Tuesday Sep 05, 2006

Niagara-2: A Highly Threaded Server-on-a-Chip

Greg Grohoski, a Sun Distinguished Engineer and one of the principal architects on the Niagara 2 project, made a presentation on Niagara 2 at the Hot Chips 18 conference on August 20 thru 22, 2006 at the Memorial Auditorium, Stanford University. Greg presented some of the first details of the upcoming Chip Multi-Threading (CMT) design. Highlights of Niagara 2:
  • Niagara-2 combines all major server functions on one chip
  • >2x throughput and throughput/watt vs. UltraSparc T1
  • Greatly improved floating-point performance
  • Significantly improved integer performance
  • Embedded wire-speed cryptographic acceleration
  • Enables new generation of power-efficient, fully-secure datacenters
The presentation: "Niagara 2 A highly Threaded Server On a Chip"

There are also a few articles written:
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Friday Sep 01, 2006

OpenSPARC T1 Version 1.3 Released

We have the next release of the OpenSPARC T1.
In version 1.3 exectuables are added for Solaris 10/X64 and Linux/X86 and a new addition is Open Boot PROM (OBP) source code.

Download it now!!

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Tuesday Aug 29, 2006

PG&E and Sun rebate program gets mixed reaction

I came across this article from SearchDataCenter.com titled "PG&E and Sun rebate program gets mixed reaction".

Sun announced this program earlier this month, Sun Teams with PG&E On First Ever Rebate For Servers, Up To $1000 In Savings

It's interesting where the "mix reaction" comes from:
Hewlett-Packard Co., (HP) for one, isn't impressed. Olivier Helleboid, vice president of adaptive infrastructure, said HP is more focused on cutting the cost of an entire system, adding that the greatest reductions would come from looking at overall operations.
Lin Nease, chief technology officer of HP business critical systems, called it a publicity stunt.
Could it be that HP does NOT have an offering that comes close to what Sun offers in the Sun Fire T1000 and T2000? Show me your SWaP!!
Mark Feverston, Unisys director of enterprise servers and storage, argued that offering the rebate on the Niagara servers wouldn't have a large market impact because he felt that demand for Unix-based servers was declining. He added that he thought the growth of virtualization, not single servers themselves, would drive up power efficiency and push down the total cost of ownership.
Well I guess Mark didn't see our results from last quarter and I guess he doesn't read Jonathan's blog where he mentions, "Our newest Niagara UltraSPARC systems surpassed the $100M per quarter mark, just about the fastest ramp of any product I can remember."

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Friday Aug 18, 2006

Cool Tools on OpenSPARC.net

As part of the OpenSPARC initiative, a bunch of Cool Tools have been released. More and more Cool Tools are appearing, the first bunch appeared in Feb. 2006 and the most recent one was added yesterday. All very useful in helping to build an ecosystem around the OpenSPARC T1 and to help customers and users of the Sun Fire T1000 and T2000 and other SPARC-based systems. The currently available tools are split into three groups. The first group are Cool Tools for Software Development and this includes the following:
  • GCC for SPARC Systems
    C/C++ compiler that dramatically improves the performance of applications that are normally compiled with gcc on SPARC systems.
  • ATS
    Automatic Tuning and Troubleshooting System (ATS) is a binary reoptimization and recompilation tool that can be used for tuning and troubleshooting applications.
  • BIT
    Binary Improvement Tool (BIT) works directly with SPARC binaries to instrument, optimize, and analyze them for performance or code coverage.
  • SPOT
    Simple performance optimizations tool (SPOT), produces a report on the performance of an application. The spot report contains detailed information about various common conditions that impact performance.
  • Faban
    Faban is the consolidation of our benchmark development and management knowledge and experience. It is a facility for developing and running benchmarks. It has two major components, the Faban harness and the Faban driver framework.
The second group are Cool Tools for Deployment:
  • Cool Stack
    CoolThreads Optimized Open Source Software Stack, (Cool Stack), is a collection of commonly used Open Source software optimized for the Sun Solaris OS (TM) / UltraSPARC (R) platform (using Sun Studio 11 compilers) for the best out-of-the-box performance. The Open Source apps included are: Apache, MySQL, Perl, PHP, Squid and Tomcat.
  • cooltst
    CoolThreads Selection Tool, (cooltst), applies simple heuristics to determine whether a workload from one platform is a reasonable candidate for Sun Fire T2000/T1000 servers.
  • Consolidation Tool for Sun Fire Servers
    The Consolidation Tool for Sun Fire Servers V1.0, Sun Fire T1000 and T2000 Edition, is a software tool designed to simplify the task of consolidating multiple applications onto the Sun Fire T1000/T2000 platform using Solaris Containers.
  • corestat
    Online monitoring of core utilization for Sun Fire T1000/T2000 servers. Core utilization is reported for all the available cores by aggregating the instructions executed by all the threads in that core. Its a perl script which forks cpustat command at run time and then aggregates the instruction count to derive the core utilization. An UltraSPARC T1 core can best execute one instruction/cycle and hence the maximum core utilization is directly proportional to the frequency of the processor.
And the final group Cool Tools For SPARC Architecture:
  • SHADE
    SHADE is a fast SPARC instruction set simulator that is used to perform a variety of analysis functions on SPARC executables.
  • RST
    RST is a trace format for SPARC instruction-level traces.
There are also several architecture tools included in the OpenSPARC T1 software download.
  • SAM - SPARC Architecture Model
  • Legion - Fast instruction accurate simulator
  • SAS - Instruction accurate SPARC Architecture Simulator

