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Where have all the Sun User Groups Gone?
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the Rise and Fall of the SPARC Workstation Market
Solaris Migration - New Theme for SUSE 11
Editor:- March 17, 2008 - Novell today announced its development plans for the next generation of its enterprise Linux platform, SUSE Linux Enterprise 11.

Solaris Migration is one of the 11 key themes listed in the press release about this.

To eliminate the expensive lock-in that comes with traditional UNIX installations, customers are migrating to Linux on multiple hardware platforms. SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 will focus on meeting or exceeding performance benchmarks of Solaris and providing best-in-market toolsets and features from the kernel on up.

Novell anticipates that advances in the Linux kernel and the supporting toolset will establish SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 as the industry-standard platform for UNIX migrations.

Novell will focus on an upgrade to the latest Linux kernel (currently planned to be 2.6.27), leading-edge storage management technologies such as the OpenAIS cluster communication infrastructure, a fully POSIX-conforming cluster file system (Oracle* Cluster File System 2) and distributed replicated block device (DRBD) support.

Diagnostic and system management features such as improved kernel instrumentation, enhanced crash dumping and hardware monitoring, and support for embedded service processors are expected to distinguish SUSE Linux Enterprise as a reliable and robust operating system for mission-critical computing. ...Novell profile

SPARC Users - Heads Up Alert! - Re Data Storage Reliability

Editor:- March 5, 2008 - a few years ago I set up a directory page on the theme of storage reliability - which I anticipated would eventually become as big an issue as the Y2K bug of a decade ago.

I often publish 3 to 7 year ahead technology and market projections - so don't worry if you haven't missed it. The impact on end users hasn't happened yet.

Unlike the Y2K bug - which harmed budgets rather than data - I expected that the storage reliability problems wouldn't be anything can users would immunize themselves against. But one bright morning - as with bird flu - you would find the floor covered with dead data in the deepest safest parts of your server farm (or archive vaults) because surprise! surprise! they actually housed a species of data storage device which turned out to be a turkey.

Some of the problems were already being researched by a handful of specialists but it was a subject which most people didn't worry about. At the time my list of candidates for the trouble spots were hard disk drives (where uncorrectable data corruption was already starting to appear - for those with the tools sensitive enough to recognize it) and maybe one those forever emerging (but never quite emerged) optical storage technologies.

But regarding the most likely first wave of the big data storage pandemics - I admit I was wrong on 2 counts.

First - you can see it coming... It's months away for some companies - rather than years away.

Second - you can actually do something about it.

I know that you use SPARC servers because you care about the smooth running of your enterprise - and don't like to fire fight foreseeable, avoidable irritating glitches.

Something which you or your organization may do (for what seems like perfectly valid economic reasons) could soon result in unwittingly letting the vulnerable data turkeys into your server farm.

If you read my new article - you'll be better placed to make those much needed budget cuts and performance upgrades - without falling foul of the uncorrectable data corruption pests.

Here's the link. Squeak! - Are MLC SSDs Ever Safe in Enterprise Apps?

PRC Becomes New OpenSPARC Incubator

Beijing, Santa Clara, CA - February 27, 2008 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. and the Ministry of Education for the People's Republic of China today announced a 3 year collaboration agreement designed to meet China's demand for cultivating IC engineering talent.

The agreement is based on Sun's OpenSPARC program which MOE said it selected because it is the fastest microprocessor in the world, and Sun is the only major processor vendor to freely offer its designs to the open source community. As a result over 100 educators each year in selected universities will be trained and qualified on OpenSPARC technology. ...Sun Microsystems profile

TSMC SPARC CPUs will Have Even More Cores

SANTA CLARA, Calif - February 19, 2008 - Sun Microsystems Inc. today announced that it had selected Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company as its foundry partner for processors based on a 45-nanometer design as well as future generations.

Sun will continue to design its chips while long-time Sun partner TI will continue to test and build the 45-nanometer processors in TSMC.

"After a lengthy evaluation we selected TSMC for one reason: they're simply the best at turning complex processor designs into silicon," said David Yen, Sun's executive vice president, Microelectronics group. "TSMC is already fully engaged with engineers from both Sun and TI and I expect we'll all benefit from the cross-pollination of ideas among these three companies."

Sun, which currently designs processors based on 90- and 65-nanometer processes, is moving to the smaller 45-nanometer to allow more circuitry to be squeezed onto the same amount of silicon. The result: chip designers are free to add new features such as processing cores or encryption engines that improve overall chip performance.

