By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2006-01-02 Print this article Print

As enterprises become increasingly concerned about power consumption and cooling costs, Suns bet on more cost-effective systems that use less power by doing simpler tasks is a move that IT managers will appreciate. The coupling of low power consumption with multicore chips will enable organizations to reduce their server footprint in the data center while saving on energy costs.

The Sun Fire T2000 is equipped with four 10/100/ 1,000MB Ethernet ports and will support as many as four 73GB SAS (serial-attached SCSI) drives. The server also is armed with four USB ports, three PCI Express slots and two PCI-X slots for peripherals. The T2000 is cooled by three hot-swappable, redundant fans; it is powered by dual hot-swappable, redundant power supplies.

While the Sun Fire T2000 does not support hardware RAID, we expect organizations that spend the money to outfit the server will likely attach the unit to a SAN (storage area network).

eWEEK Labs $26,995 test unit was equipped with one eight-core 1.2GHz UltraSPARC T1 processor, 32GB of DDR2 (double data rate 2) memory and dual 73GB 2.5-inch SAS hard disk drives. The Sun Fire T2000 system we tested was running Suns Solaris 10 and Java Enterprise System software.

Also included was a Sun ALOM (Advanced Lights Out Management) card for remote management. The ALOM card is used to monitor events such as CPU temperature, fan speed, thermal conditions and disk-drive status.

During tests, the Sun Fire T2000 was best at handling front-end Web and application serving workloads that could take advantage of the servers multithreading capabilities.

Taking on Solaris shine

The Sun Fire T2000s tight integration with the Solaris 10 operating system allowed us to take advantage of facilities built into the software, including the ability to use Suns process resource control to limit which cores ran a thread.

For example, we were able to disable specific cores while the system was up and running, as well as associate particular threads with one or more specific cores. We were also able to use Solaris 10 to bind loads to specific cores. And by using the operating systems resource pools and associated commands and zoning, we could associate multiple CPUs to a specific thread or process.

The UltraSPARC T1 is compatible with Suns SPARC V9 standard, so IT managers with applications written for any UltraSPARC platform should have no problem porting them to the Sun Fire T2000.

While heavily threaded applications that are light on floating-point computations performed with no problem during our tests, the UltraSPARC T1s single floating- point unit could be a potential bottleneck. The server will likely take a performance hit on higher-end applications that have nonthreaded or heavy math workloads. Sun has already announced that the UltraSPARC T1s successor, code-named Niagara II, will have one floating point unit per core. That chip, however, is not expected until 2007.

Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached at anne_chen@ziffdavis.com.

Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.

As a senior writer for eWEEK Labs, Anne writes articles pertaining to IT professionals and the best practices for technology implementation. Anne covers the deployment issues and the business drivers related to technologies including databases, wireless, security and network operating systems. Anne joined eWeek in 1999 as a writer for eWeek's eBiz Strategies section before moving over to Labs in 2001. Prior to eWeek, she covered business and technology at the San Jose Mercury News and at the Contra Costa Times.

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