Tuesday Oct 14, 2008

T2: Sun, Fujitsu, Sparc, Solaris

Sun doubles processing power of UltraSparc T2 Plus servers: "Sales of systems based on the multithreading UltraSparc chips 'have seen dramatic growth.' [Jean Bozman, analyst at IDC] also said that she is seeing evidence of Sun gaining new customers via the multithreading technology.' " -- Computerworld

Cool. Nice to see Solaris running a hot new platform driving growth. Sun press release here. Sun technical blogs here.

Wednesday Oct 10, 2007

T5120 T5220 T6320

Allan Packer summarizes the engineering blogs covering the new UltraSPARC T2 systems -- CMT Comes of Age. This is very cool since these are "the engineers who have developed [the systems], tested them, and pushed them to their limits." It's great that we can read directly from the developers. Scary smart stuff. There's also lots of press out there, but I tripped over this quote right away: "Sun has struck a blow with two deceptively powerful servers that, of all things, pack all of their mutlthreaded into rack and blade options." That's from Tom Yager's Sun's T-2 (Niagara 2) servers launch to an enthusiastic reception. See the joint Sun and Fujitsu announcement as well.

Tuesday Aug 07, 2007

More OpenSPARC Code Coming

Sun: Open source Niagara 'successful': "Because the open-sourcing of Niagara 1 [has been] overwhelmingly successful, we are now following the same practice, [and] are looking to continue and open source the Niagara 2 [processor] under the GPL (General Public License)." -- David Yen, executive vice president of Sun's scalable systems group, quoted in ZDNet.

Cool. More OpenSPARC code on the way. It's great to see the other projects succeeding in our trek to open up the company. I often wonder, too, about the distinctions between the OpenSPARC community and the OpenSolaris community. I would imagine that there are a lot of similarities because, after all, both start out with source code. But the final product is so very different. Interesting.

Wednesday Jul 04, 2007

Reading the Markets

Sun puts "Sparc" into Web 2.0 -- "I think Sun is reading the market correctly." -- Ephraim Schwartz

Wednesday May 30, 2007

Long Term

"I know that when you come here to read, you realize that you are The Market, and that all of the investments you make are long-term. In IT, there are no day traders." -- Tom Yager, The two technology markets

That's how Tom ends his piece about pundits and stock prices. It's a good one, too. Check it out.

He also has some fascinating thoughts about SPARC and Solaris -- "Sun Microsystems isn't folding up its tent on SPARC because it doesn't stand a chance against POWER and x86, any more than it's planting and reading over Solaris because of the looming threat of Linux. Sun doesn't make strategic decisions based on analysts' manipulation of short-term stock market investors, and that's one of the reasons that I hold the company in such high regard."

What's cool about that quote is that it recognizes that some of this stuff is long term and it's long term by design. I remember thinking back three and a half years ago when I joined the OpenSolaris engineering team. This is going to take years, I thought. And it has. And that's good. If you want something to last, it has to be done deliberately. Planning. Team building. Licensing. Analyzing and opening code. Figuring out and implementing new business models. Educating the customer base. Engaging new developers. Creating development models and governance mechanisms. Building infrastructure so a global community can grow and collaborate. It's a lot. And more. We are doing something on a scale that I don't think has been done before in this business. We are teasing apart a large organization -- with hundreds of projects and over a thousand people around the world -- into parts where development will live outside but productization inside. Right now they are pretty much the same. And we are doing this while building and shipping what is arguably the company's most important product. That last bit is what people often forget. Product has been shipping during all this. This transition is huge and not just for the obvious technology reasons but also for more subtle cultural and organizational reasons. The only way it can be successful is for it to be strategic by design. And it is.

Thursday May 25, 2006

Getting Back in the Game

I see we're getting back in the game here -- Gartner and IDC Show Sun Gaining Server Market Share. And here -- Sun stuns server market in Q1 with sales spike. And it's nice to start reading quotes like this -- "IDC analyst Steve Josselyn said Sun's UltraSparc T1-based multi-core machines and Opteron-based x64 Galaxy servers are "beginning to resonate with customers."


