Sun Microsystems Inc. will descend on New York this week to exhibit new technology in front of one of its oldest customers—Wall Street.
Sun has a long history of selling SPARC/Solaris architecture to the financial industry. All the top 10 Wall Street firms run Sun technology, as does 70 percent of the Nasdaq, said John Fanelli, senior director for Suns Network Systems Group.
"We really have been active on Wall Street since the beginning of our company," Fanelli said. "Weve often said that Sun was born on Wall Street."
So with Linux competition pushing Sun like never before, the Santa Clara, Calif., company will use its quarterly Network Computing event to talk up advancements in its bread-and-butter products, including SPARC, x86 servers, Java, developer tools and training programs targeted at accelerating migration to the forthcoming Solaris 10. Also on the table will be details about the open-source program that will be launched around Solaris .
On the software side, officials will announce that J2SE (Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition) 5.0, code-named Project Tiger, will be available in the next 30 days, said sources.
James Dobson, a systems architect at Dartmouth College, of Hanover, N.H., uses Solaris in medical imaging applications and J2SE in internally developed applications. Dobson said he is happy to see some of the new Java features, including support for AMD64, the Public-Key Cryptography Standards #11, SASL (Simple Authentication and Security Layer) and Kerberos, as well as the improved user interface.
Sources said Sun also will announce that its development software, Sun Studio 10, will be launched next quarter and will work with Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Opteron- and Intel Corp. Nocona-based systems to run 64-bit applications.
Dobson said that though he is using 64-bit code on Solaris/SPARC and Linux/ x86_64, "once Solaris support for AMD64 is available, I will be very interested to see what CPU features the Sun compiler is able to leverage on x86_64. Ive heard rumors that Sun will be providing a nice math library from AMD as well," he said.
Sun President Jonathan Schwartz will talk up the iForce Partner and Solaris 10 Early Adoption programs, which will let ISVs, IHVs (independent hardware vendors) and development partners adopt the newest Solaris features and technologies.
Sun is expanding its existing developer support program with developer guides, downloads, documentation and forums, sources said. In addition, the company is readying new tools to support Solaris 10, including the next edition of the Sun Studio compiler, which is optimized for Solaris and performs application debugging and tuning.
Meanwhile, on the hardware front, Sun will unveil two SPARC-based servers, the four-way Sun Fire V490 and eight-way V890. Both servers will be powered by the companys new UltraSPARC IV processor, which offers two processing cores on a single piece of silicon, enabling an eight-way system, for example, to do the work of a 16-processor system, Fanelli said.
Sun will emphasize its line of x86 systems powered by AMDs 64-bit Opteron processor. In addition, Sun offers systems powered by Intels Xeon chips. Sun will highlight benchmark results showing Solaris x86 running on Opteron systems outperforming competitive platforms, including Linux on servers running Intel chips.
The platforms represent Suns answer to growing demands in the financial services industry, Fanelli said. Sun can now offer these companies varied platforms. As recently as three years ago, as the price/ performance ratio for Intel-based systems improved and Linux gained popularity, Wall Street began asking for such systems.
"What it came down to was, what they were looking to purchase, Sun didnt have," he said.
That was the case for GTrade Services Ltd., a trading arm of The Bank of New York Co. Inc., which launched in 1999. The company was looking for a platform and considered Sun before going with servers from Compaq Computer Corp., said Joe Weisbord, G-Trades chief technology officer.
"When we were building our trading system, we asked, Do we want to go with Sun or do we want to go with Intel or go with Windows?" said Weisbord, in New York. "[The decision to go with Intel-based systems] saved us a lot of money. ... In 99, we got a lot of questions about whether we were doing the right thing. We dont get a lot of those questions now."
However, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, a Sun customer since 1989, stuck with the company when it needed to upgrade its infrastructure as it implemented an electronic options trading platform, called PHLX XL.
The new platform will rapidly increase the amount of messages passing through the system everyday, said CIO William Morgan. This year, he expects to move 60,000 messages per second; that will increase to 120,000 per second next year.
"In the business that were in, capacity is a paramount issue for us," Morgan said. "As the industry moves toward running electronic trading, the amount of messages that we have to handle is growing, particularly at the beginning of the trading day."
A beta user of Solaris 10, Morgan said the new operating systems support for multithreaded applications and Suns dual-core SPARC IV processors will enable the exchange to scale its capacity to meet the growing demands without having to add new servers.
"Its saved us about $1 million in hardware acquisition costs," Morgan said of his decision to stay with Sun rather than move to another architecture, such as x86 or Intels Itanium chip. "We can vertically scale rather than horizontally scale. ... I can get more bang for my buck in the vertical sense rather than having to put more servers next to each other [in order to handle capacity]."
Editors Note: This story was updated to include comments from William Morgan of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.