SPARC news (final) This page (which used to be the SPARC news page in
the SPARC Product Directory)
chronicles the final phase in Sun's decline as an independent company upto its
acquisition by Oracle
See also:- SPARC History - from
|new article - Sun-Oracle
Editor:- February 3, 2010 - in a new article
Sun-Oracle... past failures / future challenges - SPARC Product Directory
looked backand listed Sun's biggest market successes and failures in
the past 20 years.
It also looks ahead to the next 5 years of Oracle,
Solaris and SSDs.
Oracle's SPARC Ready for Business
2, 2010 - Oracle has a -new
SPARC processor home page - and a neat touch here is the Oracle logo
on the image of a chip.
Also - as you may have seen already - the old
familiar www.sun.com website now redirects to www.oracle.com.
So you may have to change your old Sun bookmarks.
Some old pages from
the Sun site go immediately to similar content on Oracles' new site - while some
others take a minute or so to get redirected to appropriate content - or just to
the home page. And some old pages still exist on Sun's old site - with new
This kind of takeover can be a nightmare for website
managers - but the companies have had plenty of time to prepare the ground - and
have done a good job on the integration - compared with most other
takeovers I've seen in
this industry (more than 500).
Before the takeover Sun's web site was
one of the top 700 sites worldwide, while Oracle's was in the top 1,700 (source
Alexa). So from the
web marketing point of view this
will give Oracle a boost in their search-engine rankings.
Sun's Famous Personalities Beam Down to Earth
January 27, 2010 - as previously speculated last summer - many top people at Sun
Microsystems will not be retained to continue Oracle's new SPARC / Solaris
Here are some articles about the departing.
Solaris Developers Get Open Source Drivers for PCIe SSDs
January 26, 2010 - Texas
Memory Systems today
it is delivering open source drivers on
Solaris for its
PCIe SSD accelerator.
This thin driver offers a simple control paradigm and is easy to port
and manipulate as open source. It offers little burden to the host system and
creates a nice division of labor between the host and the device allowing the
host system to operate to its maximum potential.
HP long ago had their own
engineers tweak and customize
Fusion-io's PCIe SSDs
- for remarketing to their own respective server customers.
has been steering rudderless for several quarters due to uncertainty over its
owenership. And future direction under Oracle will remain unclear for a long
time to come.
Despite all that customers still have to make decisions
about what to do to keep their installed base in good shape. Perhaps the
availability of open source code for these SSD accelerator products will
encourage some systems integrators or users to take architectural tweaking
matters into their own hands.
EU Approves Sun Takeover
Editor:- January 21, 2010 -
today cleared Oracle's proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems.
thing which has not not been in doubt, however, is that Sun has been
drifting without a clear direction for the past few quarters while this process
has been taking place.
For most companies of this size and in this
market - random drift would be a bad thing.
But Sun has suffered from
10 years from strong management which has taken it purposefully in many wrong
directions. So in the long term - I think maybe a bit of randomness is
comparatively good. It gives managers an opportunity to pause and think about
where the true value for customers is really centered.
MySQL's Creator Launches Anti-Oracle Petition
January 4, 2010 - a PR campaign and
petition to stop Oracle's
acquisition of MySQL has been launched by MySQL's
will exert pressure on EU regulators who are soon due to decide
whether or not to allow the Sun / Oracle merger to proceed.
Themis Launches 8 Core UltraSPARC T2 VPX Server
December 2, 2009 -
Computer today launched the 1st 6U VPX SBC based on Sun's
multi-core UltraSPARC T2.
Themis' T2VPX features a new system
architecture that combines up to 8
SPARC processor cores and
64 threads, with a VPX IO fabric. The T2VPX is ideal for compute-intensive
military and aerospace applications requiring rugged computing solutions, beyond
the reach of today's VME-64-based systems. It runs both Linux and the Solaris
10 Operating System. The T2VPX will be offered with 6 and 8 core processor
is a proposed ANSI standard that breaks the performance bonds of traditional
buses and serial interconnects, enabling Themis to create supercomputer-level
products like this one for the critical embedded systems market," declares
Ray Alderman, executive director of VITA.
EU Says "Non!" to Oracle's Sun Romance
November 10, 2009 - this is an update on the
antitrust case (M.5529) concerning
proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems.
According to a
SEC filing the EU has objected saying "the combination of Sun's open
source MySQL database product with Oracle's enterprise database products and its
potential negative effects on competition in the market for database products".
effectively said - it's
sad and feels misunderstood.
The case is not yet over, however. One
interesting factor has been the publicly aired difference of views expressed by
EU and US regulators -
reported in this story by Reuters.
