Sun, Fujitsu pack 128 threads into new Sparc servers

Sun Microsystems Inc. and Fujitsu Ltd. this week are releasing two new Sparc servers that the vendors say can process 128 threads simultaneously and improve the energy and space efficiency of data centers.

The CMT Sparc Enterprise T5140 and T5240 servers are based on a Sun Niagara chip released last year that has eight cores that process eight threads apiece, for a total of 64 threads. Some additional circuitry has allowed Sun to place two of the chips into the same server to create the 128-thread machine, according to the companies.

The 128 threads are delivered with virtualization technologies that Sun has dubbed Solaris Containers and Logical Domains. In addition to consolidating older servers onto the new Sparc machines, the new line is good for running Java services and databases and for exposing ERP and CRM applications to Web services. Encryption capabilities inside the chip enhance security, said Mat Keep, Sun's Niagara product manager.

Sun says its new servers will compete against two- and four-socket x86 servers made by vendors such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc. Sun is targeting enterprises that are growing quickly and doing lots of business over the Web, Keep said.

"Ultimately, we've designed these systems to change the economics and scaling of enterprise and technical computing infrastructures," he said. "We've taken the performance and scalability you find with traditional mid-range servers and blended that with the third generation of our multi-threading technology."

The T5140 starts at $14,995, while the T5240 starts at $17,995. The higher-priced server supports 128GB of memory, twice the amount of the lower-priced one.

Sun earned $5.9 billion in worldwide server revenue in 2007 for a market share of 10.8%, according to Gartner Inc. IBM and HP both earned nearly triple the revenue of Sun, while Dell also came out ahead, with $6.3 billion.

Sun is trying to entice customers to try out the new Sparc servers with a free 60-day trial. The servers will be sold under both the Sun and Fujitsu brand names.

This story, "Sun, Fujitsu pack 128 threads into new Sparc servers" was originally published by Network World.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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