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Sun Microsystems

Jonathan Schwartz Shows 32-Way UltraSPARC Chip 245

Megaslow writes "The latest entry in Jonathan Schwartz's blog has pictures of Sun's Project Niagra chip, with 8 cores * 4 threads per core for a 32-way computer on single chip. He also shows what looks to be a test rig reportedly already up and running Solaris 10."
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Jonathan Schwartz Shows 32-Way UltraSPARC Chip

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  • Wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by lewp ( 95638 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @06:31AM (#10244499) Journal
    You know what I'd do if I had one of these?

    Two chicks, man.
  • solaris fan (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BoldAC ( 735721 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @06:32AM (#10244504)
    Okay, I am a solaris/sun fan boy. But this sounds like it was crafted by a professional commerical writer...

    Ahhh... to be 38 and be this guy. President of Sun at 38 years old... what a life.


    This is the silicon for our Project Niagara chip: 8 cores * 4 threads per core = a 32-way computer. On a chip.
    And did I mention we have silicon, and not just a JPEG file?
    And I saved the best for last. Are you ready?
    It's already running Solaris. A volume OS that eats threads for lunch, on the world's most advanced massively parallelized silicon.
    That's not just a box.
    That's what we call a system. A system built for internet workloads. Not for the expedience of a press release. And a system that gives customers yet more choice, rather than taking choice away.
    (And before you ask, yes, we are planning a nicer box when we ship :)


    These guys deserve to Microsoft level of success...

    Several of sun gurus have given us suggestions and hints at solaris section [tech-recipes.com] of our site. Without their early input and links from within the sun website, we would have never been as successful.

    These guys are trying to do things big and correctly.
    • Re:solaris fan (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AlexTheBeast ( 809587 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @06:39AM (#10244518)
      It does read like a commerical... ... a commerical against IBM.


      I'm watching with amusement as IBM prepares to stub its toe with their new, curiously named "OpenPower" low-end boxes.

      Now, I will freely admit I am entirely confused by what they're doing. Why on earth would you ship a proprietary computer that doesn't run your own operating system (AIX)? If I were trying to freak out my installed base, that's exactly what I'd do.


      These guys are attacking IBM (and linux?) directly. The first part of his blog is a calculated attack against IBM--step by step he breaks down IBM's strategy. Just when you are wondering why you ever thought about using IBM, he introduces his new baby. He must have spent hours crafting this blog post.

      Yes, it's a commerical.

      I just can't believe that blog posts are this important now. I remember when we would just finger the inside guys we knew to see the plan. Now, it's been turned around into a commerical like everything else.

    • Apparently blogs.sun.com is very bad marketing.
    • Re:solaris fan (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jeif1k ( 809151 )
      These guys are trying to do things big and correctly.

      I think "big" and "correctly" are themselves contradictions in terms these days. Solaris is bloated, Java is bloated, and now they are producing a bloated CPU chip.

      None of this will stop commodity hardware and open source from kicking Sun's butt and driving them out of business, because ultimately, people don't want "big", they want manageable and cost-effective. And that Sun isn't delivering anymore.

      Ahhh... to be 38 and be this guy. President of S
      • Re:solaris fan (Score:3, Insightful)

        by BoldAC ( 735721 )
        I think "big" and "correctly" are themselves contradictions in terms these days. Solaris is bloated, Java is bloated, and now they are producing a bloated CPU chip.

        As much as I love sun, it's hard to argue with your points. Java and Sun both have some bloat... agreed. Even most main stream linux distros are bloated compared to a few years ago. However, it's hard for me to understand how a chip can have bloat? The bigger and faster and more the chip does, the better! Right?

        People a few years ago were
        • Re:solaris fan (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jeif1k ( 809151 )
          However, it's hard for me to understand how a chip can have bloat? The bigger and faster and more the chip does, the better! Right?

          One of the biggest bottlenecks in computers is the interface between the CPU and memory. It makes little sense to make the CPU so fast that it requires data faster than the memory system can provide it. So, 32-way CPU may, in fact, not be much faster than a single or dual core CPU when you build a real computer running real applications around it. Even if it turns out to be
          • The Solaris kernel is modular as well. Do you have any basis for claiming that the Solaris kernel is bloated? I doubt you've seen the source code.
    • by Quixote ( 154172 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @06:57AM (#10244592) Homepage Journal
      A system built for internet workloads

      ... and slashdotted already ;-)

      Back to the drawing board again, eh, Jonathan?