The 45-nanometer design process also allows Sun to increase the number of threads per processor. storage chips

XML Firewall Supports Solaris on SPARC

Vancouver, Canada - February 11, 2008 - Layer 7 Technologies announced today its XML Firewall and XML Networking Gateway software products support Solaris 10 on SPARC platforms from Sun Microsystems.

The SecureSpan XML Firewall provides advanced identity and message level SOA security for cross-domain, B2B and portal applications, while the SecureSpan XML Networking Gateway adds support for complex SOA message routing, mediation, virtualization and Service Level Agreements. In addition to gateway software Layer 7 also offers a family of turnkey, hardware-accelerated XML appliances for the data center.

"To meet the growing demand for enterprise SOA and Web 2.0 deployments, Sun and Layer 7 are expanding their initiatives to accommodate large scale and diverse audiences," said Juan Carlos Soto, VP of Market Development, Sun Microsystems. "As these initiatives change to meet customer requirements, we are positioned to meet these demands effectively by offering flexible governance on the open source Solaris OS for both SPARC-based and x86-based servers; a platform known for running some of the world's largest data centers." ...Layer 7 Technologies, Storage Security

How Many Apps on Solaris? etc

Editor:- January 24, 2008 - an article published today on discusses how many ISVs actually support Solaris.

An interesting part of the article is speculation about how some other OS's which were important in SPARC's infancy have fared since. According a Sun survey cited in the article most ISVs still love Solaris.

That's in stark contrast to IHVs. Most IHVs which strongly supported the SPARC platform in the 1990s exited the market many years ago. Although there are genuine opportunities for leveraging Sun's newer processors many IHVs are safer with Intel architecture processors because of the availability of alternative sources.

That's the coffee which helped create the buzz about SPARC in the early 1990s - when many chipmakers made SPARC chips which could be used in workstations. It could happen again. When someone is prepared to go public on this I'll let you know on these pages.

AMD Processors Inside Sun Storage

SUNNYVALE, CA - January 23, 2008 - AMD announced today that it continues to see strong demand among its commercial storage customers.

AMD said there are currently more than 20 commercial storage systems available on the market today that rely on AMD's Direct Connect Architecture.

"Many of Sun's storage servers are powered by AMD Opteron processors - including the Sun Fire X4500 and the new Sun StorageTek 5800 - and have already started to change the way customers store and retrieve data on a large scale," said Graham Lovell, senior director of storage servers & IPTV marketing at Sun Microsystems. ...AMD profile

Sun Reports Preliminary Results

SANTA CLARA, CA - January 16, 2008 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. reported preliminary results today for its second quarter of fiscal 2008, which ended December 30, 2007.

Sun expects to report revenues for the second quarter of fiscal 2008 of approximately $3.60 billion, an increase of approximately 1 percent as compared with $3.57 billion for the second quarter of fiscal 2007. Net bookings for the second quarter of fiscal 2008 were approximately $3.85 billion, an increase of approximately 7% year over year.

Net income for the second quarter of fiscal 2008 on a GAAP basis is expected to be in the range of $230 million to $265 million.

Editor's comments:- at one time most people thought that the shape of the Earth was flat. That's the essential shape of Sun's year on year revenue performance.

One of the predicted effects of network storage storage standards in the past decade has been a decoupling of customer spend when it comes to servers (processors) and storage.

As storage has become a bigger slice of the overall IT budget Sun's various attempts to do more in this segment over the past 5 years or so (including buying StorageTek) have looked prudent. But Sun has executed much worse than the storage market as a whole, due to not anticipating customer needs and bland / overpriced me-too products.

Unfortunately Sun's other announcement today that it is acquiring MySQL is another me-too move that will do little to change Sun's relative success compared to other OS companies who also have had their own pet database products for many years.

Don't get me wrong. "Me-too" strategies can be very successful if you're following the right trends and execute smartly. Sun's SPARC is a leader in multi-core processors - but many other parts of Sun's business do too little, too late, or do the wrong things altogether.
Solaris Migration - New Theme for SUSE 11

PRC Becomes New OpenSPARC Incubator

TSMC SPARC CPUs will Have Even More Cores

XML Firewall Supports SPARC Solaris

How Many Apps on Solaris? etc

AMD Processors Inside Sun Storage

Sun Reports Preliminary Results

earlier news - archive
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Can You Trust Your Flash SSD's Specs?
Editor:- I've noticed is that the published specs of flash SSDs change a lot -from the time a product they are first announced, then when they're being sampled, and later again when they are in volume production.

Sometimes the headline numbers get better, sometimes they get worse. There are many good reasons for this.

The product which you carefully qualified may not be identical to the one that's going into your production line for a variety of reasons... the article
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