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Sun Microsystems AMD

Sun Announces New AMD-Based Product Line 246

Transfan76 writes "Today Sun Microsystems has officially announced an alliance with AMD. They "have formed an alliance to deliver a broad range of AMD Opteron[tm] processor-based systems, Sun also announced it plans to offer its Java Enterprise System on the AMD Opteron processor and is significantly extending the reach of its Solaris Operating System (OS) and leadership in the 64-bit space." You can read the official press release from Sun here. And the AMD release here." We previously reported rumored plans to this effect a few days back.
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Sun Announces New AMD-Based Product Line

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  • From Sun's press release [sun.com]:

    "By running the current version of the Solaris OS on the AMD Opteron processor platform, we are experiencing substantial improvements in kernel performance for Solaris over other x86-based systems, " said John Fowler, chief technology officer, software, Sun Microsystems. "With the Solaris OS running on the AMD Opteron processor, our customers and partners can take advantage of unique features such as containers delivering virtualization and high levels of security. Solaris has led

    • Slick, yet entertaining. 8 out of 10 troll points.

      "...second only to the Windows..." gave it away. Any Sun employee uttering that phrase would probably be publically executed.
    • Interesting, I could not find the paragraph you mentioned in the release.

      This is the original paragraph:

      "By running the current version of the Solaris OS on the AMD Opteron processor platform, we are experiencing substantial improvements in kernel performance for Solaris over other x86-based systems, " said John Fowler, chief technology officer, software, Sun Microsystems. "With the Solaris OS running on the AMD Opteron processor, our customers and partners can take advantage of unique features such as co
      • "With the Solaris OS running on the AMD Opteron processor, our customers and partners can take advantage of unique features such as containers delivering virtualization and high levels of security..."

        I would also like to add that you'll see the first Opteron workstations and servers about the same time that Solaris 10 technology preview is available. Sun has chosen to implement IA-64 into the kernel in the Solaris 10 release, which also adds some great new functionality such as true virtualization and co
    • by oldmanmtn ( 33675 ) on Monday November 17, 2003 @02:46PM (#7494743)
      optimizing their syndicated dynamic solutions marketbase...cross-media functionalities...enterprise-level mindshare paradigms

      Good god man! You've created a Content Black Hole! You're dragging down the Scores of every post in the vicinity!

    • Solaris has led the industry in proven military grade security built-in to the OS, and with Trusted Solaris OS, offering unmatched levels of privacy, second only to the Windows .NET security framework.

      Second to Microsoft? How is this good for SUN?

  • AMD SPARC? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by forgoil ( 104808 ) on Monday November 17, 2003 @02:35PM (#7494629) Homepage
    I assume that AMD at this point in time has no plans for any SPARC CPUs, but I wonder how much AMD could do if they got all Sun's SPARC resources and basically bodged together a next gen SPARC from the Opteron. But something tells me that x86-64 is the way of the future if Sun don't want to slip behind more.
    • by rodgerd ( 402 )
      Going on the performance of SPARC's design teams thus far, it'd make the Opteron run slower.
    • Actually I think they are going to combine the two words: thus we get SPAMD :-) Seriously though, this is great news for AMD, and as long as AMD stays afloat it will help keep cpu prices down.
    • Re:AMD SPARC? (Score:5, Informative)

      by southpolesammy ( 150094 ) on Monday November 17, 2003 @02:53PM (#7494823) Journal
      SPARC is an open specification. Nothing's stopping them from doing it now, except perhaps ROI.
      • I don't think he meant the architecture instructions and specifications. Most likely, the grandparent poster was refering to Sun's SPARC engineering department putting their efforts behind AMD's chip.
        • Re:AMD SPARC? (Score:2, Interesting)

          Given the relatively poor results that the current engineering department seems to be acheiving with UltraSparc processors, I wouldn't hold my breath for anything at all.

          Now what would be interesting is if Sun put some of their platform development behind AMD's Opteron. While Sun's processors themselves aren't anything to write home about, they have some pretty impressive interconnect technologies. If they were to combine that with the Hypertransport links on AMD processors, they might be able to acheive
      • SPARC may be a spec, but that doesn't mean that Sun doesn't have valuable implementation-specific information that AMD could use to create a next-gen 64-bit SPARC CPU that is based on the Opteron in some way.

        I know nothing about the Opteron architecture, so I can't comment on how worthwhile that endevour would be. But for an illustration, let's pretend the Opteron is setup in a similar way as the AMD K6-2- a RISC CPU inside and a x86->AMD RISC translator between the rest of the computer and the inner-C
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 17, 2003 @02:36PM (#7494634)
    Air conditioning manufacturers specialising in cooling server rooms will be delighted with Sun's switch...
    • Re:Wonderful news (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cduffy ( 652 )
      All I can say is that it can't be worse than what Sun's traditionally made.