There is a lot of history on
the EU site regarding Oracle, Open Source and Sun. The EU does understand
Sun and Oracle a lot better than you might think and doesn't want to be
stung by retrospective tabs for migrating or end of lifing thousands of Open
Source database projects. But surely the parties involved could agree to ring
fence MySQL or spin
it off as part of the takeover settlement. I'm not sure how relevant this is
to the value Oracle sees in Sun - unless they want to choke it off.
was surprised how frustrating it was trying to find anything useful on the EU
site - probaby because Google has also been a target of their earlier
investigations (re Doubelclick) - and the EU web designers don't appear to use
...Later:- November 30, 2009 - a blog on ZDNet.com makes
this case - the more Oracle
says MySQL not worth much, the more its actions say otherwise.
Fusion-io Slashes Costs for MySpace
13, 2009 - Fusion-io
study showing how their ioDrive
SSDs helped MySpace reduce
servers, claim back 50% rack space while increasing application performance and
massively decreasing electrical power.
The ioDrives performed much
better than the legacy SAS
disk arrays, but more importantly for MySpace, they did it with much less
hardware. A single ioDrive allowed MySpace to replace a 2U HP DL380 server with
1U HP DL160 server.
In the initial phase of this deployment MySpace
replaced 150 of their standard load servers, recovering 150U of rack space.
Additionally, the ioDrives' phenomenal performance reduced its need for heavy
load servers, allowing it to permanently end-of-life 50 of 80 heavy load
servers. This allowed it to recover another 65U of rack space.
increased and the Fusion-io solution is
Estimates suggest that the power savings alone could easily pay for the
ioDrives over their lifetime.
MySpace says it plans to replace
another 1,770 2U servers with Fusion-io enabled servers as they reach their
"In the last 20 years, disk storage hasn't kept pace
with other innovations in IT, and right now we're on the cusp of a dramatic
change with flash technologies, with Fusion-io clearly leading this
transformation," said Richard Buckingham, VP of technical operations for
MySpace. "We looked at a number of solid state disk solutions, using many
different kinds of RAID configurations, but we felt that Fusion-io's solution
was exactly what we needed to accomplish our goals." ...read the
Sun Launches New SSDs
Editor:- October 12, 2009 -
2 new SSD product lines.
- The F5100
Flash Array ($45,995 upwards) is a new 1U
rackmount SSD -
which has 16 SAS ports
and provides upto 1.92TB capacity. R/W IOPS are upto 1.6M and 1.2M respectively
(for a system populated with 80 SSD modules).
- The FlashFire
F20 is a 96GB SLC flash
PCIe SSD with 100k
read and 84k write IOPS. R/W rates are upto 1092MB/s and 501MB/s respectively.
The card also includes a
More Musings Over Sun's (Still Moving) Entrails
September 16, 2009 -
Microsystems Autopsy: Death by Reverse Darwinism is an interesting
commentary on the history of Sun's corporate culture and the current state of
It's written by Daniel Nenni who once upon a time
worked for the 1st multi-processor SPARC server company, Solbourne. ...read
Will Oracle Dissect Sun?
Editor:- September 1, 2009
- a recent blog in Fortune.CNN.com
speculates that Oracle may sell
Sun's hardware business to
Unplugging Sun's Customer Base
Editor:- July 31,
2009 - an article in
says Sun Microsystems' customers are being targeted by IBM and
HP who are preying on customers' doubts about Sun's long term
hardware strategies under Oracle's ownership.
Jon Brodkin writes
- "Sun customers were already showing a willingness to switch" - even
before these targeted Sun-away campaigns. ...read
Novell Automates Hardware Migration for Solaris 10
MA - July 14 - Novell today announced the addition of
physical-to-virtual migration support for Sun's Solaris 10 OS in the
latest version of PlateSpin Migrate.
"We expect PlateSpin
Migrate 8.1 to make it even easier for customers to take advantage of the power
and versatility of Solaris Containers," said Jim McHugh, VP of Data Center
Software Marketing at Sun. "Using PlateSpin Migrate 8.1 to perform
physical-to-virtual migration will also help minimize the risk of introducing
errors into new configurations and speed the completion of virtualization
PlateSpin Migrate 8.1 is available later this month priced at $1,495
for a one-time
Standing in TOP500|
|Editor:- June 24, 2009 - the
33rd edition of the TOP500
list of the world's most powerful supercomputers was updated recently.|
1 single machine in the list today uses SPARC processors.
steep decline from 10
years ago - when the TOP500 included 95 SPARC systems.
Sun Executive Severance Calculations and Merger Background
June 4, 2009 - Scott McNealy would be eligible to get about $9.5
million if he were to be terminated in August.
calculations for Jonathan Schwartz, John Fowler and other Sun executives are
detailed in an
document which also includes a blow by blow narrative of the lead up to
Sun's recent acquisition by Oracle.
