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Sun Multicore Takes Manhattan

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Determined to regain its swagger in the Unix server space, Sun Microsystems today introduced new computing machines that pack a rack of servers on one chip to run Internet programs with greater efficiency.
The new machines were officially unveiled today. Capable of scaling up to eight cores or 32 threads, they
aim to cut down server sprawl in data centers

The Sun Fire T1000 and T2000 servers, which CEO Scott McNealy unwrapped at a press event in New York this morning, feature Sun’s new CoolThreads technology for running multiple tasks on a single processor.

The machines are based on the Santa Clara, Calif., company’s UltraSpahrc T1 processor, a 9.6 gigahertz technological advancement that goes beyond the current multi-core offerings from Intel, IBM or AMD.

Sun Fire T1000
Sun Fire T1000
Source: Sun

Each of the UltraSparc T1 CoolThreads cores has four threads, for a total of 32, said Fadi Azhari, a director in the scalable systems group at Sun. Each thread can perform different tasks in parallel, which speeds processing for applications written to take advantage of it.

While many of the latest dual-core servers allow customers to run two processing engines on a single chip to provide on average 1.5 times the performance of a single piece of silicon, Sun’s T1 systems can scale to four, six or even eight cores. This provides a considerable performance boost over other machines in the market.

The servers are Sun’s latest example of the multi-core craze that has rivals, such as IBM, HP and Dell, scrambling to build machines that perform better without taking up more space or consuming more energy.

Why the push now for Sun at the end of the year? Sun had originally planned to issue the new servers in 2006, but it has been losing Unix market share to IBM.

Convinced the second phase of the Internet is being stifled by “inefficient architectures powered by Xeon-based systems, as well as IBM Power5 architecture,” Azhari said Sun is hyping the T1 machines as more powerful machines than those based on Intel or IBM chips that don’t leech power.

He said Intel and IBM-based systems are not designed for specific application workloads to handle the multi-threaded environment. He said the new T1 machines will provide major boosts in performance and power consumption and space efficiencies in data centers.

Sun Fire T2000
Sun Fire T2000
Source: Sun

The T1000 is a 1U, 19-inch-deep server designed for Web and network infrastructures. The larger T2000 is a 2U, 24.3-inch deep server with greater redundancy capabilities for keeping application services and Web consolidation projects up and running.

To complement the T1 server lines, Sun today also announced “full protection” service plans for the new Sun Fire T1000 and T2000 servers. These include hardware and Solaris 10 support for three years and give users access to Sun’s lifecycle management services.

The new Sun Fire T1000 and T2000 systems, optimized to run Sun’s Solaris 10 operating system, have been beta tested by more than 100 customers, including eBay, Air France and EDS.

The T2000 is shipping now, starting at $7,795 with a full protection plan. The T1000 will ship next March, starting around $2,995 when customers purchase a protection plan.

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