More Cool Threads From Sun

By Amy Newman (Send Email)
Posted Apr 11, 2008


Sun Microsystems Wednesday took the wraps off two UltraSPARC T2 Plus processor based servers in its SPARC Enterprise server line. The systems, like previous generations, were codeveloped with Fujitsu and are available for purchase from both vendors.

Sun took the wraps off two dual-socket UltraSPARC T2 Plus processor based servers in its SPARC Enterprise server line.

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Like the previous generation of T2 products they have an eye on serving Web applications. Unlike their predecessors, however, they are also well suited for "signature database workloads," John Fowler, executive vice president of Sun's Systems Group, said in a roundtable discussion preceding the launch.

The SPARC Enterprise T5140 and T5240 servers are the first dual-socket, general-purpose servers powered by the UltraSPARC T2 Plus processor. They offer two to four times more memory and internal disk capacity than comparable systems via 128 compute threads packed into one- and two-rack unit form factors. The 1U T5140 has three PCI Express slots while the 2U has six slots. The servers are capable of delivering up to 32 times higher compute density compared to the previous release.

The servers, which are designed for horizontal scaling, also aim to pack energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness into their footprints, attributes Sun is counting on appealing to enterprises in the current economic climate, Fowler said.

This endeavor is the first time an SMP architecture has been brought into a threaded environment, Warren Mootrey, senior director, volume SPARC systems, told ServerWatch.

Although these are 2-socket systems, Sun is putting them in the same league as its competitors 4- and 8-socket systems. Sun is also looking beyond the 2-socket space, with a 4-socket systems slated for the second half of the year.

This, according to Fowler, is where the data center is headed, "In the future, there will be no single-core systems." He further noted that Sun is taking servers into the 100 core.

Chip multithreading is a not so insignificant market for Sun. Servers incorporating the technology exhibited $1 billion year run rate last year, Mootrey said, while Fowler noted 100 percent growth for the technology in the past quarter.

The servers have been available to alpha and beta customers since last August. They are available now through Sun's Try and Buy program. Sun is currently offering a 45 percent discount for servers purchased before June, which pushes the price point below $17,000 Mootrey said.

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