Wednesday Mar 22, 2006

OpenSPARC Release

I see that Sun released the source code that implements the spec for the UltraSPARC T-1 processor, the chip inside Sun's SunFire T2000. Very cool. The birth of a new open engineering community. This one will be really fascinating to watch, though, since we're talking about an open source hardware community. It will also be interesting to see how the culture of the community develops over time. For a hint at that you can monitor the Guiding Principles and Community Governance Proposal.

From the Sun press release -- Sun made public these specifications:
  • Source of the UltraSPARC T1 design, expressed in Verilog;
  • Verification suite and simulation models;
  • ISA specification (UltraSPARC Architecture 2005);
  • The Solaris 10 OS simulation images.
Nice to see Solaris tucked neatly right in there. The release continues with this:

"Sun also released porting specifications for the Solaris 10 OS, which will allow developers to create and run their multi-threaded hardware and software products on the world's most advanced operating system. The release of this open operating open platform bolsters the strength of this new multi-threaded community."

Below is a list of links covering the announcement in no particular order ...

delicious tags: ultrasparc opensource gpl sun niagara opensolaris opensparc

Friday Feb 10, 2006


Fascinating piece here from Stephen Shankland -- Sun's next goal: A Linux ecosystem. I love the assertive and positive comments from Sun, and I love the skepticism from competitors and others. I'm not saying that honest skepticism isn't called for in situations like this, but what this article demonstrates quite clearly is that people are responding to Sun, not the other way around. That is what has changed around here. Anyway, here are some of my favorite quotes from the article (in no particular order):

"The time for Linux on Sparc as any kind of major market phenomenon has come and gone -- over five years ago now, maybe longer," Illuminata analyst Jonathan Eunice said. "It just serves to split the available development resources."

Isn't that what some said about OpenSolaris?

"To be successful, Solaris has to go beyond Sparc. But also to be successful, Sparc has to go beyond Solaris," said David Yen, who as executive vice president of Sun's Sparc server group is trying to make the chip family "the new industry standard."

Really nice quote. Solaris has been transformed due to specific innovations in Solaris 10, the porting of the system to other platforms, and the community building effort around OpenSolaris. It seems that SPARC is headed along a similar path. Next year will be very interesting.

"They're late, they don't have a particular price-performance advantage or any particular reason the Linux market would move there," Don Jenkins, vice president of marketing for HP's Business Critical Server group, said of Sun's move. "It strikes me as a pretty daunting task."

Also a nice quote. If there's one PR "key message" that competitors have tossed our way over the last few years it's that one right there: "They're late." Late to XML, late to Web Services, late to open source, blablabla.

"That's 'old think,'" [Jonathan Schwartz] said when asked if Sun had enough energy and resources to build Linux and BSD ecosystems for Sparc. "Open-source communities are a much bigger player today than vendors in creating ecosystems. So whether Sun is the lead or a supporter is less relevant than answering the question, 'Is there customer interest?' Given the 5-to-1 price/performance benefit of running Web loads on Niagara versus Xeon, interest exists from a broad variety of customers to migrate existing Linux-Xeon deployments over to Linux or BSD on Niagara."

Again. Asserting the positive, instead of crying about the past.

Still, Sun has no shortage of gumption. "Linux on Sparc is dead serious," President Jonathan Schwartz said in an e-mail interview. "I'm personally talking to leaders in the community. BSD, too."

Gumption. Now that's something I don't mind being associated with at all.

Tuesday Dec 06, 2005


A very special welcome to the new OpenSPARC community -- Sun Microsystems Launches OpenSPARC Project - Ignites New Open Source Community for Breakthrough UltraSPARC T1 Processor.

I've met a few of the SPARC guys recently, and I look forward to watching them build a community around their UltraSPARC T1 code. Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO, O'Reilly Media, comments in the Sun release:

"Sun's move to open up the design of the new UltraSPARC 64-bit chip is a new frontier for open source. We've long understood the benefits of openness and sharing for driving innovation and quality in software development, but it has yet to be tried for hardware design. While no one expects garage hackers doing their own chip fabs, there's no question that hardware designers can learn from each other's work as readily as software designers, and that design elements taken from one chip could more quickly advance the development of others. I'm hopeful that Sun's leadership in this area will encourage similar moves from other players."

Congrats, guys!


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