Take a look at the above tools and stay in touch there are more to come.

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Wednesday Aug 16, 2006

Redbrick deploys Sun Fire T2000 running Ubuntu

Colm MacCárthaigh, one of the winners of the Sun Fire CoolThreads Performance Contest, has deployed murphy.redbrick.dcu.ie, a Sun Fire T2000 as the new main login server for RedBrick and it's running Ubuntu.

Read Colm's blog, Niagara boxes deployed!.

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Updated: Ubuntu 6.06.1 LTS Released

The Ubuntu team has announced the release of Ubuntu 6.06.1 LTS, the first maintenance release of "Dapper Drake". This release includes both installable Desktop CDs and alternate text-mode installation CDs for several architectures, for Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Edubuntu. Xubuntu is also included, although commercial support for it is not available from Canonical Ltd. Here's the announcement.
Europe:
http://fr.releases.ubuntu.com/6.06.1/ (France)
http://releases.ubuntu.com/6.06.1/ (All)
Rest of the World:
http://releases.ubuntu.com/6.06.1/

Here's a direct link to the SPARC server install CD
Note: I got an update on 8/16/06 that the SPARC CD had to be respun so if you downloaded it earlier go back and get the latest update. Read this for the reason.
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Tuesday Aug 15, 2006

PG&E Rebate for Sun's CoolThread Servers

Buyers of Sun Fire T1000 and T2000 servers with the low-power CoolThreads UltraSPARC processors are eligible for rebates of of up to $1,000 from power utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). Now you get to save even more money owning a CoolThreads server. Read the press release. <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript"> var sc_project=1115798; var sc_invisible=1; var sc_partition=10; var sc_security="a3cd786a"; </script> <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript" src="http://www.statcounter.com/counter/counter.js"></script>

Saturday Aug 05, 2006

Ubuntu vs. Red Hat

Earlier this week, Tony Mobily of Free Software Magazine, wrote " Why Red Hat will go bust because of Ubuntu"

"By abandoning their desktop users, Red Hat has effectively shot itself in the foot. Funnily enough, they kept on chasing the mirage of thousands of soul-less corporate customers with the real money. However, the bleeding didn’t stop altogether, and behind those faceless corporations there are thousands of system administrators who now use Ubuntu Linux rather than Red Hat Linux."

Trying to create some controversy I guess. Here's Mark Shuttleworth response from his blog, " Red Hat's demise is not our goal"
My own view is that Red Hat will continue to do well in the specific areas that they have targeted - they are extremely well established in the high-availability enterprise Linux server market, and it will take some years before Ubuntu can make the same claim.

Our focus is different to that of Red Hat - we want to ensure that there are free (in both FSF and economic senses) platforms for commodity requirements, like desktops and typical web or email of HPC servers, where the existing free software stack does everything that people typically want. And we want to ensure that this free offering is sustainable, so that it is independent of the whims of any large corporate (and frankly independent of my own whims, too).
Gotta Luv what we have here. Having choice is great and have a free choice is even better. <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript"> var sc_project=1115798; var sc_invisible=1; var sc_partition=10; var sc_security="a3cd786a"; </script> <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript" src="http://www.statcounter.com/counter/counter.js"></script>

Friday Jun 30, 2006

Sun Microsystems Customers Shape Web 2.0 with T1000 and T2000

Sun just put out this press release highlighting three customers who have taken the Sun Fire T1000 and T2000 for a Try and Buy. As a result of their efforts they show impressive results using these UltraSPARC T1 based servers.

