Sun Microsystems, Fujitsu Offering New SPARC-Based Server

Sun Microsystems and Fujitsu are rolling out a new midrange server system dubbed the SPARC Enterprise T5440, which will be based on the UltraSPARC T2 Plus processor. While Sun and Fujitsu have been offering low-end systems that use the UltraSPARC T2 chip, this server is geared toward midmarket and enterprise companies that want to run database and CRM applications within their data center infrastructure. The T5440, which Sun and Fujitsu will both sell, is expected to compete against other Unix systems such as IBM Power Systems and HP's Integrity line.

Sun Microsystems and Fujitsu are rolling out a jointly developed midrange system, the SPARC Enterprise T5440 server, which is based on Sun's UltraSPARC T2 plus processor and is designed to run database and CRM applications.

With the new T5440 system, Sun and Fujitsu are looking to bring a midrange offering into the midmarket and enterprise market to compete against Unix systems from IBM and Hewlett-Packard. On Oct. 7, IBM rolled out several new Power Systems that use the company's own Power Architecture, including the Power 560 Express, which is expected to compete against the T5440.

While Sun and Fujitsu have developed a number of low-end systems that use the UltraSPARC chip, the T5440 is an attempt to penetrate the higher end of the market. While the low-end systems were considered better for Web applications, Nancy Riley, a marketing manager for Sun, said this new system can handle database, CRM and ERP applications.

Although Sun and Fujitsu jointly develop systems based on the UltraSPARC or more traditional SPARC chips, the two companies do compete for the same customers. The only difference between Sun and Fujitsu when it comes to the T5400 is a different company name on the box.

The T5440 is a 4U (7-inch) system that can support either two or four of the UltraSPARC T2 plus processors. Unlike the IBM Power6 processor, which has a top clock speed of 5.0GHz, the clock speeds of the UltraSPARC T2 Plus chips are a modest 1.2GHz and 1.4GHz. However, Sun focused on what it calls CMT or chip multithreading technology, meaning that each processor includes a total of 64 instructional threads-eight threads per core-so instead of cranking the clock speed to improve performance, the T2 chips allow multithreaded applications to run in parallel.

"We feel that with this server we are taking CMT into the midrange," Riley said. "Whereas ... previous products ... were seen as systems that had been seen for Web-tier and network-facing applications, we feel like with this type of compute power we are able to hit some more of those enterprise-class applications, whether it's CRM or ERP, databases and other transaction applications."

In addition the T2 processor, the T5440 system will support up to 512GB of main memory along with four SAS (serial-attached SCSI) that can support up to 146GB of data storage. The system also runs Sun's Solaris 10 operating system as well as Sun Containers and Logical Domains for virtualization, which will allow a user to create 128 different virtual environments in one system.