Sun Microsystems will unveil servers powered by Intel's new processors code-named Nehalem EP at an event in Las Vegas April 14. At the event, Sun also will unveil its Open Network Systems data center strategy. Sun announced enhancements to its Solaris operating system March 30 when Intel launched its Xeon 5500 chips and microarchitecture, but waited two weeks before rolling out the new systems, which will include blade servers.
on April 14 will be rolling out servers based on Intel's
new quad-core "Nehalem EP" chips as well as unveiling its Open
Network Systems data center initiative. The announcements will be made at an
event in Las Vegas.
In a notice
of the launch on Sun's Website,
the company noted that some HPC
(high-performance computing) customers already are using Sun blade servers
powered by Intel's
Xeon 5500 series chips
and that more systems running on the processor will
start shipping after the April 14 event.
No details were given about the Open Network Systems data center program.
Rivals such as Cisco
and Hewlett-Packard have been putting together initiatives to more
closely tie together server, storage and networking devices within the data
center, taking advantage of approaches such as virtualization.
Intel unveiled the Nehalem EP chip and microarchitecture March 30. A host
of systems makers
big and small-including Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM,
Fujitsu and Rackable Systems-all unveiled new or upgraded servers running on the
processor, which is aimed at systems with two sockets. Apple unveiled a Nehalem-powered
system a week later.
The Nehalem EP launch was part of a gradual rollout of the new architecture
by Intel. The Nehalem chips for high-end PCs and workstations were unveiled in fall
2008, and the Nehalem EX, for servers with four or more sockets, is due later in
At the launch of the Xeon 5500 series, Intel officials said the new
architecture was built to ramp up performance and energy efficiency while
reducing costs around power, cooling and space.
The chips have improved capabilities related to virtualization, a direct
chip-to-chip interconnect and an integrated memory controller similar to the
design used by rival Advanced Micro Devices in its Opteron
Sun and Intel also collaborated to optimize
the Solaris operating system for the Nehalem architecture,
a key goal of
the partnership announced in 2007 between the two companies.
For example, Sun officials said Solaris is optimized to take advantage of
new instruction sets in the Nehalem architecture, as well as such features as
the QuickPath chip-to-chip interconnect and Turbo Boost speed ramping
technology. With Turbo Boost, the clock speed of individual cores can be
increased depending on demand.
In addition, Solaris was enhanced to work with the upgraded multithreading
capabilities in Nehalem, according to Sun officials.
Sun's ZFS file system also is a good match for the performance upgrades in
the new chip, and the Power Aware Dispatcher in Solaris and OpenSolaris-which
helps power down processing cores that aren't being fully utilized-enhances the
energy efficiency features in the Xeon 5500 chip, Sun officials said. Sun's
DTrace troubleshooting tool and PowerTop feature-which keeps track of CPU
utilization-in Solaris will further enhance the energy efficiency capabilities
in the Xeon 5500 series.