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Sun Introduces High-End Server: Sun Fire 15K

By Kevin Reichard (Send Email)
Posted Sep 25, 2001


Sun Microsystems today introduced the Sun Fire 15K server, a high-level Solaris-based server designed to complete with mainframes and other high-end servers. The Sun Fire 15K server has a baseline configuration of 106 processors, 576 gigabytes of RAM, and 18 I/O hubs for networking and storage connectivity, making it the world's largest single-cabinet UNIX server system. Sun Microsystems today introduced the Sun Fire 15K server, a high-level Solaris-based server designed to complete with mainframes and other high-end servers.

Pricing will depend on specific Sun Fire 15K configurations.

Sun is claiming a performance for the Sun Fire 15K of nearly 2.5 times the MIPS rating (millions of instructions per second) of the largest commercially available mainframe. In addition, Sun says that the Sun Fire 15K server has the most balanced high-performance server architecture available and delivers the industry's best benchmark results in real-world applications, including SAP, Java platform performance (SPECjbb; more on this later) and high performance computing (Fluent).

At the heart of the system, with roughly 5 miles of wiring, is the Sun Fireplane interconnect that offers throughput of 172 Gigabytes per second. Sun Fire 15K can have up to 106 64-bit UltraSPARC III processors with the ability to scale beyond 1,000 CPUs. With "hot" CPU upgrades, the Sun Fire 15K server enables resources to be added easily while the system is up and running.

The Sun Fire 15K server also features 576 gigabytes of memory, allowing for massive processing in applications requires large amounts of memory, ranging from large memory-resident databases to complex scientific applications like human genomics or offshore oil exploration.

The Sun Fire 15K server shares common components with the midframe Sun Fire product line introduced earlier this year. This includes the "Uniboard" technology, which provides common CPU/memory boards, to enable common sparing in order to meet peak demand of resources.

Benchmarking the Sun Fire 15K
Using the Sun Fire 15K, Sun submitted world-record results on the SPECjbb2000 benchmark, achieving results of 324,542 operations per second, 2.5 times faster than IBM's best published results. To date, no other vendor has published results of this magnitude for a SPECjbb2000 benchmark. This benchmark also marks the first time a single Java virtual machine has been scaled to beyond 24 processors. The SPECjbb2000 benchmark tests the performance of a Java application tier portion of a multi-tier datacenter application.

SPECjbb2000 (Java Business Benchmark) is the Standard Performance Evaluation Corp.'s benchmark for evaluating server-side Java technology performance. It models a three-tier system, the most common type of server-side Java application. SPECjbb2000 focuses on business logic and object manipulation and the work of a middle-tier server workload based on Java technology. The workload benchmarked is a typical business-critical workload, including order-entry, inquiry and payment processing. The benchmark was run on a 72-way Sun Fire 15K configuration with 900 MHz UltraSPARC III processors and 288GB of memory running the Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition (J2SE), version 1.3.1. Competitive numbers shown reflect results published on www.spec.org as of 9/25/01. For the latest SPECjbb2000 results visit the SPECjbb2000 Web site.

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