Azul Prepares 48-Core Processor

The Vega 2 chip, scheduled for release in 2007, will double the number of cores in the company's current offering.

Azul Systems, which last year unveiled its massive Compute Appliances designed to improve the performance of Java and Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition applications by offloading them from general-purpose servers, next year will roll out the next generation of its Vega processor.

Vega 1, which powers Azuls current line of machines, offers up to 24 cores per chip. Vega 2, of which the Mountain View, Calif., company has produced working versions, will offer up to 48 cores.

"We have working samples in the labs," said Scott Sellers, Azuls vice president of engineering.

Azul is aiming to do for processing what other companies have done in the storage and I/O arenas—take it off the server and create a pool of available resources that users can tap into as needed. Officials say the appliances enable users to better utilize their computing resources and better manage their data center real estate, power needs and costs.

Vega 1 powers Azuls Compute Appliances, which can scale as high as 384 processors. Businesses put Azuls proxy software on their servers to enable the offloading of Java workloads from servers running BEA Systems WebLogic, WebSphere from IBM or JBoss.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read an interview with Azul CEO Stephen DeWitt.

Vega 2, which will hold 812 million transistors, will enable Azul to create appliances that can scale up to 768 cores, Sellers said. More specifications on the chip will be released as the launch date nears, he said.

The chip is being designed by Azul and manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing. It will be built on a 90-nanometer manufacturing process.

Its important for Azul to show customers and potential customers that the company is continuing to innovate, Sellers said.

"As companies begin to adopt our technology, there needs to be a compelling road map," he said.

Azul in February announced a significant customer win when global bank Credit Suisse announced it will use the technology in its data centers.

The company also apparently has drawn the ire of Sun Microsystems, where a number of Azul officials once worked. Earlier this month, Azul filed suit against Sun, saying its larger competitor for a year had threatened to sue Azul over patent infringement and trade secret claims. Azul said its suit is a pre-emptive strike against Suns predatory actions, which included demands for upfront fees and a financial stake in Azul.

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