It's not the most exciting read,
but provides as much info as anyone is going to get until the memoirs start to
Recession is Hurting Server Market - SSDs will Hurt More
April 28, 2009 - IDC
reported today factory revenue in the
server market declined 25% year over year to $9.9 billion in the 1st
quarter of 2009.
This is the 3rd consecutive quarter of year-over-year
revenue decline and the lowest quarterly server revenue since IDC began tracking
the server market on a quarterly basis 12 years ago.
experienced 17.5% revenue decline year over year when compared with
Linux server revenue comprised 13.8% of server revenue in 1Q09,
declining 24.8% year-over-year to $1.4 billion, its lowest revenue level
in 5 years.
Editor's comments:- even when the recession ends
those past revenue shipments aren't going to bounce back.
recovery starts the SSD
acceleration market will be in full force. That means users will be able to run
their apps using 70% fewer servers. That's something which was
originally predicted in my long range SSD market penetration model in
In the original article I explained that server oems were scared of the effect
that SSDs would have on their sales - and this fear was one of the reasons they
held back on user education about this technology. I also forecasted - that once
any single top tier server company announced SSD support - the others would be
forced to pile in too. But it was a game of dare to see how long they could wait
until users forced the issue.
Sun's Future Lies in Oracle
Editor:- April 20, 2009 -
an agreement to acquire Sun
Microsystems for approximately $7.4 billion.
comments:- this ends nearly a decade of speculation about the future of Sun
Microsystems, a company which created a unique server business peaking at
over $20 billion annual revenue at the turn of the Millenium.
can read how Sun created that market, then lost it piece by piece and then
finally lost itself in the storage market in the article which tracks the
22 History of SPARC
It's fitting that Oracle writes the end of this
In the earliest days of the Sun market, portable relational
databases were a great selling tool for Sun VARs a to open the doors for the
Typically they'd get the customer to run a dbase
benchmark on their VAX and then run the same thing on a Sun. In the late 1980s
Sun hardware came in at less than 1/2 the price and more than 2x the
performance. And that was before the SPARC market heated up with a series of
ever faster, and then unbeatable, products in the early to mid 1990s.
April 22, 2009 - Although I've read a lot of "analyst" blogs - I
haven't seen any analysis about this significant deal that's worthy of a
link. So here's what I think.
The 2 most important emerging trends
in the computer market which I've been discussing for many years
The new content enabled industries
of the future mean that vast data sets, which were once the preserve of telcos
or governments - will become much more commonplace than in the past.
Google manages huge amounts of data using Linux, and internally developed
applications, most enterprises can't do that. Because unlike Google they don't
have a monopolist's business advantages, and unlike Google, they can't easily
recruit PhDs to write most of their software.
Instead enterprises will
turn to platforms which already have a reputation for managing large data sets
reliably - as the starting point for their new projects.
accelerated, Solaris hosted Oracle makes good sense for that kind of business
If readers have views on this Oracle / Sun thing that they'd
like to share. Drop me a line,
saying who you are and what you think.
Who's Going to Buy Sun Microsystems?
19, 2009 - there's a lot of speculation on the web that
may buy Sun.
It's not the first time Sun has been the
subject (or object of such rumors).
merger talks with Apple ended in February 1996.
And in July 2002
- I used the headline
Who's Going to
Buy Sun Microsystems? - to discuss possible buyers - at a low point in Sun's
In the 2002 article - I suggested - IBM and Fujitsu as
Some amusing ramblings about this on the
Fake Scott McNealy blog.
raises the interesting point that Sun and IBM control about 90% of the
high end tape backup
market. However that's a market that's been
declining for years
Users who haven't already migrated to
disk backup haven't been
getting a good experience from tape vendors even before this move. So it's not a
material factor. The dominance of the 2 companies in the Unix market might be.
But unless Linux suddenly gets grabbed by a single vendor - anti-competitive
issues in the OS space shouldn't be a worry.
Wind River's Linux Now Flowing through UltraSPARC T2
CLARA, CA - March 17, 2009 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today announced
that Wind River has completed the port of its Linux 3.0 and Workbench
development suite to Sun's UltraSPARC T2 processor.
combination of Sun's enterprise class UltraSPARC CMT platforms and Wind River's
Carrier Grade Linux gives telecom and networking system developers a new and
significantly superior vehicle for delivering their most mission critical
applications to enterprise and service provider customers," said Mike
Knudsen, VP, Sun OEM.
Editor's comments:- I first came across
Wind River Systems in the late 1980s,
when I was designing real-time systems which shared memory space with embedded
SPARC servers running SunOS. (The SPARCstations were the cheapest part of those
systems. The slowest too.)
