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Sun Considers Opteron 236

Sanjay writes "Official from Sun spokesman. Sun is considering using AMD's Opteron chip in a server it expects to deliver to the market shortly. Intead of fighting Win of Wintel (like Redhat is doing), Sun can choose to fight both with Linux AMD's servers and also fight with HP/IBM as Itanium is anyway a non starter. Sun can rise again! "
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Sun Considers Opteron

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  • Dupe, I think. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dschuetz ( 10924 ) <david@d a s> on Thursday April 10, 2003 @03:32PM (#5704455)
    Here []

    Whatever happened to those of us with acess to TMF being able to submit notice for pending dupes? I tried, but there's no easy way to figure out how to send a note to the editors. I still like the idea (naturally, since I brought it up) of a little form on TMF stories with the ability to submit dupe notification right then and there.

    Of course, if I'm wrong, then, fine. :)

    • Re:Dupe, I think. (Score:5, Informative)

      by barzok ( 26681 ) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @03:42PM (#5704557)
      As I read it, the "dupe" was an unofficial speculation. This sounds as though Sun has made an official statement that the speculation was correct.
      • Re:Dupe, I think. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Osty ( 16825 ) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @04:01PM (#5704733)

        As I read it, the "dupe" was an unofficial speculation. This sounds as though Sun has made an official statement that the speculation was correct.

        Which sounds like the perfect definition for a Slashback story. We don't need another full-blown story on this just because Sun confirmed it. All we need is a paragraph in Slashback saying, "By the way, remember this story about Sun and the Opteron? Sun's confirmed it."

        • We don't need another full-blown story on this just because Sun confirmed it. All we need is a paragraph in Slashback saying, "By the way, remember this story about Sun and the Opteron? Sun's confirmed it."

          However most of us read stories and then *don't* keep going back to them over and over again.

          Thus having a new story is helpful. However I do agree that stories which are updates on older stories should have the link to the original story. That is advantageous as we may have missed the original stor

      • Yeah, in the original article, they were considering considering using them, but now they are just considering using them.
    • How's it go?

      Pete and Repete submitted a story,
      Pete's got posted, who else's did?

    • Re:Dupe, I think. (Score:3, Informative)

      by glitchvern ( 468940 )
      You're suppose to email the editor who posted it. In this case
    • I'm more interested on why this article has both the Sun and AMD icons. /. supports articles in more than one category now?

    • Seriously, someone should start letting people mod stories that are posted up and down. Like a meta-meta-moderation.
  • Heh (Score:2, Funny)

    by grub ( 11606 )

    When I read "Sun can rise again" my wee mind read it as if Apu was saying it ala "Thank you, come again"
  • Did I get sucked into some hellish wormhole?
    Or is this a normal Taco dupe? []
  • In other news, /. editors consider searching for dupes [] before posting.
  • Hrmm.. so many stupid puns.. such as,

    America, Land of the rising Sun?

    The Sun will come up, tomorrow!

    .. and various other stupid thoughts come to mind. Feel free to add to this drivel.
  • by dark-br ( 473115 ) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @03:36PM (#5704506) Homepage
    And maybe we should change that slogan, what about:

    News for the amnesiac. Stuff that mattered

  • Intel (Score:5, Funny)

    by ralico ( 446325 ) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @03:37PM (#5704519) Homepage Journal
    After hearing that Microsoft is going to use it [], and Now, Sun.
    So when is Intel going to use Opteron?
  • Well, what will then be the difference between a x86-64 Sun and a big fat PC from Dell or similar manufacturer?

    Perhaps the service.

    Or laboratory used to buy Sun workstations and servers. We liked their service contracts. But still.. their hardware is SO expensive! We now buy PCs from Dell!
    • by chill ( 34294 ) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @03:49PM (#5704625) Journal
      You've GOT to be kidding? If you were running desktops or small workstations, maybe. But, servers?!

      Ever hot swap a CPU on a SMP PC? How about adding a CPU or RAM module without powering down? Hot sawp PCI? How about 4-way machines scalable to 64-way? 64+ Gb of RAM? Terabytes of storage?

      PCs are only starting to be able to compete in that market, which is why Sun, IBM, and HP still sell those types of machines.