  • So far, there have been like 8 posts on this article, and the article itself seems to have been slashdotted. If they have Four Processors per Poster, you'd think they could keep the page up...
  • blergh (Score:3, Funny)

    by gustgr ( 695173 ) <rondina@gmaiMOSCOWl.com minus city> on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @06:39AM (#10244521) Homepage
    BLOGS.sun.com

    enough said.
  • by Apple Acolyte ( 517892 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @06:42AM (#10244533)
    Schwartz's blog may not be representative of the general corporate attitude at Sun, but he comes across as bitter and even hostile. Perhaps he is just a passionate believer in his company's work, but his whiney tone smacks of unprofessionalism. I'm not particularly well versed on the continuing saga that is Sun, but should not product performance be speaking for itself? In any case, if they have achieved something noteworthy with this "32-way" chip, I hope they figure out a way to make it useful. This MPR Paper [66.102.7.104] on the processor may be of interest to some.
    • but should not product performance be speaking for itself?

      It is not necessarily the case. Yes, it seems like the product is pretty good but the days were heavy iron were typically faster than mainstream processors are gone. Instead, heavy iron is even more of a niche, which may be eroded. Sun is kind of working from reputation in order to sell their low end stuff, and their high end would seem the be eroded by the increasing prevalance of x86-64 systems.
    • by rs79 ( 71822 ) <hostmaster@open-rsc.org> on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @08:10AM (#10244995) Homepage
      Schwartz's blog may not be representative of the general corporate attitude at Sun, but he comes across as bitter and even hostile.

      He's a programmer. You're lucky he cleaned up that well for a photo.

      Beware of smiling programmers.
    • If a company could get by on "product perfomance speaking for itself", DEC would still be around and we'd all be running VMS on Alpha.
    • he comes across as bitter and even hostile

      He's 38, he's worked his way up to COO of a decent sized multinational IT company, he's got dud hair but at least he looks like a 90s geek instead of a 70s geek (Mr Gates).

      Because of all this time dedicated to work, he's probably never had a pussy he didn't rent.

      Of course he's bitter and hostile.

    • but should not product performance be speaking for itself?

      It should, but as DEC and the Alpha show it doesn't.
  • Hold on... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by StevenHenderson ( 806391 ) <stevehenderson&gmail,com> on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @06:42AM (#10244537)
    Sun's Project Niagra chip, with 8 cores * 4 threads per core for a 32-way computer on single chip

    Doesn't mean a damn thing unless software is written to take advantage of it. Damn PC developers can't write software to take advantage of HT (with some exceptions, I know), but hopefully this chip's power can be realized fully.

    • Re:Hold on... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ban ( 31369 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @06:53AM (#10244577)
      Doesn't mean a damn thing unless software is written to take advantage of it. Damn PC developers can't write software to take advantage of HT (with some exceptions, I know), but hopefully this chip's power can be realized fully.

      Why is it that people keep stating that you have to write software that targets HT specifically? This is not true. Any multithreaded application will benefit from it. It is up to the OS to present you with the CPUs, real or virtual.

      Yes, there are specific issues with handover during tight spinloops et.c., but only people writing locking or timing code should have to deal with those issues. Not your average application programmer.
      • Normal threading techniques don't scale very well once you start getting lots of processors. That's why SGI had to do a lot of work to get Linux to run on a 100+ way. You need to develope new synchronization mechanisms like RCU to deal with the scalability issues.

        Do you see Sun working on new synchronization mechanisms to deal with scalability issues? No.

      • Re:Hold on... (Score:3, Informative)

        by jarich ( 733129 )
        Why is it that people keep stating that you have to write software that targets HT specifically? This is not true. Any multithreaded application will benefit from it.

        This statement is true, but...

        HT or a 2nd CPU will get you somewhere between 10 and 20% boost on your software. It does this letting OS operations like disk IO, video, etc, run on the second "CPU".

        If you learn to write good threaded code, you can see nearly 100% speed increase per CPU. That's the difference.

        And just to turn this into

        • Re:Hold on... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by DarkMan ( 32280 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:18PM (#10248311) Journal
          You can't get a 100% speed boost with HT.

