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Sun’s Busy Week

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It seemed Sun Microsystems was everywhere this week. From new high performance computing (HPC) offerings, to new Netras, to unveiling xVM inking deals with Dell, the systems vendor had a thumb in every pie this week.

As if taking the wraps off of its virtualization software and announcing a deal that puts Solaris on Dell servers wasn’t enough, the systems vendor also unveiled several supercomputing and telecom solutions.

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On Wednesday at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz officially unveiled Sun xVM, its new virtualization technology. If that weren’t big enough news, the even bigger news to come out of the show was the OEM deal Sun inked with Dell to distribute and support Sun’s Solaris operating system on Dell PowerEdge servers.

In a speech at the show Schwartz said Sun reached out to Dell after determining one third of Sun users were running the operating system on Dell servers. Michael Dell, who delivered a keynote address at the show, said his company was also hearing increased requests from customers, including Oracle customers, for the company to support Solaris.

The agreement, according to InternetNews, is a feather in Sun’s cap and follows similar agreements with IBM and Intel to support Solaris. In the past, Sun has noted a large number of HP customers use Solaris, but no such agreement is currently in place with HP.

As for the details surrounding xVM — Sun plans to make the virtualization server and a unified management infrastructure called xVM Ops Center, available for free later this year, Schwartz said it will charge for support. For many enterprises worldwide, he noted running “a free, unsupported product is not an option,” because the cost of downtime far outweighs the cost of support.

Ops Center will include a unified management console designed to help users manage both the virtualized and physical components of their IT environments. Sun xVM Server, Sun’s virtualization server, will be based on code derived from the Xen open source community.

Sun Lights Up Supercomputing Constellation

Sun also served up some news at the Supercomputing 2007 conference in Reno, Nevada. On Monday, it released new products built on its previously announced Constellation HPC clustering.

Constellation, which was initially announced back in June, is a three-pronged petaflop-capable system consisting of ultra-dense blades, Sun’s X4500 storage systems and the new, ultra-dense Magnum switch. The blade system is known as the Sun Blade 6048, with 48 blades in four shelves of 12.

Magnum is the codename for an Infiniband switch with 3,456 ports. The official title is Sun Datacenter Switch 3456. Sun claims its architecture will greatly reduce latency when communicating from node to node and offer improved overall system throughput.

The first Sun Constellation System is currently being built at the University of Texas in Austin’s Texas Advanced Computing Center. This system will consist of 82 blades, the Sun Fire 6048 Ultra dense blade server, 72 Sun X4500 storage servers and two 3456 switches.

The Constellation system is designed to be purchased in customized combinations. Customers can choose between Intel Xeon, AMD Opteron and Sun Niagara 2 UltraSparc processors, and can run Solaris, Linux or Windows Server, in any combinations.

Sun Talks Telco

On Tuesday, Sun looked to the telco space with the introduction of the Sun Netra CT900 Multithreaded 10G ATCA Portfolio, a new product suite containing the Sun Netra CP3260 ATCA blade server, powered by UltraSPARC T2 processors; the Sun Netra CP3220 ATCA blade server, powered by AMD Opteron processors; and the Sun Netra CP3240 10GbE ATCA switch.

It is “very much the right product at right time,” Mark Butler, product line director, Netra Systems told ServerWatch.

He said that the Netra line has experienced six consecutive quarters of double-digit growth. Much of the growth comes from the telco infrastructure roll-out of broadband, both wireless and fixed. Senior Product Manager Dave Berry further attributed the growth to raw subscriber growth and additional media services.

Rapid growth brings its own set of unique problems. Berry noted, “there has never really been a fabric to accommodate the network traffic we’re seeing.”

The Sun Unified Network Platform (SUN-P) aims to resolve this issue. The SUN-P combines Sun’s CMT servers, 10G multithreaded networking, LDOM virtualization software and Netra software technology.

The Sun Netra CP3260 and CP3220 ATCA blade modules both deliver the breakthrough performance of multicore, 10 Gigabit Ethernet computing. The blades feature 8 DIMM sockets for 32GB configurations and AdvancedRTM I/O. The Advanced RTMs enable standardization, high I/O capacity and system scalability. Sun will initially provide a dual SAS hard drive, dual 4Gb/s Fibre Channel with multiple Gbe and dual multithreaded 10 GbE solutions.

The Sun Netra CP3260 ATCA blade server is NEBS Level 3 Certified.

This article compiled in part from content originally published on

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