      I at one point had an opportunity to come in contact with a prototype embedded Sparc chip and reference board. The thing drew *70 watts* of power. For an embedded board.

      My old university was recently (okay, it's been a few years now) donated a 64-unit sparc cluster by a national laboratory who was done with it. Last I'd heard they only had 2 units powered up -- they needed to have their (large, heavy-duty) server room refitted with
  • This is good for AMD, giving them additional credibility and sales in the short term. But it doesn't address Sun's long-term problems: they aren't competitive in terms of hardware and they can't make money from Java.
    • But it doesn't address Sun's long-term problems: they aren't competitive in terms of hardware and they can't make money from Java.

      Well, perhaps with Opteron they might become competitive w/ hardware.

      And at least the *real* performance of Opteron is a refreshing change from the old Sun habit of relying on myth and illusion to sell their hardware. Now they reserve that role to the OS alone, we'll see how long that will last ;-).
      • And at least the *real* performance of Opteron is a refreshing change from the old Sun habit of relying on myth and illusion to sell their hardware. Now they reserve that role to the OS alone, we'll see how long that will last ;-).

        SPARC is not a speed demon. For a long time now, lots of "commodity" CPUs have been more impressive performers, especially when one considers price/performance ratios. The benefit of Sun hardware for many years now has been in the IO subsystems. Fiber based drive arrays and

    • So releasing new competitive hardware doesn't address "they aren't competitive in terms of hardware"?

  • Who Knowns (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 17, 2003 @02:41PM (#7494694)
    The Java Desktop they could create some serious revenue. Imagine a large company with Opteron workstation for engineering and scientific appilcations and SunRays as e-mail/web/StarOffice boxes.

    Sun, the company who is now renowed for their expensive systems could use "commodity" computing to bring themselves back and Linux to the desktop. Who would have thought.
    • Re:Who Knowns (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Krondor ( 306666 )
      Sun, the company who is now renowned for their expensive systems could use "commodity" computing to bring themselves back and Linux to the desktop. Who would have though

      Great plan, but there are a few points. Sun appears to be an hour late and a dime short. They are finally doing now what they should have done two years ago. Their stock is in ruins, their founders have split with their pensions, and all that is left is the heaping ruins of a giant that moves to slow to avoid extinction.

      If I were Sun
      • Re:Who Knowns (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I have one, and only one question for you: Since Linux hasn't taken over the desktop and 64 bit Linux hasn't taken over the server world why is it too late for Sun?

        Oh yes, and as for Java check some job sites and compare the numbers (.NET vs Java).
    • Re:Who Knowns (Score:5, Interesting)

      by digitalhermit ( 113459 ) on Monday November 17, 2003 @03:21PM (#7495085) Homepage
      It could be one of those ideas whose time has finally arrived. My experience with Java hasn't been all that great. There are several competing Java VMs and each had idiosyncracies and problems that precluded the "write once, run anywhere" philosophy from actually working. Getting Java to work under Linux is not quite as simple as under Windows or MacOS, and messages on news groups, the Fedora Core lists, and in local LUGs attest to this.

      The latest releases are *much* easier, however. I downloaded and installed the latest Sun Java SDK on a Fedora Core 1 machine. The graphical installer put everything in /opt (not exactly LSB, but I can live with it) and exited. It didn't set JAVA_HOME or adjust any user PATH variables, but hunting through the instructions I was able to find the correct chapter (I knew this before reading, just wanted to confirm that they did say so).

      Now Java has always had this (perhaps undeserved) reputation for being slow. Not the case with Java/Fedora. Whether it's the NPTL that's part of Fedora or optimizations in the Java VM itself, the jar files I tried opened as quickly as natively compiled applications. Responsiveness was just as good. For the record I tried Jedit, Arachnophilia, Mindterm, WeirdX and a bunch of math/science applications for fractals, mapping, function graphing, etc.. Yes, a lot of the applications are already available natively under Linux, but the idea that I can move my desktop environment to anywhere without setting up automatic NFS mounts, playing with VNC servers, or fussing with roaming profiles is pretty cool.

      Now I'm not as big a Sun fan as I was five years ago, but I think this technology is pretty cool.
      • It's stupid to run local applications through a VM. The VM should cache the interpreted code to disk and recall it each time it runs.
        • considering that suns 'java desktop' isn't actually made in java it doesn't matter all that much, it's just a name. besides jit(supposedly) is pretty much what you're wanting with that 'cache the interpreted code' anyways.

          having used intellij idea as ide for a while i'm pretty over the scare of desktop apps in java thing though myself(the way the desktop apps by major players are done is already partly similar anyways, being somewhat scripting of components to make them play together)..
  • IBM and now Sun (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Euphonious Coward ( 189818 ) on Monday November 17, 2003 @02:46PM (#7494737)
    With IBM shipping Opteron boxes, and now Sun announcing, it seems the Opteron architecture probably has legs. When HP announces, all doubt will fade.