          HyperThreading presents a virtual CPU - there are the same number of compuational units in the core. The speed advantage from HT is that with threaded code, there is additional silicon to save the state of each thread.

          With the same number of execution units, however, you can't get better then optimal for a single non-HT CPU; once all the execution units are full, that's it, whether it's one thread or two.

          HT is a great boost for a threaded app where it is not CPU bound in general.

          On the other hand, a second CPU carries an aditional set of execution units; that means you can, in theory double the CPU output.

          Neither helps with the memory - cpu bandwidth issues, which can limit performance. Dual CPU can mitigate that with dual memory controllers (see, e.g. Opteron), but that has it's own complications.

          So, HT is a small step between dual CPU, and dual CPU.

          However, even the most optimistic benchmarks from Intel that I have ever seen quote a 30ish% speed increase with HT. I have never, ever, seen anyone claim that HT can give a 100% speed boost - can you reference that claim?

          I quote from
          http://www.intel.com/business/bss/products/hyper th reading/server/index.htm":

          While Hyper-Threading Technology will not provide the level of performance scaling achieved by adding a second processor, benchmark tests show some server applications can experience a 30 percent gain in performance.


      • In general (and unless you force them, by writing the code that way) Windoze apps are not at all shy about holding on to their CPU time to the exclusion of other tasks and threads. As a (Borland) example, if you're doing a bunch of processing in a loop, then you must include the occasional call to Application->ProcessMessages(), or else your button presses etc. won't get any airtime until the loop concludes. Nothing wrong with that - it helps to keep the program state sort of known when you're handling
      • Re:Hold on... (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 )
        SMP (of which HT is one implementation) is not magic. You do not have any more execution units than you had without SMT. The first thread to be scheduled gets to pick what execution units it wants to use. The second thread gets to pick from the left-overs (then the third and fourth threads on each core in this chip get a go in this example, although HT only supports 2 threads). This means that for each core, you have two non-uniform CPUs. Scheduling threads optimally on uniform CPUs is relatively easy.
      • Not true. Any multithreaded app may NOT show a performance improvement on an SMT machine.

        You can have 2 or more threads that want a shared resource (like the cache) that thrash each other leading to a degradation in performance vs. a single threaded processor.

        Other resources are typically shared like front-end bandwidth, execution bandwidth etc...

        The threads can be NON-symmetric. It's SMT (Simultaneous multithreading).
    • Not for PeeCees (Score:5, Insightful)

      by turgid ( 580780 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @08:02AM (#10244931) Journal
      Doesn't mean a damn thing unless software is written to take advantage of it.

      This is a SPARC processor. It runs Solaris. The Solaris kernel is fully pre-emptively muti-threaded. Most of the large applications that you buy a big Solaris box to run are also highly mutlithreaded.

      The beauty of this design is that there is already a mature, stable and high-performance industry-standard OS for it (Solaris) along with thousands of applications.

      You could even probably run Linux on it if you wanted.

    • I can see an application for this sort of chip, adding intelligent I/O processors to the system, like the channel controllers on mainframes. Much of the I/O on modern computers is done at an embarrassingly low level.
    • So why would a PC developer want to? They think they are a single program taking over the machine.

      A Unix/Linux developer knows that there may be multiple instances of a given program running on a server, sharing executables and having better locality of reference.

      And if the program has a need to do more than one thing at a time, the authors will thread it or make it run multiple instances.

      Imagine a Beowulf cluster of 16 blades, each running a 32-way CPU for 512 processors per shelf. For about 1.5 t

  • ultrasparc (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GMail Troll ( 811342 )
    This is fairly impressive, althrough really with chips written in high level hardware description languages it probably isnt very difficult to just add more cores. I'd certainly like to see what the power and heat requirements are for this thing (forgive me if this is mentioned in the article, it appears to be slashdotted so I cant read it). I guess one of the advantages of the SPARC architecture is that the relative simplicity of the instruction set (compared to x86) makes it possible to do things like th
    • Even in the layout were fully custom, you can macroize the finished core and replicate as many times as you want. All that's needed is the global net routing and you're done.
  • by tod_miller ( 792541 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @06:45AM (#10244545) Journal
    I can see these lovely ladies being applied to some serious film fx... I wonder what kind of advantages these systems would give to rendering houses, or is the cost of these for farming cpu power too high, and there is more bang for using Durons?

