Sun Scales Processing Power for Enterprise

Sun Microsystems Inc. plans to make it easier for enterprises to scale their computing power when it's needed.

Sun Microsystems Inc. plans to make it easier for enterprises to scale their computing power when its needed.

At the Supercomputing show in Baltimore this week, Sun will announce it is expanding its Capacity on Demand program to include most of its midrange and high-end servers.

The initiative, which Sun officials said previously had been available in the high-end 10K server, will now include the midrange Sun Fire 3800, 4800, 4810 and 6800 servers as well as the high-end Sun Fire 12K and 15K servers via Capacity on Demand 2.0.

The program enables enterprises to buy these servers with extra capacity—processors, memory and I/O—already in them, according to officials at Sun, of Santa Clara, Calif. Only when the extra capacity is needed do users pay Sun to have that capacity turned on.

The program gives businesses the flexibility to deal with rising demand for computing power without having to buy more servers or eat up more physical space, officials said. Typically, each server comes with an extra four to eight CPUs and 32GB to 64GB of memory, they said.

The extra capacity is available now on the midrange servers and will be available on the 12K by the end of January, officials said.

Sun will also roll out its Sun Fire Link interconnect technology, which will enable users to tie together their Sun Fire 6800 through 15K servers to create a high-performance computing environment.

Officials said the low-latency interconnect, using the Message Passing Interface standard, will be able to pass up to 2.8GB of data per second between the boxes and will have a latency of 4 microseconds.

The Sun Fire Link is available now, said officials. The base price for a Sun Fire 6800 server with two Sun Fire Link interconnect modules is $56,000.

Sun also will sell supercomputing clusters of up to eight high-end servers based on the Sun Fire Link technology as Galaxy-class configurations, ranging up to 800 CPUs and 1.68 teraflops.

Brad Day, an analyst with Giga Information Group Inc., said Sun Fire Link has performed well in early benchmark tests.

"It seems to be very solid," said Day, in Norwell, Mass., adding that Sun is trying to gain traction in a space currently dominated by IBM.