Sun serves servers

Sun Microsystems releases two new servers based around its new eight-core chip design, saying they represent a dramatic increase in performance and efficiency.

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By  Eliot Beer Published  December 6, 2005

Sun Microsystems has released two new servers based around its new eight-core chip design, saying they represent a dramatic increase in performance and efficiency. The 9.6GHz UltraSparc T1 chip forms the heart of the new servers: it can have up to eight processor cores, is capable of handling 32 threads simultaneously, and consumes an average of 72 Watts of power. Sun says the servers — the Sun Fire T1000 and T2000 models — offer around five times the performance of comparable servers on the market, for a third of the cost and a quarter of the space. “This is a long way ahead of anything that’s currently on the market; our competitors cannot offer anything like the number of threads, or the space or power efficiency of these servers,” says Carl Ray, field engagement manager at Sun’s scalable systems group. “In one box, we can offer something which would have taken up a whole server rack in the past to deliver the same performance.” Sun says the servers are designed for web-facing situations and application servers, rather than large database applications — these will be catered for by the company’s forthcoming “Rock” processor. The T2000 will start shipping immediately, with the T1000 shipping early in 2006, and Sun’s managing director for MENA, Chris Cornelius, thinks the products should be especially suitable for the region. “What we’ve witnessed here in MENA is that the willingness of regional firms to invest in new hardware has resulted in a number of inefficient server farms that run too hot and take up too much space,” says Cornelius. “Given the extreme performance increase and low power consumption of Sun’s new Sun Fire servers, any company that has a web, application or database server farm based on Intel Xeon servers needs to test the Sun Fire T1000 or T2000 servers immediately and see the unmatched price, performance and energy savings for themselves.” Sun’s Ray speculates that, in a region where heat and power consumption are often of primary concern, the new servers could score highly against competitors’ models. The rated power consumption for a T2000 box is 275 Watts for the whole system, according to Sun. Ray also says Sun has a firm roadmap for the UltraSparc processor family, with development stretching around six years into the future. He says the processors will continue to offer binary compatibility with previous models, thus insuring a smooth upgrade path for existing Sparc users. The Sun Fire T2000 has a US list price of US$7,795, and Sun representatives in the UAE expect it to be offered for a similar price in the region, with the addition of import costs and duties. No pricing information was given for the T1000 at this stage.

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