SPARC Trivia Quiz
View from the Hill - #4
|These are the real reasons why...||More views from the hill...|
Software publishers have many common attributes. We parodied some of these in our Spellerbyte software page. But there are some serious underlying assumptions which users would recognise from their own experience.
I remember that when Sun Microsystems announced its first multiprocessor server, the SPARCserver 600MP in 1991, my colleagues and I were both pleased and amused at the same time.
We were pleased, because we had been building multiprocessor systems for real-time applications for some time. The task of integrating a whole bunch of disparate processors and operating systems (one optimised for database, another for real-time response, and yet another for number crunching) was good fun, but it consumed a lot of engineering effort and architectural design. In the systems we built, the Sun was the cheapest component, and we were already starting to interconnect SPARC systems across the VMEbus. This looked like a good way of saving money for our customers.
We were amused, because we knew from our own experience that once you created an architecture like this, it could take several years before you got the full benefits. We speculated that the only benefits you might get straightaway would be if one processor was managing the display while another was managing the disk drives. This looked like an expensive option compared to intelligent I/O and graphics accelerators, but nevertheless one which would offer great flexibility once Sun started to fix the lack of real-time support in SunOS.
In 1992, Sun changed the face of computing forever by shipping the SPARCstation 10. This was the first time that you could get a low cost high volume box which would run real applications, and included multiprocessor capability. From that point the clock started ticking for a new software market. Previous multiprocessor systems were unattractive to most applications software publishers, because they were either:-
It was 1997, before similar types of systems started to appear in the Intel PC market, and the methods of interconnecting the various processors within a system were implemented differently by different manufacturers. It was probably not until 1998 that any kind of multi vendor standardisation started to appear in mulitiprocessor PC systems, and that's when the clock really started ticking for third party software vendors who wanted to use these features in a PC running NT.
My own view of the Solaris versus NT debate for large scalable systems is based on the gut feel notion that the real difference doesn't lie so much within the technical capabilities of Sun Microsystems or Microsoft, who are equally capable of recruiting and deploying good software engineers. The real differences that users experience today, are more deeply rooted in the longevity and applications experience of the third party applications software developers. In this race, Solaris applications had a clear 5 year lead. That doesn't mean to say that NT can't catch up in some areas, or even overtake Solaris.
|Should Sun Microsystems
make its own brand of "Intel Inside®" PC's?|
Will Sun Succeed in the STORAGE market?
SPARC resellers - are they important? Do we really need them? Resellers were important in the development of the SPARC market in the 1990's. Will the web change that?
View from the Hill - Tadpole acquires Cycle - consequences analyzed
Sun Microsystems needs Intel and Microsoft to be successful - to fuel the insatiable demand for SPARC servers.
Why are most Sun resellers invisible on the web?
|Next month's View from the Hill will discuss:-||Why are most Sun resellers invisible on the web?|
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|SPARC manufacturers||Sun/SPARC Resellers in the USA||Sun/SPARC Resellers in the UK|
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