    I guess this differs based on each application and resource requirements.

    Still, nice.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The entire chip shares a couple of floating point units, it's not a number cruncher.
      • Then that severely limits its use in the market. Let's put it this way - the machine has GOT to be insanely expensive to begin with. Why not add a few more bucks to the cost and have a floating point unit (or more?) per core.

        That makes the machine scale to any task. I imagine its use as a mere web server/etc. pigeonholes the server and puts it in danger of jumping the shark early on, or worse, doing a betamax.
        • Then that severely limits its use in the market. Let's put it this way - the machine has GOT to be insanely expensive to begin with. Why not add a few more bucks to the cost and have a floating point unit (or more?) per core.

          I think the answer is likely to be that the two FP units on this chip can already max out the memory bandwidth when doing FP-intensive work anyway, so any more execution resources would be under-utilised.

          But that's just my guess.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @07:25AM (#10244690)
      This isn't made for rendering, or for stuff that requires floating point power.

      Since the chip has 8 cores, each core is quite simple. This kind of chip is more suited for database and web servers, where there are lot of simultaneous requests, but fullfilling a single request is quite simple task.

      You can find more information about Niagara here [aceshardware.com].
      • Actually it's very close to the Ultra II core. The idea is to be able to keep running during a cache refill by duplicating decoders and register files. The ALU isn't much different from the one I'm running as I type this (;-))

        --dave (Solaris and Linux on SPARC, Linux on Intel) c-b

    • Ok, assume you have a full 19" rack of dual 1U Intels. Into the same rack you can put 3U blade chassis, with 16 blades per, and 32 logical CPUs per blade.

      The benefit is (1/3) * (16*32/2) or something like 85.3 to one. And the chip that they stareted with is pretty good at graphics, bitblit and floaty-point.

      --dave

  • by gunnk ( 463227 ) <gunnk&mail,fpg,unc,edu> on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @06:46AM (#10244552) Homepage
    I'd be all set FOREVER if I could only get 20 of these! I mean...

    640 Processors should be enough for anyone! :-)
  • Sun is back to doing what they do best, designing extremely reliable , high-performance hardware. I really do hope they can adapt their business model VERY soon. I know that the mission critical systems and workstations at my place of employment DONT use x86 hardware and/or M$ products- but then again there are how many people with Solaris experience and certifican VS the M$ crowd (myself included)? On the flip side, we don't need all of a 2 story building to house a classroom for MS training because everyo
  • What is Open? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by peterdaly ( 123554 ) <petedaly@ix.net3.14159com.com minus pi> on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @06:49AM (#10244562)
    Does Johnathan not get it, or is he playing the FUD game? The IBM Open chip is not a chip without an OS. It runs linux...a commodity OS. That means two major things.

    1. People who run Linux on a different box may be more likley to upgrade to the Open chip since they won't have to take an OS change into account as well.

    2. People not happy with big blue can migrate to another vendor without having to take an OS change into account. That means less lock in.

    Sun doesn't get it. Or more likley they do, but don't want to help their customers figure it out.

    -Pete
    • Re:What is Open? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Mark Round ( 211258 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @07:05AM (#10244612) Homepage
      2. People not happy with big blue can migrate to another vendor without having to take an OS change into account. That means less lock in.

      Well, not exactly. If they are running IBM's POWER processor, then they can't really move their applications to another vendor, as no-one but IBM "does" POWER. They could move to another platform and still run Linux (say, x86 for example), and manage to apply _most_ of their sysadmin experience - but any proprietry, binary-only applications running on that box would have to either be bought again or re-licensed. So there would be an OS change, even if it's only from one architecture to another.

      -Mark
    • Re:What is Open? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Daniel Ellard ( 799842 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @08:14AM (#10245045)
      1. People who run Linux on a different box may be more likley to upgrade to the Open chip since they won't have to take an OS change into account as well.



      Linux runs on Sparc, as does FreeBSD. There's no reason to think that these kernels will not be ported to take advantage of the Niagra architecture. If you don't like solaris, nobody is going to force you to use it (except maybe your customers, if that's what they like).