The first company is Digitar http://www.digitar.com, who provide advanaced messaging servers. They document their experience in much detail.

The second company is Joyent http://joyent.com, who provide a web platform based on Ruby on Rails. Their services include http://www.strongspace.com and http://www.textdrive.com. For an overview of the project, a more detailed look and a interesting collection of photos. Also take a look at their workshops, http://scalewithrails.com/.

The third is Fotolog http://www.fotolog.com, one of the world's largest photo blogging community and their testimontial.

As a side note, ZFS was just released with Solaris 10 Update 2 and here is a great geeky t-shirt to go with it's release. (wear with caution :) <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript"> var sc_project=1115798; var sc_invisible=1; var sc_partition=10; var sc_security="a3cd786a"; </script> <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript" src="http://www.statcounter.com/counter/counter.js"></script>

Tuesday Jun 20, 2006

Looking for Authors!

Contribute to the OpenSPARC Book Project

We are in the process of developing an open book licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License on the OpenSPARC T1. The intention of this open book is to assist the OpenSPARC development community by describing the OpenSPARC T1 in detail. We have an outline started, but we need more contributors. Join the OpenSPARC book project! http://wiki.opensparc.info.

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Monday Jun 19, 2006

Linus announced Linux v2.6.17

Linus announced Linux v2.6.17 on Saturday. This is the kernel with UltraSPARC T1 (aka Niagara) support. Thanks to David Miller's and the Linux Community in getting this there.

Just take a look at all of the changes for sparc, in the 2.6.17 Changelog
Some lengthy discussions on Slashdot and Digg

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Friday Jun 16, 2006

Happy Birthday OpenSolaris!!

OpenSolaris celebrated their first anniversary on June 14, 2006. I was amazed to see the activities and the blogging around that event. Check out the announcement of activities.

A tremendous accomplishment and some very cool milestones reached.

Happy Birthday OpenSolaris!!

I hope with OpenSPARC we can approach even a fraction of what they have been able to do and to have a vibrant and active community. <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript"> var sc_project=1115798; var sc_invisible=1; var sc_partition=10; var sc_security="a3cd786a"; </script> <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript" src="http://www.statcounter.com/counter/counter .js"></script>

Ubuntu on UltraSPARC T1 Officially Available

It was annnouced at the beginning of June and I'm sure some people were wondering where the Ubuntu bits were so you could try them out. Well the wait is finally over, Ubuntu for UltraSPARC T1 is officially available. Here's the note from Ubuntu.

The Ubuntu team is proud to announce the release of Ubuntu 6.06 LTS server for SUN Sparc 64bit architecture.

This release is an Ubuntu distribution for your servers, with a fast and easy install, regular releases, and a tight selection of excellent packages installed by default. Other packages and applications are available from a global network of mirrors, and professional, commercial technical support from Canonical Ltd and hundreds of other companies around the world.

Ubuntu 6.06 LTS will be the first Ubuntu release with a long-term support cycle: free security updates and commercial technical support will be available for five years.

To Get Ubuntu 6.06 LTS for Sparc you can download from :

United States:
http://us.releases.ubuntu.com/releases/6.06/

Europe:
http://se.releases.ubuntu.com/6.06/ (Sweden)
http://fr.releases.ubuntu.com/6.06/> (France)
http://releases.ubuntu.com/6.06/ (All)

Rest of the World:
http://releases.ubuntu.com/6.06/

Netboot/Netinstall image:
http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/dapper-updates/main/installer-sparc/current/images/sparc64/netboot/2.6/ and mirrors.


Visit the http://opensparc.net webiste and see what other O.S. ports are under development. Let the OpenSPARC community know how we can help get other O.S. ports underway.

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Tuesday Jun 06, 2006

Sun Fire T1000 Shows Great Performance

Sun Fire T1000 posts class setting SPECweb2005 performance for 1U systems. See the press release. Take a look at the numbers.

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Try it first!

The Ultra 20 and Ultra 40 workstations have been added to the Try and Buy program. That is a great way to give these workstations a spin before you decide to buy one. These could even make great home machines, the Ultra 20 starts at $895.

Take a look.

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dwayne

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