a big loser in every segment, by both revenue and TB."

Is that still true today? - I think born again StorageTek / Sun is wobbly on storage - and not doing as well as they should - but the jury's still out - so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

NetApp's own success at climbing back up the greasy revenue pole after the recession seems to be due to its focus on "bet the farm customers" - and pleasing customers who had the potential to be the biggest accounts if they switched more of their discretionary storage spending to a single vendor.

Sun says "Stop moaning about server speeds and buy faster NICs"

Editor:- February 20, 2007 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. is waking laggardly customers up to the idea that they had better migrate to faster Ethernet cards if they want to get good performance from their servers.

As part of this program Sun is offering an introductory risk free trial of a supported $498 NIC.

It's the prospects of these 10Gbps (and expected 20Gbps) Ethernet cards and multi-core processors which brought on an early ice age for the once hot InfiniBand from which it never truly recovered.

I remember when Sun did something similar in the early days of the SPARCstation market (circa 1990) and issued an edict saying that every customer had better start buying CD drives - because they were going to stop releasing software on tape. Customers moaned because it meant an additional outlay - and the drives cost hundreds of dollars.

It was good for resellers though - because it gave us an excuse to sell something new to all our customers, and talk about memory upgrades etc. At that time the average age of the Sun SPARC base was less than a year old and had mostly migrated away from DEC.

I think today's announcement by Sun is a warning shot that customers are not going to get good performance out of new systems which are tied together with pieces of old string. The next one - I predict - will be about connecting modern servers to dinostaurs...

McNealy's Podcast

Editor:- February 14, 2007 - Scott McNealy talks about the Intel deal, 7 million Solaris x86 licenses etc with Jonathan Schwartz in this podcast.

The former CEO and founder isn't getting out of Dodge. And the pair of them reckon they have swapped more email than anyone else in the universe.

Sun's direction in the next 5 years?

Sun wants to be an important part of the arsenal for companies who view IT as a weapon.

Interphase Offers SPARC Based IP SIGTRAN Solution

3GSM World Congress, Barcelona, Spain – February 13, 2007 - Interphase Corp today announced the availability of its iNAV 9400 Signaling Gateway product integrated in a Netra T2000 based NEBS certified rack mount server.

The gateway can operate either as a signaling end point or as a signaling transfer point in SS7 and IP SIGTRAN networks for SS7 signaling. ...Interphase profile

See also:- article:- Leveraging IP for Distributed SS7 Applications (pdf), article:- Signaling Evolution: Transition to Next Generation Networks (pdf)

Intel's 80 Core Teraflop Processor Presented at ISSCC

SANTA CLARA, Calif - February 11, 2007 - Intel Corp researchers have developed the world's first programmable processor that delivers supercomputer-like performance from a single, 80-core chip.

This is the result of the company's innovative 'Tera-scale computing' research aimed at delivering Teraflop performance for future PCs and servers. Technical details of the Teraflop research chip will be presented at the annual International Solid-State Circuits Conference this week in San Francisco.

Intel has no plans to bring this exact chip designed with floating point cores to market. However, the company's Tera-scale research is instrumental in investigating new innovations in individual or specialized processor or core functions, the types of chip-to-chip and chip-to-computer interconnects required to best move data and most importantly, how software will need to be designed to best leverage multiple processor cores. ...Intel profile, events, storage chips

Editor's comments:- well I guess we can see where that's going. But the limiting factor in most big server environments is the storage speed - not the speed of the processors.

Is it a threat for SPARC? - Maybe it's an opportunity... If Sun talks nicely to its new pal Intel - they might be able to borrow some chip designers. The TI people are nice - and have been helpful to Sun in the past - but they don't bring much to the server party. Intel hates AMD enough that anything's possible.

More Throughput But Still No 2GHz SPARC Chips from Sun

Editor:- February 8, 2007 - Sun's SPARC Chip Roadmap is discussed in an article today on CBRonline.

It's one of many which are based on Sun briefings earlier this week.

You'll find another on ZDNet.

Meanwhile an article on the State of Enterprise Linux in Datamation provides an all in one refresher on the history of this Solaris nemesis. In the 1970s Datamation magazine included witty cartoons which lightened the sombre tome.

And that backward reference reminds me it's 5 years since the market was ready for a 2GHz SPARC chip. Although Sun's long detour via "throughput computing" is now showing its benefits as a viable holding strategy - you can't help but wonder how different the SPARC market would look today if Sun hadn't used its Machiavellian skills to make sure that nobody else did it first.

NextComputing Ships 1.6GHz SPARC Portable

NASHUA, N.H. - February 7, 2007 - NextComputing integrates the 1.33GHz and 1.60GHz UltraSPARCIIIi processors in its Vigor ULTRA-III rugged deployable server line, committing to Sun Microsystems' server-processing architecture beyond 2010.