      2. People not happy with big blue can migrate to another vendor without having to take an OS change into account. That means less lock in.



      I call FUD on you. Doesn't "big blue" make the Z architecture, OS/390, System/36, etc., which are text-book examples of vendor lock-in? As in all other situations, you choose the system that works best for you. If vendor lock-in is fear for you, get Linux from IBM (or Sun, for that matter).
      On the other hand, if you need something that only System/36 or Windows or MacOS or Solaris provides, then you bite the bullet and buy that.


      • Linux runs on Sparc, as does FreeBSD.

        They run on most UltraSparcs (not sure about the UltraSparc IV), but they don't handles large numbers of CPU's or massive loads as well as Solaris does. This is only to be expected, as few people have access to high end Sun kit to do Linux hacking on it. Despite Schwartz's use of the "open architecture" mantra (something the OpenBSD guys would find contentious seeing as they can't get UltraSparc IV documentation), Sun's vendor lock in is Solaris. That's why they are p

    • Ever consider that maybe some people won't -want- to run Linux on it?

      Live in fantasy-land all you want.. the vast majority of the people buying this chip will -want- Solaris on it, even if given a choice.

      How this got modded up to is beyond me.
    • Does Johnathan not get it, or is he playing the FUD game?

      A little of both, I guess...

      Cheers,

      Carlos Cesar

    • The IBM Open chip is not a chip without an OS. It runs linux...a commodity OS. That means two major things.

      I read that to mean that it's a chip that doesn't have an OS 'based' on it. Linux runs on it, but Linux's base hardware is x86. Most of the Linux developers do their work, testing, and tuning on x86, so that's where it will run best. It will run on many other platforms, but they aren't going to get the same level of attention.

      Similarly, Darwin is native to PPC. There is an x86 port, but the PPC
  • Not that great.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jjeffrey ( 558890 )
    It only helps if you have a very parallel application that is enormously heavier on CPU cycles than on disk or anything else - there aren't many like that.

    Also, I think it's quite funny that blogs.sun.com seems to have been slashdotted...

    • by mikael ( 484 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @07:52AM (#10244864)
      Most of Sun's application software vendors (CAD/CAM/animation) were busy porting their applications over to multithreaded mode back in the mid 1990's.

      Even if an application isn't multithreaded, the window system may very well be. And you can always have all those background processes (clock, TCP/IP, X-server) running on different CPU's, leaving at least one CPU free to run your application without swapping/scheduling out memory.

    • *ahem*

      Database applications come to mind. Granted, you'd have to have some pretty nice high end hard drive configurations, but that's par for the course - if you look at any enterprise solution, they have all the front end application servers, which are generally toned down, and then they have the database server, which is basically as powerful as possible.

      Also, given fiberchannel or large disk array solutions, I can think of a lot of applications this would speed up. Anything that spawns new processes
    • It only helps if you have a very parallel application that is enormously heavier on CPU cycles than on disk or anything else - there aren't many like that.

      Too bad TFA is slashdotted... the point is not parallel applications, it's applications with lots of threads. If you're putting together a service nicely decomposes into lots of threads (i.e., lots of httpd's) then this is very nice -- lots of threads running side by side, no context switches...

    • Re:Not that great.. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mestlick ( 88537 )
      Each of those 32 threads is not going to be very fast.

      These chips will not be used for databases or scientific computing where you would like high single thread performance.

      They will be used for web servers and the like, where you have lots of users hammering on one server.
    • No,actually it's for any cloud of applications that run on a machine where the memory speed is much less than the cpu speed. This is true of everything save 390s (;-))

      --dave

  • by kc_cyrus ( 759211 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @06:55AM (#10244582)
    Google's architecture might play well with this design with lots of processors in a dense package with relatively good power efficiency per processor.
  • by xyote ( 598794 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @06:55AM (#10244585)
    Sun has never explained or shown what this Throughput computing is all about. More multi-processors. Yeah, so? You need concurrency mechanisms to exploit it. Pthreads by itself isn't going to hack it. They won't scale up. Even if Sun has "parallelized" Solaris, it's in user space where most of the processing is done and where most of the problems will occur.
    • But aren't those the same problems one faces when writing apps for a multiprocessor system? And yet, you are still impressed if you get an 8-way system for the prce of a 4.

