Sun, Fujitsu pack 128 threads into new SPARC servers

Sun, Fujitsu pack 128 threads into new SPARC servers

Additional circuitry allows Sun to turn SPARC Enterprise T5140 and T5240 servers into 128-thread machines

Sun and Fujitsu this week are releasing two new SPARC servers the vendors say are capable of processing 128 threads simultaneously and will 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.

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, databases, and exposing ERP and CRM applications to Web services. Encryption capabilities inside the chip enhance security, says 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 HP and Dell. Sun is targeting enterprises that are growing quickly and doing lots of business over the Web, Keep says.

"Ultimately, we've designed these systems to change the economics and scaling of enterprise and technical computing infrastructures," he says. "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 US$14,995, while the T5240 starts at US$17,995. The higher-priced server supports 128GB of memory, twice the amount of the lower-priced one.

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

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