    (If you never had doubts about Opteron's ultimate prospects, consider Alpha. It had more going for it than Opteron ever did, and generations earlier. Current Alphas (EV7 and EV79) are fully competitive with current Opteron and Itanium, even without a proper engineering team for several years, yet the Alpha is "dead".)

    Intel could do a lot worse than to revive it. It may need to, to stay competitive with Opteron.

    • When HP announces, all doubt will fade. Not very likely. That would seriously confuse their customers, given the enormous investment HP is making in Itanium.
      • "given the enormous investment HP is making in Itanium"

        Exactly. HP will be the last major manufacturer to announce Opteron servers. They will only do it when market pressure grows too great not to.

        Recall that HP just spent enormous capital (of all kinds) absorbing Compaq. They don't have much of a cushion to ride out the Itanium failure. Therefore, they may well be forced to field Opterons despite their misgivings. When that happens, that will be the final imprimatur for Opteron.

        By then, maybe Al

        • Alpha will never be revived, the internal engineering expertise is for all intents gone and HP has little intention rebuilding it. 64bit future is either x86-64 and/or Itanic, unless intel do an about face and create their own 64bit x86 ISA (in which case that ISA will no doubt win).
    • I agree. I think the problem is that HP didn't want to be maintaining three different architectures. It has a major stake in Itanium, and it still needs to support PA-RISC as well as Alpha. I think the reason Alpha systems are still available is to fulfill certain major contracts.

      I really can't say whether Intel owns any of Alpha, but it can be arranged from HP if need be.

      Compute-wise Itanium2 is reasonably competitive (compare the TFLOPS per CPU in the top 10 supercomputer list) but it has a stigma an
      • Intel have non-exclusive rights to alpha, at least 21164 anyway, from their settlement with DEC. Presumably that settlement covered future alpha designs too.
    • by whig ( 6869 ) * on Monday November 17, 2003 @04:50PM (#7495886) Homepage Journal
      According to the Inquirer [theinquirer.net]:

      AMD IS LIKELY to get a boost from Hewlett Packard today, with reports saying the firm will start selling a Presario 8000Z as soon as Wednesday.

      According to the report on cnet.mp3.com, HP will offer a variety of different options with the desktop, which will be available in retail this week.

      The machine, the report says, is just one of a family of Athlon 64 desktops HP will sell, and costs $1,239 for a basic machine.

      But HP won't start using the Athlon FX - a sort of Opteron - for a little while, it appears. If and when it does, it will be offered as a gaming machine.

      The announcement is a boost for AMD, coupled with Sun's expected endorsement of its Opteron microprocessors today.
      • Likely to Sell Well (Score:3, Interesting)

        by turgid ( 580780 )
        They won't have much trouble out-selling itanium [theinquirer.net].

        This could be one of the final nails in itanic's coffin (or maybe the iceberg that finally sinks it.)

        When will Carly wield the axe? And what will intel do now?

    • Re:IBM and now Sun (Score:3, Insightful)

      by _fuzz_ ( 111591 )
      [Alpha] had more going for it than Opteron ever did, and generations earlier.

      Maybe from an engineering perspective, but one thing Opteron has that Alpha doesn't is compatibility with existing x86 applications. That's going to mean a lot to a lot of people because they think it will reduce the cost of a transition. Whether or not it is actually cheaper is irrelevant if customers think Opteron will make it cheaper.
  • Excellent! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by painehope ( 580569 ) on Monday November 17, 2003 @02:47PM (#7494748)
    The AMD64 ( or x86-64, whatever we're calling it this week ) architecture is very promising, and Sun is still an excellent vendor ( despite numerous blunders...they've made some horrible mistakes, but they've also had some great successes ).
    This has the potential to breathe new life into both vendors, and gives us all an alternative, which is important in a marketplace that has such a dynamic history but is currently being choked to death by certain vendors that think marketing is more important than quality.
    Now who should I get my next worksation from, IBM w/ SUSE or RHWS, or Sun w/ their desktop Linux stack? Hmm...
  • Big Iron! (Score:2, Funny)

    by beezly ( 197427 )
    What we all want to know is, when do we get to see 106 CPU Opteron systems!? Tiny little 8 cpu systems just don't cut it any more!
  • by ChrisRijk ( 1818 ) on Monday November 17, 2003 @02:51PM (#7494798)
    Register article [theregister.co.uk]
    Along with the Opteron systems, Sun announced a big win for its Java Desktop System. The Chinese government will roll out 500,000 to one million PCs with the software over the next year.


    "This, I believe makes us the number one Linux player on the planet," McNealy said. "The goal is to reach the Chinese government's goal of 500 million alternative desktops, and you can decide what alternative means."