      If you don't need those types of options, then PCs are fine.
      • These opteron servers Sun is talking about won't have those hot-swap features (most Sun boxes don't either)....and Dell has 4 hour response time 7x24 support if you want it. So how will Sun compete, especially when they'll have the added expenses of supporting multiple OS on the thing? Sun is going down!
      • Proliants have everything but 64 way max scalability and hotswap cpu's (I do believe I heard some rumbling from an HP rep that they were working on it)
      • by photon317 ( 208409 ) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @05:18PM (#5705477)

        I'm pretty sure Compaq and others already have hot-swap for cards, and support terabytes of storage (which is really just a matter of having enough FC bandwidth for whatever you're doing and plugging into the same standard storage arrays the Sun can).

        Hot-swapping CPUs and RAM is trickier, but Sun only offers that on high end models which have no direct counterpart in the PC marketplace. Even then, it's a dicey situation at best.

        With the E10K generation, you can hotswap CPU boards (there's 16 of them, each holding up to 4 processors, 4G ram, and two I/O busses (4x Sbus cards or 2x PCI cards). Thus you very much have to plan ahead to make sure you can "swap out" a given board without losing anything (oops, the failed memory is on the board with the only controller for this scsi disk over here, or the only one with this gigabit network connection). Assuming you built the machine right so that no single board is a single point of failure, you hit the next problem: If a CPU or memory module were to actually fail during runtime, it is still just as likely to cause an OS crash. The advantage is that in most cases the offending peice of hardware (1 CPU, 1 bank of RAM, etc) will be blacklisted and not used at all when the machine reboots from the panic (now you have a 15 CPU machine instead of 16). Then after that reboot, you can go about hot-swapping in a replacement with the OS online. You run some commands which basically tell the scheduler to stop scheduling on those CPUs, and tell the VM to not allocate any more physical ram in a certain region - then it goes about paging all the allocated RAM off to other ram or swap until it has emptied the board - then you can swap in the new stuff and re-add the CPU/mem into the OS.

        On the newer SunFire architecture (3800s, 6800's, 15K, etc), they finally split the I/O boards from the CPU/Mem boards to make this a bit less painful, thank god. Still, in either case, you dont get a 4-way that scales to 64. You could buy a 64-capable machine (or higher now with SunFire architecture), and only populate it with 4 CPUs because you expect growth - but an E10K with just 4 CPUs in is a huge waste of cash - we're talking at least several hundred thousand dollars, for the hardware equivalent of what other companies sell for just a few thousand dollars. I think at one point a few years ago my company bought one 1/4 configured (16 CPU 16 GB ram) and left the other 3/4 open for expansion, and the cost was on the order of around $1,300,000. Do you really want to pay 50x+ over the same hardware capacity of a top end x86 just to be able to expand and have better support?

        And in any case - these solutions, ultimately, may have slightly better sigma numbers on uptime, but they are still riddled with single points of failure, and ultimately no Sun solution is truly reliable with resorting to redundant clustering of oen sort or another. Once you resort to a redundant cluster, you're saying "I don't care if the hardware fails occasionally, my cluster will handle it while we do the maintenance". At that point, are you going to spend that much more money to make the difference between 99.9% and 99.999%?

        Lets make a rough real example - a 24/7 Oracle database. In the Sun world, to get 24/7 uptime, you'd build out two machines of appropriate power (let's say 2x 6800s), and drop Oracle's OPS or RAC (or whatever they call the next generation) on it for a fully fault-tolerant cluster. You'd attach it to an FC SAN of appropriately configured redundant storage.

        On the x86 side, you'd rack up the equivalent in I/O and CPU horsepower worth of 1U boxes (let's say 32x 1U dual processor large-ram crap-reliability boxes from Penguin Computing or something).

        Either one is going to be very reliable because of Oracle's nonstop clustering stuff. You'll experience more failures/year on the x86 solution, but losing one of 32 machines is no biggie for a few hours while you drop in a spare.

        Two fully loaded 6800's is gonna run you about $2.0 million. 32 high end-ish (lets say 10K a pop) 1U machines is gonna run you $0.32 million. You do the math.
        • by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Friday April 11, 2003 @04:47AM (#5708917) Journal
          "Assuming you built the machine right so that no single board is a single point of failure, you hit the next problem: If a CPU or memory module were to actually fail during runtime, it is still just as likely to cause an OS crash. "

          Not if you buy a mainframe class system from IBM or the other genuine high end vendors, which have things like redundant CPUs running the same code. If there's an error, the CPUs retry. If still bad, then the offending CPU or module is shutdown.

          Consider Fujitsu if you still like SPARC, but want stuff like instruction retry.

 in ata_10-11-02.pdf

          Look at the IBM mainframe culture and history:
 35/spainho wer.html

          Sun is a mainframe wannabe with decent marketing. They really aren't that far ahead of Dell if you look at the big picture.

