Desktop Engineering review: "A Server On Every Desk"


Last week Desktop Engineering published a technical article on the Sun Ultra 40 M2. The review, written by Sun's Michael Schulman and Michael Burke, detailed the increased functionality between CAD and MCAE applications on workstations. To test the idea, the Sun Ultra 40 M2 workstation running Solaris 10 was used to run a CAD benchmark and a CAE application.

The machine, running all out and fully utilized, produced results with less than a 10 percent slowdown for the CAD application. For the typical user "any slowdown would be barely noticed." The authors also discuss acceleration technologies such as heterogenous computing, using an add-on board designed to speed up calculations for floating-point intensive applications and the use of FPGAs. The second of these technologies is working on Sun Fire X4600 servers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, where the accelerator increases the performance of certain types of applications.

The authors wrap up the discussion by concluding that "MCAE applications will continue to be run on rackmounted or blade type servers sitting in data centers," but that the "recent improvements in workstation processing power allow for medium-sized data sets to be used. This enables closer integration between CAD and CAE, and will help bring products to market faster — just the ROI many manufacturers are looking for."

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