    • The Java Desktop is nice, don't get me wrong. But, I look at the Solaris desktop, running on probably the best implementation of Unix, and all I see is a crap GUI. I think Sun should develop a better interface for the solaris desktop---if apple OS X can run on BSD, then Sun should be able to make something just as killer for Solaris
      • JDS (Java Desktop System) runs off Gnome etc.
        Solaris is moving to Gnome (ie JDS) to be default UI.

        ie if you had a Sun system and a Linux/x86 system with JDS side by side, the UI would be identical.

        At Comdex they had JDS running on a Sun Ray (which runs of SPARC/Solaris servers)

        So, you'll get your wish ^-^
    • This is somewhat ironic that sun makes a huge push into the consumer linux market less than a week after Bill Joy (one of Sun's original founders) quits Sun, and openly admits that he perfers OS X to Linux in almost all circumstances - "linux is for kids" as he stated in a recent interview in Wired.

      Either way, the servers are great news for both AMD and Sun.
  • Wow, did they really just say what I thought they said? Lacking an OS? How could HP be lacking an OS for a processor (Itanium) it virtually built? How could IBM's usage of Linux be taken as anything but having an OS for those platforms. What a load.
  • by painehope ( 580569 ) on Monday November 17, 2003 @02:55PM (#7494837)
    stands as a beacon for HP and IBM customers facing a dead-end Unix, and Microsoft customers frustrated with security and fragility
    I wouldn't be surprised if they kicked a dog on the way off the stage...
    • I wouldn't be surprised if they kicked a dog on the way off the stage...

      Sig: Don't be surprised when you feed hotsauce to a Rottweiler and wake up in the hospital.

      "And today's winner in the dog-mistreatment-imagery-density category is..."

      Can we assume that the sig relates to a real-life event?

  • by Shutter_BC ( 412933 ) on Monday November 17, 2003 @02:59PM (#7494882) Homepage
    I've been an AMD fan for quite a while, as anyone who reads articles at Anandtech [anandtech.com] tends to become. This has been more or less already stated, but... where is this going to lead without a strong media presence or public interest? I wonder how Sun and AMD plan to educate non-techies and convince them that they're cool [apple.com].

    I wish the both of them the best of luck, and one of these days, may good engineering prevail. I hope.

    • by aardwolf204 ( 630780 ) on Monday November 17, 2003 @05:02PM (#7496041)
      I've been an AMD fan for quite a while

      You must be very dizzy. My AMD fan goes 5000 RPM.


      Sorry, couldnt resist. I like AMD too, and yes, Anand could take Tom any day.
  • by szquirrel ( 140575 ) on Monday November 17, 2003 @03:00PM (#7494890) Homepage
    We previously reported rumored plans to this effect a few days back.

    Where "previously reported" means "we linked to the article on news.com".

    Credit where credit is due?
  • by AndroidCat ( 229562 ) on Monday November 17, 2003 @03:04PM (#7494922) Homepage
    [..] offering unmatched levels of privacy, second only to the Windows .NET security framework.

    Second to .NET's security? I have a bad feeling about this...

  • Wow (Score:2, Funny)

    Sounds like they're really taking a big RISC.
  • by mi ( 197448 ) <slashdot-2016q1@virtual-estates.net> on Monday November 17, 2003 @03:40PM (#7495271) Homepage Journal

    Sun offers a fairly advanced compiler and, perhaps more importantly, "performance libraries" on their Sparc machines. Intel is doing the same on their machines -- Linux, FreeBSD (via port [freshports.org]), and Windows. Will Sun do likewise with AMD or will they just help GCC in the amd64 optimization area(s)?

  • ...I want my Sun Operton systems to have a real OBP. I don't care for peecee compatibility as long as the Big Aluminum (tm) boxen, if such ever get produced, aren't tied to some crummy BIOS.

  • by porky_pig_jr ( 129948 ) on Monday November 17, 2003 @04:19PM (#7495642)
    'Java64' architecture based ...
  • I guess that this will change how the weather derivatives options are priced.
  • The obvious Good Thing about this announcement is that SUN will need to provide a heavily optimised, 64-bit Java implementation for the Opteron.
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
    Didn't SGI pull a similar stunt with the Itanic? Granted, this is a bit different (SGI was also leaning toward Windows NT) but this sort of move makes me nervous.
  • OS? (Score:2, Interesting)

    Sun Operating System... am I the only one that instantly thought of S.O.S. as an acronym?
  • Hey -

    just a guess, but as the JVM is generally a 64 bit VM (a lot of the numerical types are 64 bits in length) - I would imagine running on a native 64 bit platform will result in better performance. Instead of using 2 32 bit nuggets to store 64 bit values (not to mention the overhead needed to track which two 32 bit registers or memory blocks are storing it), the underlying physical CPU implementation more closely matches the registers and address space used inside the JVM.

    Just a guess.

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