Sun Microsystems and Fujitsu are adding a new SPARC-based server to their lineup of jointly developed high-end systems that support database and other transaction-heavy workloads. The new server, which Sun calls the Sun SPARC Enterprise M3000, is based on the quad-core SPARC64 VII processor that is developed by Fujitsu and Sun. The addition comes at at a time when Sun's sales have slipped and the financial crisis threatens its important Wall Street customers.
are adding a jointly developed server based on the newer quad-core SPARC64
processor to their lineup of high-end systems that support database and other
The Sun and Fujitsu SPARC Enterprise M3000 server is a 2U (3.5-inch) rack-mount
system that uses the newer quad-core SPARC64 VII
processor. The Enterprise M3000 officially goes on sale Oct. 28, and the system
will start shipping to customers early next month. The starting price for the
M3000 is $15,000.
For Sun, this latest announcement represents part of an ongoing refresh of
the company's server lineup. Earlier this month, Sun
and Fujitsu offered new dual-socket systems
based on the UltraSPARC T2 Plus
processor, and Sun
announced several new blade systems on Oct. 21 that included the UltraSPARC T2
and quad-core Advanced Micro Devices processors.
The updated server lineup also comes at a time when Sun is struggling
financially. On Oct. 20, the company announced that it expected to post a loss
of 25 cents to 35 cents a share when it releases its full financial report on
Oct. 30. Sun
sells a significant amount of its high-end, SPARC-based servers to financial
, which are experiencing their own economic breakdown.
"The thing that still surprises and disappoints me is that even with this
very strong product refresh that we have seen from Sun over the past 18 months,
they are still not getting traction or, if they are getting traction, it's just
not showing up in their top-line numbers," said Nathan Brookwood, an analyst
with Insight 64.
"These are very expensive systems and they are sold into a number of
applications, but a lot of Sun's customers are concentrated in financial
, and I don't think those guys are thinking about building their
infrastructure but are thinking about just saving their company," Brookwood
There has also been pressure from the likes of IBM
with its Power Systems and Hewlett-Packard, which uses Intel's Itanium
processor for its Integrity line.
These players dominate the high-end Unix
market, but Sun's sales seem to have suffered the most.
The M3000, Brookwood noted, does offer more performance for a price that's not
much more than some of the older SPARC-based systems.
In addition, Brookwood said that newer quad-core SPARC64 VII
processors (2.52GHz) offer features such as SMT
(simultaneous multithreading), which offers better performance with older,
single-threaded applications, and enhanced floating-point capabilities. Sun and
Fujitsu were also able to increase the number of cores with this SPARC chip
without dramatically increasing the thermal envelope.
"Many of our customers are running single-threaded applications, and the SMT
technology actually performs better on single-threaded applications than CMT
[chip multithreading technology]," said Tom Atwood, a group manager for SPARC
Enterprise at Sun.
"It also has low power and low cooling thresholds that make it a very
economic system," said Atwood. "This system also has features such as the
instruction retry on the CPU, memory mirroring, and its has fault management on
the software through Solaris as well error protection circuits and error
correction circuits inside that are watching what is going on."
The Enterprise M3000, which is a single-socket system, offers up to 32GB of
main memory and supports four 146GB SAS (serial-attached SCSI) drives. The
system also runs Sun's Solaris 10 operating system.