Sun Readies First Niagara 2 Systems

Sun Microsystems is rolling out the first of three new servers to use the Niagara 2 processor, including a blade.

The first of Sun Microsystems UltraSPARC T2 systems are ready to hit the market.

At its Customer Engineering Conference in Las Vegas Oct. 9, Sun, based in Santa Clara, Calif., will introduce a pair of rack-mount systems, along with a new blade server, that will be the first to use Suns new UltraSPARC T2 or Niagara 2 processor.

With its second Niagara processor, which Sun first revealed Aug. 6, the company deemphasized clock speed in favor of improvements to the floating point performance and an increase in the number of cores, in this case, eight, which each carry eight instructional threads—Suns CMT (chip multithreading) technology.

With a total of 64 instructional threads and one floating point unit per core, Sun executives said, Niagara 2 and the new systems will help the company expand beyond servers that can handle Web and financial applications to systems that can support workload-intensive scientific applications and high-performance computing.

On Oct. 9, Sun plans on providing more details about the pair of 1U (1.75-inch) rack-mounted servers, the Sun SPARC Enterprise T5120 and the T5220, which are both one-socket systems. The low-end T5120 offers a Niagara 2 processor running at 1.2GHz, and Warren Mootrey, senior director of Suns Volume SPARC Systems Division, said the processor yields from its manufacturing facilities will allow it to offer the system with four, six and eight cores.

The announcement also comes a few weeks after Sun introduced its first servers to use Intel quad-core Xeon processors. Both Suns x64 (x86, 64-bit) systems and its SPARC systems offer a unified architecture design and chassis.


Click here to read more about Suns Intel-based servers.

The other system, the T5220, will be offered with either a 1.2GHZ or a 1.4GHz, eight-core UltraSPARC T2 processor. Both systems have 16 fully buffered DIMM (dual in-line memory module) slots that can support 4GB of memory each for a maximum total of 64GB of RAM.

In addition to the rack-mount system, Sun is offering a one-socket blade server—the Sun Blade T6320—that will utilize both the 1.2GHz and 1.4GHz eight-core Niagara 2. The blade and the T5120 offer four SAS (serial-attached SCSI) drives with a maximum capacity of 146GB, while the T5220 offers eight SAS drives.


To read about Suns decision to merge its systems and storage groups into one division, click here.

All three systems will also support the latest version of Suns Solaris operating system, which offers a number of virtualization technologies, such as Solaris Containers and Logical Domains, which will offer users a way to consolidate systems within the data center, Mootrey said. The new systems will also support Suns new virtualization platform, rolled out Oct. 4, along with Suns Management Center software.

In addition to Solaris, the new SPARC system will also run Ubuntu Linux.

Sun did not immediately offer published prices for the three new systems. Mootrey said the two rack-mount systems will begin shipping about Oct. 9, while the blade will not ship until Oct. 24.


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