      Heck, just to have an 8-way system in the SPACE of a 1-way, is very damn impressive. But of course your apps have to be written to take advantage of them.
    • Sun sells 144-core systems now. Quite a few of them, in fact. Just becuase doom3 doesn't scale to dozens of processors doesn't mean that real world workloads don't. Web serving, transaction processing, mail servers. These things parallelize very well on an SMP.

      Tried it, deployed it, been using it for years.
      • Sun sells 144-core systems now. Quite a few of them, in fact. Just becuase doom3 doesn't scale to dozens of processors doesn't mean that real world workloads don't. Web serving, transaction processing, mail servers. These things parallelize very well on an SMP.

        Maybe they do though I think it is a pretty dumb idea to buy a propietary SMP box to run "commodity" services like mail or WWW. Using clusters of cheap x86 based servers scales just as well for those applications and costs a whole lot less. Companie
      • I'm talking about things like databases and file servers which use lots of threads sharing large common data structures. Conventional synchonization doesn't scale very well no matter how well you parallelize the application. Sun isn't doing anything here or hasn't said what they're up to.

        The only system that anyone may be doing something on is Linux. But nobody has publicly announced anything there either.

        I do have some lock-free algorithms that are portable but those aren't in widespread use. In fact

    • Yes, if you're a nerd (;-))

      The current problem in compuring is that memory speeds are going up far slower than processor speeds, causing huge cache-fill delays. Sun came up with a simple architecture to keep the processors running anyway, and it is compatable with multiprocessing and multithreading:

      1. Run decoder A until cache blocks on a read
      2. Clear ALU and switch to decoder & register file B
      3. Run B until cache blocks on a read...

      .. and so on for C-F. then go back to A. Put two ALUs and t

  • Software licensing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mark Round ( 211258 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @06:56AM (#10244586) Homepage
    What will be interesting is how the software market adjusts to these multi-core processors becoming more widespread and popular (particularly with dual-core Opteron on the way). They're going to have to rethink things a bit with regards per-processor licensing. From what I recall, Oracle (and many others) consider a dual-core processor two separate processors, and charge accordingly. Anyone running one of these chips would then get stung for a 8 (or possibly 32) processor license.

    Perhaps a better solution would be to adopt the approach taken by IDC (which Sun obviously seem quite happy to back) of counting processor sockets, instead of cores [zdnet.com.au].

    Anyone know what other software companies are planning on doing with their per-processor licensing ?

    -Mark

    • by qwijibo ( 101731 )
      Looking at processors like these, they're aimed at the server market. The people who can buy this hardware can afford the licenses. If one of these processors can compete with a 32 processor Sun Fire 12K in a functional sense, do you think Oracle is going to want less money? A count of "processors" presented to the system is as good a way of scaling licenses as any other in the server market.

      Licensing probably won't change until everyone has multi core processors. Even then, licensing per "computer" wi
        1. Looking at processors like these, they're aimed at the server market.

        Yes, though only in a specific way. The lag on most servers isn't CPU it's disk I/O. Having so many cores on the same package would make short work of some calculations though mostly for financial, military, nuclear, other sciences.

        In a typical company, more CPU girth is wasted unless you find a new application for it; server-side execution of client programs (Sun's own Java Desktop Linux distribution) and server consolidation com

      • If one of these processors can compete with a 32 processor Sun Fire 12K in a functional sense, do you think Oracle is going to want less money?

        It can't compete with the 12K in _any_ sense. It has a tiny fraction of the memory capacity, the memory bandwidth, the I/O bandwidth, the cache, the TLB, the floating point performance, etc.

        This might be a great CPU for first-tier web serving, and maybe second-tier app-server kinds of processing, but it's not even a remotely viable candidate for the third-tier da
    • Why is it better to charge by socket? Just because it's cheaper? If your only goal is to reduce licensing cost, just charge per machine.
  • by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @06:56AM (#10244590)
    After upgrading the Sun server on our network to Solaris 10, all of a sudden the Exchange server stopped working, our Primary Domain Controller went tits up, and the W2K DHCP Server went offline. I've gotten six phone calls in the last 10 minutes from people calling to ask why their workstations say "Welcome to Looking Glass" when they log in. ;)
  • That's just 31 more ways the machine can fail... Have you noticed how the reliability of Sun's hardware has really fallen off in the past few years? I have an SS2 from '95 that is still runnnig (a seti@home client) and has not failed a single time from hardware (other than the initial Quantum disk going dead). At work, there is a hardware failure almost every day. Granted, we have a lot of Sun's, but still...