          Sun SPARC is actually lagging behind Fujitsu SPARC in performance and reliability.

          Not saying Sun is dead or dying. But it doesn't look good does it?

          • Yeah I agree that it doesn't look good. I've done a lot of Sun stuff in my time - they've always been my favorite among commercial unix vendors - but I think they've failed to respond to the situation Linux has presented them.

            And yes, IBM Mainframes are truly fault-tolerant environments, where you can trust a "single machine" full of redundant internal components to not go down short of geographical disasters. I still think I'd rather acheive the same uptime with a cluster of smaller systems, but the IBM
            • Sun's problem is that people may do (or are doing) clustering using Linux/FreeBSD.

              Or people may find it more appropriate to go IBM/VMS/notSun when clustering doesn't do it for them.

              If Linux clustering gets more transparent, I wonder which wise guy is going to be first to cluster a bunch of Linux instances running on separate zSeries :).

              Not sure if it would be easy to transparently abstract a Linux system over multiple x86 hardware. So far MOSIX seems quite some way off.
              • Oops. I shouldn't say MOSIX coz it's more for performance. Should be stuff like RH's cluster manager/advanced server and so on.

                Whatever it is, right now you can't really treat x86 nodes in a cluster like redundant modules in a mainframe.
      • Ever hot swap a CPU on a SMP PC? How about adding a CPU or RAM module without powering down? Hot sawp PCI?

        Hot swap, hot schwap. If you need to replace a cpu, because it failed, I would assume that your system is already in a flaked state. Also, if the system is that important that you cannot turn the machine off because of a hardware problem, then you are going to have at least one hot spare ready. Whatcha gonna do if the MB fries? (Yeah, I know that E10k's and E15k's can do this, but those machines a
      • "If you don't need those types of options, then PCs are fine."

        Don't wish too hard. Hot adding of RAM has been available for PCs for a couple years. Hot-swap of PCI cards since at least 1996. Terabytes of storage is a no brainer... and 64 Gig of RAM comes along with these new 64-bit processors.

        "If you don't need those types of options, then PCs are fine."

        The Mainframe folks said the same thing when the Unix machines came along.
  • by binaryDigit ( 557647 ) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @03:38PM (#5704532)
    Is taco really a human? The /. editor turing test (/.ETT) has been applied and the answer is ....


    Since any computer could be programmed to check for dupes. Unless of course TacoAI is sooo devious that it intentionally posts dupes to make is _seem_ like there is a real human being.

    When Taco starts singing "Daisy", then we'll know the truth.
  • So fascinating that you get to read [] it twice. The interesting part is: now it is CmdrTaco duping Timothy. Now if Timothy "redupes" this article, and then they get a vicious cycle going, then we will all be so tuned into the Sun/Opteron story that when Sun/Opteron does happen it will seem like it had always been that way. Psychic Memesis, anyone?
  • by corebreech ( 469871 ) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @03:43PM (#5704577) Journal
    Let me get a press release together, hang on...
  • by phoebus1553 ( 522577 ) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @03:44PM (#5704583) Homepage
    ... It's a new story, and one that actually confirms that they ARE using AMD for something. The first one was saying 'don't count on it, but it might happen'.

    So it's only a dupe in general topic, but if that's a true dupe, then everything that says 'New hole found in MS software' should also be a dupe.
  • by ctr2sprt ( 574731 ) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @03:45PM (#5704585)
    SunMicroDevices monopoly, here I come!
  • ... that's strange, I thought they were considering Opteron [].
  • by HaeMaker ( 221642 ) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @03:46PM (#5704600) Homepage
    How about a feature of SlashCode that, at preview time, it searches the site for words similar to ones in the story to be submitted, and displays the results. This would allow the submitter to determine if he is submitting a likely dupe.

    This can be repeated for the poster...
  • Is Sun going to Opteron a backdoor linux strategy in case hell freezes over and Sun decides to drop their Solaris all-together or straddle Solaris/Linux (again).

    With Linus saying he really likes 64-bit strategy of Opteron vs. Itanic, perhaps they want to keep their options open. See these articles: 11217.shtml ?tid=142
  • If CmdrTaco is posting an article then it is most certainly a dupe. Past history has made is quite clear. CmdrTaco posts should be considered flashbacks for those of us who were asleep ;)
  • by AndroSyn ( 89960 ) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @03:56PM (#5704684) Homepage
    Sanjay writes "Official from Slashdot spokesman. Slashdot is considering using Slashdot's Slashdot chip in a server it expects to deliver to the market shortly. Intead of fighting Slash of Slashdot (like Slashdot is doing), Slashdot can choose to fight both with Slashdot's servers and also fight with /. as Slashdot is anyway a non starter. Slashdot can rise again! "

    Well...replacing most all of the proper nouns with Slashdot at least gave me a chuckle. Okay, so I'm retarded.

