Niagara Multicore versus Multi-Threaded
By jhawk on Oct 15, 2005
In my previous experience with Sun systems, I've noticed that the Intel Xeons (shipped with the old v60z) were appearing as multi-CPU. Solaris would show one physical CPU demonstrated as two. In reality, each of those "virtual CPUs" are threads running on a single CPU. This isn't multicore. As I now know, the Xeon CPU was running with two threads.
Now that I'm playing with the Niagara systems, I'm really seeing what it means to be multi-core. On powerup, we received 8-Core Niagara boxes. Solaris "mpstat" however showed a whopping 32 processors!!
According to Marc Tremblay.. "Each of Niagara's eight cores can process four software threads, or tasks, simultaneously - all while using no more energy than the average lightbulb (as little as 10 percent of what other processors use)."
To a software and deployment guy like me, this is pretty wild. Now we can push our Messaging Server and Calendar Server to a smaller footprint in the rack. Using Solaris Zones we can create multiple Calendar and Message Store instances which avoid the negative problems associated with Sleepcat databases. Look for a paper to be published on this configuration later.