    • But you have to remember, the Sparcstation 2 was pretty special. One of the best workstations produced ... ever.

      Sun may still have good server hardware -- it's been a while since I've had to deal with it -- but as far as workstations are concerned, I don't think they've ever matched what they achieved with the SS2, compared with the contemporary competition.

      And it even looked good.
    • I have to disagree: we have about 200 Sun servers in our R&D lab, and dozens of Blade workstations. All this stuff, including the recently acquired dual Opteron box, is rock solid, no downtime machinery.

      In any case, I think it's unwise to judge the total output quality of a company, based on just your particular experience, with possibly one single computer or application.
    • Sun's current line of workstations are pretty poor compared to the SparcStations of yesteryear. Back in the mid 1990's they were well worth the expense if you wanted a reliable Unix machine on the dekstop. My SS5 is still whirring away as a firewall and webserver at home. however, if I wanted a decent RISC workstation nowadays then I'd go for a Mac and dual boot either Linux or NetBSD on it.

      Sun's servers are still excellent though, and they're my first choice for serious database machines. Alphas were a g

    • Actually it's 1/32 the parts count, for a roughly 32:1 improvement in MTBF.

      Methinks this is one way Sun's improving their quality control (;-))

      --dave

  • That sounds kinda lot. At least, compared to what Intel AMD and IBM have achieved (or are going to). IBM seems to be in a better position than the other two big chipmakers, but nowhere near 8 cores. And These cores are not some simple, transputer-ish processor implementation. They are quite complex 64-bit SPARC cores (but probably with a much shorter pipeline).

    OK, I think this is impressive.

    Now, who's going to fab this baby? TI?
  • C10K (Score:5, Informative)

    by cmaxx ( 7796 ) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @08:02AM (#10244933)
    I think they're particularly looking at things like the C10K problem (http://www.kegel.com/c10k.html).

    The new Solaris 10 networking code reputedly pays a lot of attention to exploiting, and serving threads well, particularly hardware multithreading if it's available.

    If they could squeeze one of these and maybe 8GB+ of RAM into a 1U box or into their blade centre, then I think it'd do quite nicely for serving web.

  • by bhima ( 46039 )
    Is it just me or does the whole thing sound over whiny, sort of like a Jr. SCO. Honestly I just read the text someone had in the thread so I didn't see the groovy picture claimed to be ITFA. If I was blogging about my companies products... well I guess I'd blog about my companies products and not about IBM's. did I miss something?
  • by thewiz ( 24994 ) * on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @09:57AM (#10245988)
    that the motherboard and CPU combo that he shows on his blog has no memory on it? Must be one of those magical motherboards to be running Solaris 10 with no memory.
    • If that's what they call a system, remind me not to call them; I prefer mine functional. There's no RAM, no expansion cards, and it doesn't look as if there's any CPU installed. If it's "already running Solaris" why don't they show a picture of it running Solaris? "Not for the expedience of a press release." Of course not...they just...didn't want to risk blowing everyone's minds with how amazing they are...yeah...that's the ticket. For as cocky as he is when he talks about IBM's advertising, he doesn'
  • CIO's are walking away from Unix, because it is a lockin on hardware and software. IOW, too high of cost. With OSS, you get a low cost or free OS, and true competition with hardware. That lowers the revenue on Hardware.

    What is interesting is that Windows offered the same advantage until they got to be monopolized and started charging as much as Unix did.

  • Nice FUD (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hkb ( 777908 )
    His FUD rant against IBM was quite amusing, considering that he's an executive in a company who's released a series of curious, low-end "funny little boxes". JavaStation... Sun Rays... did anyone really buy, use, and keep using all that crap? No.

    I wonder if Microsoft taught Sun execs classes on speaking FUD as a part of the lawsuit settlement...

    Yet more hot air from a dying company mismanaging a great, outstanding product (Solaris), that's quickly being swallowed by Linux, Apple, *BSD, and NT, and is so..

Trying to be happy is like trying to build a machine for which the only specification is that it should run noiselessly.

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