Encased in a compact, rugged chassis with flip-down keyboard protecting the integrated (1600 x 1200) LCD, the Vigor ULTRA-III is currently used to support critical C4 field deployments, as well as a stand-alone, "small-footprint" server in command and control and training simulation centers worldwide. The modular, open-standards architecture of the Vigor ULTRA-III results in the superior flexibility, scalability, and extended lifecycle viability compared to static "point-solution" designs like the Bullfrog laptop, whose parent company has not addressed future support strategies or new mobile SPARC product announcements since 2005.

"NextCom remains committed to the worldwide Solaris user base. Solaris 8 is supported, as well as Trusted Solaris, Solaris 9, and Solaris 10," says Bob Labadini, NextCom CTO and founder. "We offer the most comprehensive support and enable our clients to port proprietary applications from Solaris 8 to Solaris 10 within the same platform, while also providing a migration path to Solaris 10 X86, Enterprise Linux, and Windows 2003 Server with our Vigor Opteron, featuring a common platform package, and the same look and feel as our Vigor ULTRA-III." ...NextCom profile, SPARC Notebooks

ProStor Appoints Sun Alumni as New VP Marketing

BOULDER, Colo - February 7, 2007 - ProStor Systems today announced the appointment of storage industry veteran Robert Williamsen as its VP of marketing.

Williamsen will direct all product marketing and management worldwide for ProStor's removable disk backup and archive technology RDX. He will also lead all marketing initiatives with the company's strategic partners and licensees, including Tandberg Data and Imation.

Williamsen joins ProStor Systems from Dot Hill where he headed up marketing for the company's high-performance, modular enterprise storage platforms. Before that, he served as the senior director of strategic marketing and director of product marketing at McDATA, responsible for new technology and business initiatives and all aspects of product management and product marketing. Williamsen has also served in executive and managerial positions at Sun Microsystems, Connex, Ridge Technologies, Adaptec and Dysan/Xidex. ...ProStor Systems profile, storage reliability, Storage People

HP Joins in the Sun / Intel Solaris Hoo Har

PALO ALTO, Calif - February 6, 2007 - HP is making it easier for dissatisfied Sun Microsystems server customers to migrate to higher performing, more affordable x86-based HP ProLiant platforms.

By expanding certification of the 64-bit version of Solaris 10 on 7 of its existing Intel Xeon-based HP ProLiant servers, HP (says it) is providing users of Solaris on SPARC-based servers more options than ever for adopting industry-standard computing.

Since 1996, HP has certified various versions of Solaris in both 32- and 64-bit mode on select AMD Opteron- and Intel Xeon-based HP ProLiant servers.

HP shipped more than a half million more x86-based servers worldwide than Sun in the third quarter of 2006. In the same period, HP grew its shipments year-over-year by almost twice the entire number of platforms Sun shipped. In addition, HP is the No. 1 provider of UNIX on x86, shipping more than 3 times the number of UNIX servers on x86 than Sun in the quarter.

HP offers a comprehensive set of automated tools, system trade-ins, financial incentives, migration assistance and integrated support capabilities to help customers migrate from Sun to HP ProLiant, BladeSystem, Integrity and StorageWorks platforms. Since 2004, HP has generated more than $1 billion in revenues from moving Sun customers to HP servers. ...HP profile, the New Solaris Migration?

Editor's comments:-
although Sun and Intel stirred up a hype-storm recently with their lovey dovey announcement that Sun will support Intel's quad-core Xeon with Solaris - I felt so unmoved by the news that I didn't even run it on our news page at the time. People who know the industry know that Sun sells trivial amounts of Intel architecture servers - and only a small fraction of Solaris X86 servers run on Sun supplied hardware.

Of course - 8 years ago - at the height of the dotcom boom - when I wrote a heretical article called Should Sun make its own brand of "Intel Inside®" PC's? - an Intel-Sun Alliance would have set the computer world on fire. Now it's more like old soldiers from opposite sides in World War 2 getting together for a nice cup of tea. The biggest threat to Intel's processor sales isn't SPARC. It's solid state disks - which will reduce the number of processors needed in all architectures by 50% during the next few years.
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IDC Reports on Server market

The Network is Better at 10Gbps

McNealy's Podcast

The Network is Better at 10Gbps

Interphase Offers SPARC Based IP SIGTRAN Solution

Intel's 80 Core Teraflop Processor Presented at ISSCC

More Throughput But Still No 2GHz SPARC Chips

NextComputing Ships 1.6GHz SPARC Portable

HP Joins in Sun / Intel Solaris Hoo Har

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a Short History of Disk to Disk Backup has been reporting on the enterprise D2d market since the concept first began.
This article plots the main events in the market transition from the heady days when tape backup was at its height - through to the situation now where most corporate data is backed up using disk to disk backup. click to read the article - a Short History of  Disk to Disk Backup
In March 2007 - D2d was the #1 subject viewed by Storage Searchers. the article, Hard disk drives, Backup Software
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