Wednesday Feb 27, 2008

The UltraSPARC T2 Processor and Security

A couple of weeks ago, the Sun Partner University saw 250 technical people from Sun's german partner community gathering in Fulda, Germany. Besides showing videos, talking about Sun Visualization Software, the Sun Grid Engine and Sun Studio Compilers and evangelizing Web 2.0, I had the honor of recording an interview with Alec Muffett, one of our Principal Engineers, based in the UK.

Alec Presenting 

Alec came to Fulda to talk about the Sun UltraSPARC T2 (aka Niagara 2) Processor (here are some systems to try out) and Security. You can listen to the interview he gave at the current episode #11 of the HELDENFunk podcast (if you don't understand german, start listening after the 2nd minute or so). Now, he also published a video he recorded of himself while he gave his presentation. A very worthwhile and fun 16 minutes to watch!

Notice the fun and refreshing style of his presentation and slides A true master of the Zen Arts of Presentation!

Monday Feb 25, 2008

Meet Me Next Week at CeBIT 2008


CeBIT is the world's largest IT trade show. Whenever we mention this to our colleagues in the US, they say "sure". Only when they actually come over to our booth and experience the CeBIT feeling, they realize how really big it is. Most US trade shows use a really big exhibition hall. CeBIT has 21 (twenty-one) of them. Plus the space in between. Bring some good shoes.

CeBIT 2008 will take place next week, March 4-9 in Hannover, Germany. If you go there, visit the Sun booth. We'll have systems, storage, software and service exhibits, a Blackbox, even an installation of Project Wonderland.

I'll be at the Solaris part of the booth, talking to customers about Niagara 2 and other CPU and System Technologies, Solaris, OpenSolaris and ZFS, HPC and Grid Computing, Web 2.0 and what not. If you read this blog, stop by and say hi. Let me know what you like and what you don't like about this blog, about Sun or whatever else goes through your mind. I'll bring my voice recorder and a camera and we can talk about your own cool projects in a podcast interview that we can then publish through the HELDENFunk podcast. Join the System Heroes (or the german Systemhelden) and get a T-Shirt or I'll try to organize one of those champagne VIP passes for you. Just ask for me at the info counter.

See you at CeBIT!

Friday Nov 02, 2007

Getting Ready for TS Ambassador Conference 2007

Tomorrow, I'll be flying to San Francisco for the annual Technical Systems (TS) Ambassador Conference. I just packed my stuff, including my trusty favourite gadgets, excluding for the very first time, my Palm. I've been using the Nokia E61i as a PDA substitute for a week and this is going to be the stress test.

The TS Ambassadors are a group of Sun System Engineers (SEs) from all around the world who are specialized in CPU and Systems Technologies, HPC and Grid Computing, Workstations, Visualization and other interesting tech stuff that keeps the computer scientist in me stimulated, including a growing amount of storage related topics, such as Thumper and Honeycomb, although there is a separate Data Management Ambassador group.

During our annual conference, we listen to what our colleagues in engineering and corporate are up to, and we give feedback based on what we experience with our customers, thereby providing a two-way know-how transfer between Sun's field organization and Sun's product groups.

Like last year, I'm going to grab some co-ambassadors after each day and drag them into a room to record a daily TS Ambassador podcast. If you're inside SWAN, stay tuned for the announcement. My Zoom H2 will be my trusty portable recording studio, just like during the CEC 2007 podcasts.

But before we start with the conference on Monday, my colleague Roland and I registered for a special event that happened to be scheduled this sunday: The Foresight Vision Weekend. This unconference is going to address some fascinating topics including Nanotechnology, Artificial Intelligence, Space Development and Settlement, Synthetic Biology and other topics of the not so long-term, but utterly exciting future. Let me know if you happen to be there, too, and stay tuned for a conference update on this blog.

Wednesday Aug 08, 2007

A True Web 2.0 Chip

Yesterday was the big day in which we launched the UltraSPARC T2 chip, code-named Niagara 2.

Few people realize how significant this announcement really is. The UltraSPARC T1 chip already changed the game of providing a powerful web infrastructure: By providing 32 threads in parallel, the UltraSPARC T1 chip and the associated T2000 server can provide more than double the performance of today's regular chips, at half the power cost. Even now, 18 months after its introduction, this chip still remains ahead of the pack both in absolute web performance and in price/performance and in performance/watt.

UltraSPARC T2 is not just a better version of the T1 chip, it provides three significant improvements:

  • More parallelism: Instead of 32 concurrent threads, UltraSPARC T2 delivers 64 threads running in parallel. Moore's law gives us twice as many transistors to play with every 18 weeks and the best way to leverage that is to turn them into parallelism. UltraSPARC T1 and T2 are all about maximizing the return on Moore's Law. Check out the specs.
  • More networking: The UltraSPARC T2 features two 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports directly on the chip. Two. Ten GigaBit. On the chip. The NIC is included, there is no bus system between the NIC and the CPU, the CPU is the NIC is the CPU. Total embedded networking. For applications that live in the network, what more can they ask for in a server?
  • Built-in, free and fast encryption. In a world where the web becomes social, private data becomes more and more common, but also more and more important to secure. Making security a default feature of your web service is now available for free and it does not impact performance.

Of course, there are many more other improvements, such as 8 FP units, more memory etc., but the three points above alone make the UltraSPARC T2 the perfect chip for web 2.0 applications.

This guy needs UltraSPARC T2!For instance, check out this analysis of the Facebook platform by Marc Andreesen. If you don't want to read it all, here's a summary: Web 2.0 means explosive growth in server capacity, for any reasonably successful application. In the case of iLike, they are growing their user base at the rate of 300k a day! This kind of growth can be fatal for your company if you don't have the infrastructure to sustain it. Well, UltraSPARC T2 is just the kind of technology that was designed to do just that: Handle many, many, many concurrent users at once as efficiently and securely as possible.

So, all you Web 2.0 startups out there, get in touch with your nearest Sun rep or Sun SE and ask them about UltraSPARC T2, or better yet, get a free 60-day trial of UltraSPARC T1, do your favourite benchmark, double that number and forget about that crypto-card to see what UltraSPARC T2 can do for you real soon now. Then, sit back, relax and keep those 300k a day users coming!

Friday Mar 30, 2007

25 Years of Sun History in the Middle of Germany

Sun 1-100If you happen to be near Frankfurt, Germany, stop by the Sun Frankfurt office in Langen. It hosts the Sunopsis Computer Museum, which is run by our colleague Rüdiger in his free time.

Sunopsis consists of a collection of nearly all systems that Sun has built since it's foundation as well as an exhibition, an online-reference, a material-, document- and software archive. Additional highlights of Sunopsis are the nearly complete Cobalt history and prototypes of Sun systems that didn't make it to a real product. It is the only known museum in the world that can tell the history of Sun in such a compelling way.

Here are some impressions from the hardware exhibited there. Sunopsis has also donated equipment to other computer collections such as the German CPU Collection and the Computer Museum in Munich. Now that we're celebrating 25 years of Sun, it's amazing to see how the world of computing has changed in less than a generation!


Tune in and find out useful stuff about Sun Solaris, CPU and System Technology, Web 2.0 - and have a little fun, too!


« June 2016