New Sun SPARC Enterprise T5x40 servers for IBM WebSphere

While we were at the IBM Impact 2008 Conference last week, Sun announced another Chip Multi-Threading (CMT) technology based servers with the UltraSPARC-T2 Plus processor. Here's a blog about the announcement. You can also learn more about it on Sun CMT Wiki.

Many customers, who have migrated to Sun CMT servers in the past couple of years for their production environment (starting with T1000/T2000), benefit reduction in space, power, and cooling requirements while increase in system throughput and overall improvement in user experiences. Now, CMT servers get better with the US-T2 Plus processor.

So, just to recap on CMT:

  • UltraSPARC-T1 processor has 1 CPU, up to 8 Cores, 4 Threads per core -- Total of 32 Threads (e.g. T1000/T2000, etc.)
  • UltraSPARC-T2 processor has 1 CPU, up to 8 Cores, 8 Threads per core -- Total of 64 Threads (e.g. T5120/T5220, etc.)
  • UltraSPARC-T2 Plus has 2 CPU's, up to 8 Cores per CPU, 8 Threads per core -- Total of 128 Threads (e.g. T5140/T5240 on 1RU/2RU form factor!)
That's "servers on chip" requiring less power and dissipating less heat while providing very high compute density with high throughput (rather than following the rest of the crowd with higher clock speed HOT chips [Isn't Moore's Law outdated?]).

We have commented about this in the Redbook as follows: "Processors have been traditionally designed to provide a high degree of parallelism at the instruction level using a single hardware thread of execution. Such complex processors have been able to reach extremely high processing frequencies. However, these high clock rates have been achieved only with the unwanted side effects of additional power usage and decreased efficiency through excess generation of heat. What is more, the issue of memory latency causes the otherwise fast single-threaded processors to waste time in an idle state while they wait for memory to become available. Finally, given the type of demanding business workload requirements, applications have not been able to reap the benefits of parallel instructions; rather, they have had to rely on parallel threads of execution."

This is really a change industry. Read here why change is good.

What can we further comment? These CMT systems are great for multi-threaded application serving workloads like WebSphere. We have lots of successes with these systems for SPECjAppServer 2004 benchmarks as proof points (using Oracle on T5220 and T5240) and many successful customer deployments. That's because of highly scalable Solaris and fast Java performance (JDK 6). These systems produce amazing throughput with very small form factor (1 or 2 RU)!

Besides, you can also do virtualization with Logical Domains and Solaris Containers -- free of charge! And, there are many other features, such as:

that come with these new systems.

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