I was an evangelist for using Unix systems
in real-time, and did the events circuit and wrote articles for our customers
talking about the benefits of using C and Unix for their real-time applications
- and leaving the real-time I/O handling to a virtual device interface which
we supported with over 100 VME based processors and peripherals - which were
mostly COTS - although we sometimes designed fast I/O if commercial products
At that time Wind River were talking about a product
called VXworks. I didn't
use it - because it wasn't stable enough for my needs at the time. .
the late 1990s nearly 20 companies were listed in our
directory. There was even talk of IBM's AIX being ported to SPARC.
of that real (and vaporware) support ended by 2000 due to a
market factors. The availability of Linux on SPARC is something which I
said in 2003 - would be the
Trigger Event that
will Turn Around Sun's Revenue Decline. That was in the midst of another
recession - following the dotcom bust - which had a bigger negative impact on
Sun (than the recession we're in now).
Sun Launches Flash SSD Analyzer Tool to Boost Server Sales and
Editor:- March 11, 2009 -Sun Microsystems launched
its new Sun Flash
Analyzer - a free Java tool to help users determine how much their (Solaris,
Windows and Linux) servers could benefit from SSD acceleration.
company also launched a try before you buy marketing promotion for its servers
which have Sun branded 2.5"
SLC flash SSDs pre-integrated. The 32GB SATA SSDs have sequential R/W upto
250MB/s and 170MB/s respectively. Random R/W IOPS are upto 35,000 and 3,300
respectively (4k blocks).
3 years - assuming max write speed and 100% write duty cycle.
HP to Offer Solaris 10 on x86 Servers
ALTO, CA - February 25, 2009 - Sun Microsystems today announced an
expanded multi-year partnership agreement that enables HP to distribute
and provide software technical support for Sun's Solaris 10 OS on HP's ProLiant
HP ProLiant led the x86 server market with 38%
factory revenue share in the 4th quarter of 2008 according to
IDC. ...HP profile
comments:- it took over 22 years to get here. You can see the key milestones
in Surviving the
Solaris x86 Wars
|the Top 10 SSD Companies|
trust SSD market data?
how fast can your SSD
of SSD capacity - server vs SAN
7 SSDs silos for the pure
Volumes at Historic Low|
|Editor:- June 5, 2009 - the
volume of news about the SPARC server market is about 50x less than it
was at the peak of the market a decade ago, as you can see by viewing the
archived news links on the
That's because the SPARC market is much smaller in annual
revenue and hundreds of oems have switched their priorities to the Intel
Architecture server market.
The hottest part of the server market in
recent years has been the storage
market. Storage has been a bigger part of the overall IT budget than servers
for many years. You can see storage
And within the storage market, undisputedly the hottest
part of the market now is that for SSDs. Click here for
when, there's a resurgence in SPARC technology news, such stories will be run
|at the start of 2009 - this is how we looked
ahead at the market...|
|SPARC Market Outlook in
What are the main trends likely to influence the SPARC
market in 2009?
|Having failed long ago on the
desktop and still being insignificant in the overall notebook market (despite
the availability of technically impressive products) SPARC - unlike Intel
architecture - is best viewed solely as a server processor architecture.|
market prospects for all servers in 2009 / 2010 (not just SPARC) will
be driven by the following considerations.
Factors which will tend
decrease server unit shipments.
- the Credit Crunch:- for most enterprises uncertainty about their future
survival, that of their customers and lack of funding - will mean that
spending on new servers will be done only as a last resort when all other
options have been exhausted.
- Virtualization:- time sharing applications capacity into a common pool of
less servers is already a well established trend in the market. This will
continue to a more rigorous degree.
- Fatter Multi-Core Processors:- this trend has already impacted server sales
in previous years. As the number of cores heads into double digits it satisfies
many customer needs by reducing the physical and energy footprint of server
installations - as well as reducing cost.
Factors which will tend
increase server unit shipments.
- SSD Server Acceleration:- SSD
acceleration enables users to get more applications IOPS and lower response
times using less servers than systems which use only hard disk storage. In the
past this relied on expert installation to get the best results. As this
function gets managed better by automated software - SSD solutions will get
more widely adopted in the user base.
The killer app for creating
increased demands for servers is Internet TV.
broadcasters already make some of their content available for viewing online.
As business models evolve - this single application has the potential to push
ISP and telco server infrastructure to a new level - just as the original
dial-up internet did over a decade ago.
And one of the effects of the
Credit Crunch will be to accelerate user uptake fo these services - because in
bad times - consumers spend a disproprtionate amount of their disposable income
on things that make them feel better.
Was there ever a "Golden Age"
for SPARC systems?
Yes. And that idea is explored from various
angles in legacy articles on this site.