  • Wow.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Junta ( 36770 ) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @03:58PM (#5704703)
    I'm glad this news *finally* makes it to slashdot as it certainly has *never* been discussed before. On a related note, has anyone heard about that new 'evil bit' RFC? I'm surprised that has never made it on slashdot.
  • by Znonymous Coward ( 615009 ) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @03:59PM (#5704714) Journal
    From the office of Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf (aka Baghdad Bob):

    "Sun actually can rise again!???"

    Think about it.
  • by QDogg ( 648777 )
    Sun needs to start looking at implementing new techniques in regards to it's OS and hardware integration business. Everyone knows that Sun UNIX can perform admirably and is very powerful, but at the same time, IBM is showing that Linux can be substituted for UNIX in the low to mid-level range, and HP has proven that they can sell Linux servers in the absence of huge corporate support.

    Many pointy hairs are also awakening to the fact that Linux is evolving way faster then any previous OS in history. This rea
    • You apparently intend your post as a warning to Sun that it should give up on its existing technologies (sparc,solaris) and join what you perceive as the "linux pack" of IBM, HP, etc. But if you look at your own arguments and reconsider them, the case is far from clear that what you suggest is in fact wise.

      Consider IBM. Sure, IBM is selling hardware with Linux loaded on it. But they haven't given up on their Power chips as you seem to imply that Sun should its Sparc series. Why aren't you wagging your

  • by elliotj ( 519297 ) <> on Thursday April 10, 2003 @04:03PM (#5704755) Homepage
    I really don't know what Slashdot editors do, but if they're not reading the site on a daily basis, couldn't they at least search the damn site before they post to see if someone has beaten them to it?

    It's getting pretty rediculous. It wasn't always this bad.
  • Sun Microsystems Inc. (NasdaqNM:SUNW - News) said it is considering using Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s new Opteron chip in a server it expects to deliver to the market shortly, a spokesman said.

    Either this is Sun-speak for "next year sometime", or they've really been engineering an Opteron-based server for some time and are now boxing it up for sale. Saying they're simply considering it doesn't add up in this case (unless they have super-EEs that can whip up a server with a new CPU from scratch in a cou
  • Why does everything have to be a fight? Why can't we just think of it as Sun offing something that does this and that they think people want? M$, they fight and intend to exterminate all things non M$ but who else really thinks like that?

    • If you don't see why it's a fight, then you don't understand economics!

      Each company wants to succeed and make greater profits. In fact, they're *obligated* to their share holders to do just that. However, there's a finite market for these things, so they've all got to compete with each other - fighting.

      Look at DEC's Alpha. A truly great product. But because the various companies that owned it weren't able to compete (fight) with it, look where it's at today.

      • In fact, they're *obligated* to their share holders to do just that

        Not obligated, just (currently) expected to. There's a world of difference. It's better to see the company grow (and profit growth remaining very modest); the difference is that simply squeezing for profits is a near-term only solution... one which kills the company in a few decades. To have a stock that actually lasts for 50 years, and at a minimum maintains its value-- that is what the company is obligated to do for their stockholders
  • AMD Chip (Score:2, Informative)

    by HedRat ( 613308 )
    Sun plans to use them in inexpensive blade servers which means they aren't totally abandoning RISC servers.

    You're parked in the dark alone with your girl when she suddenly introduces you to Tammy and Buffy. "Girls Who Name Their Breasts" on the next Geraldo.
  • my personal reading the the remarks was that Sun is now thinking of using Opterons instead of Xeons for future products. Given the product choice and testing phases Sun normally goes through, I wouldn't expect something for some time. Like a year at least. Especially since Sun are generally expected to announce 1U and 2U Xeon based systems in 3 months time...

    btw, how come a Sun "rumour" story gets posted twice, but a product launch doesn't even get a mention? Anyone want a dual-processor 1U UltraSPARC syst

  • While Suns do have their benefits, the company has been hurting because of several factors:

    1. The cost boatloads of money.
    2. Commodity hardware is catching up fast (and exceeding) with their lower-level servers
    3. Software wedded to hardware.

