- first multiprocessor SPARC systems:-
|Solbourne made its own SPARC
chips and workstations in the 1980's, and was the first SPARC company to be
driven out of business by Sun's better and more aggressive marketing.|
||Tadpole is still a world leader
in SPARC portables and has extended its SPARC product line into rackmounts and
upgrades, partly as a result of acquiring Cycle Computer.|
- first Intel Architecture coprocessor on SBus running Microsoft
operating system and applications in a SunOS window:- Puzzle Systems.
| The company was put out of
business when Sun launched its own similar product.|
- first SPARC chip upgrades - Weitek.
|Weitek's (x2 clocked processors
fitted into original Sun sockets in the SPARCstation 2). Weitek, which also
designed some Intel coprocessor accelerators, regarded this as a "one-off"
market opportunity, and didn't do any follow on SPARC products.|
- first fault tolerant SPARC servers:-
Integrated Micro Products (IMP).
| IMP was acquired by
||First cPCI SPARC SBC launched
In 2001 Force was the world's largest supplier of cPCI
processors, shipping far more than even Sun.
- first 64 bit SPARC chips:- HAL Computer.
|HAL was a business disaster for
its parent company Fujitsu, with much hype and good products, but poor market
development. But Fujitsu still develops and uses SPARC64 technology. Fujitsu's
independently designed SPARC servers did not have the same cache problems which
plagued Sun in 2001. If they were better at marketing, they could have gained
enormous market share from this opportunity. Instead IBM and HP were the main
beneficiaries of nervous customers who switched applications away from Sun.|
- first environmentally friendly SPARC
motherboard upgrades:- Cycle Computer.
|Cycle was started by Mark
Johnston, one of the founders of the SPARC workstation company Axil Computer.
Cycle's original concept was that you could re-use your old RAM, disk and other
peripherals when you upgraded your motherboard, and could mix and match old as
well as new technology, instead of throwing them away. Cycle was acquired by
||Auspex changed its processors
to Pentium technology and is still active in the
- first mainframe type backplane for SPARC
systems:- Cray Research.
|Cray licensed the technology
from its SuperServer 6400 to co-deveoper Sun, which used it in the SPARC center
2000. Cray didn't seem to know how to market anything outside its core customer
base, meanwhile Sun used the new technology to expand updwards into the
datacenter, also killing off most of Cray's business along the way. Cray went
back to its own proprietary technology, and is now a Sun VAR. |
- first SPARC array processors:- Meiko.
|Meiko was one of the first
companies to provide affordable supercomputers for scientific modelling, but
within a few years their products had been overtaken by systems which offered
the same processing power, with the added convenience of standard operating
systems and a wider range of I/O. The company just eventually fizzled out.|
||in June 2002, Themis used an InfiniBand connection to connect a rugged
external PCI slot expansion box to its range of Rugged Enterprise Servers |
- first multi-core SPARC chips:- Sun
|in April 2004, Sun started
shipping servers with its UltraSPARC IV processors, the first SPARC chips to
include two full processors cores.|
...So next time you hear someone from Sun claim that they're the stars in
the Unix RISC market, just remember that without all that SPARC dark matter,
there probably wouldn't be a SPARC market today at all. Sun's corporate memory
about the important role of VARs in its early development is also conveniently