    The Opteron will give them extraoridinary value - a good, fast processer with buttloads of memory bandwidth at a far lower cost than the Sun processers. And it will let them offer competitively-priced low-to-midrange servers.

  • by NerveGas ( 168686 ) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @04:52PM (#5705243)

    Sun has been hurting for a while - PC-based servers have been increasingly eating up Sun's market.

    The Opterons are aimed squarely at a market segment that was hitherto tied to Sun and one or two other companies. If you wanted a highly-scalable 4- or 8-way 64-bit machine, you bent over, and Sun/IBM/DEC found your bank roll along the way.

    Now, machines of those natures are coming from a commodity vendor. With a 128-bit DDR333 memory interface, each processer will have far more memory bandwidth than even the new Sun iiia's that were introduced today. And HyperThreading gives some pretty respectable inter-processor bandwidth. You think that Sun shouldn't be shaking in their boots? You bet they should.

    In the end, they know that they're not going to win the lower end of the market. They simply can't compete with the economies of scale that AMD and Intel enjoy. Embracing the future is their only way to ensure that they keep at least a portion of that market.

  • Sun is now offering UltraSparc IIIi processors: []

    They do have some similarities to AMD's opteron processor:
    - 1 MB on-chip L2 cache
    - integrated memory controller
    - 128bit DDR Ram
    - large L1 cache

    It should be interesting to compare those two processors.
  • What Sun Needs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @05:14PM (#5705435) Homepage Journal

    Given how much time Sun has lost on the Linux revolution compared to rivals IBM, HP and even Dell, they need to make a concerted push in less than two directions.

    I think the Solaris/x86 effort dilutes the strength of Sun's commitment to Linux. They can say that there's cross fertilization, but they're sending a mixed message to their customers. Those customers, like me, have appreciated Sun's UNIX experience, their leading the way with things like NFS, RPC, NIS and Java, and their emphasis on hardware reliability and performance.

    Those customers are looking at the economics of Linux/x86 and like what they see. That's bad for Solaris/SPARC, except where the big iron hangs out. And the cut-off transition from where x86 won't suffice to mainframes that will do the job keeps moving up the food chain. Sun's food chain. The lucrative high end is becoming an ever shrinking market.

    What does Linux need that Sun can do better than others?

    Where Sun can make a big difference is in enterprise level management. Big directory/authentication services; interoperable services for managing heterogeneous LANS. Performance tuned next generation NAS/SAN services.

  • Idea for Slashdot (Score:5, Interesting)

    by harlows_monkeys ( 106428 ) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @05:28PM (#5705567) Homepage
    Make it a requirement for the people that approve posts that those people regularly read slashdot.

    Hell, I only spend a few minutes a day reading slashdot, and I have no trouble instantly spotting the dupes, so it wouldn't be too onerous a burden on your editors, would it?

  • More SPARC fud! (Score:3, Informative)

    by MrPerfekt ( 414248 ) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @05:49PM (#5705719) Homepage Journal
    For those of you bitching that sun4u sucks and yada yada, I'm willing to bet you have never seen anything bigger than an Ultra 10.

    Sun Fires are massive boxes. Will all the options that PC's could only dream about: System partitioning, Hot swap _everything_, killer backplane speeds (quad-port fast ethernet cards anyone?)..

    True the lone UltraSPARC processor is fairly unimpressive, but in an E12K you can have up to 256 of them if I recall. That's on one single, operating system. So take your silly 48-node Athlon clusters and go home.

    Just trying to come to the defense of an arch that really isn't bad when you're not trying to run Lunix on it and play games with WineX.
    • Re:More SPARC fud! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by igiveup ( 267632 )
      So what is your point? Who can afford a 256-processor machine other than a Fortune 100 company or the government?

      I ported my company's application to Solaris using gcc 2.95, cons and an Ultra 5. About 90% of our code is shared across platforms. One comparison would be compile times. To completely compile our application on my off-the-shelf HP 1.6GHz PC through VS .Net (not your snappiest IDE) takes 10 minutes, up to 15 if I'm doing a lot of other work at the same time. To do the same thing on the 900M
      • Bit confused here. The Ultra 5 uses and UII and stopped at 400Mhz, so it's hardly surprising your 1.6Ghz PC compiled things quicker.

        Also a fair point, how did the app run under heavy load (if relevant)? You're not just buying a Sun box, you're getting Solaris too.
  • .. people say that /. contains too many dups. He should not make fun of it on 4/1 if it's true.

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes