Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Sun Radically Shifts The Economics Of Availability

Sun Radically Shifts The Economics Of Availability With New Midframe Servers

New UltraSPARCTM III Technology-Based Sun FireTM Servers, Plus Software and Services, Deliver Mainframe-Class Capabilities at Midrange Prices

SYDNEY - AUSTRALIA - March 22, 2001 - In one of the largest technology unveilings in its history, Sun Microsystems, Inc., answers the "availability is everything" call by introducing the highly-anticipated Sun Fire servers.

The new systems redefine the profile of traditional midrange servers and challenge the conventional economics of uptime with prices that start below AUD$165,000 (ex. GST). With this new arsenal of systems, Sun increases the competitive pressure on HP, IBM and Compaq and is poised to widen its existing marketshare gap and capture more of the US$60 billion global server market.

Called "Midframe" servers because they incorporate features from the traditional mainframe - long known for robust features that made it highly reliable, but extremely expensive - the four new systems, available now, rewrite the rules for this class of system.

"We are in effect opening up a new segment in the market. We are offering mainframe punch with a midframe price tag. This is a serious challenge to IBM and HP," said Jim Hassell, Managing Director Sun Microsystems Australasia.

Extending Sun's current family of industry-leading systems, the new Sun Fire servers are designed to deliver unprecedented levels of system availability, real-world application performance, flexibility and investment protection in a server line. The new servers are the cornerstone of Sun's systems, software and new availability environment that will help customers take advantage of the economic benefits of the worldwide build out of the Internet infrastructure.

The foundation for these Midframe systems is breakthrough technology and a next-generation, balanced system design that delivers mainframe-class functionality. Design innovations such as redundant component interconnection technology, the ability to dynamically split one system into multiple systems, duplicate hardware components, and "on-the-fly" processor upgrades - once unheard of in this class of system - are standard features. At their core are the award-winning UltraSPARC III processor, Sun's third-generation 64-bit chip, and industry-leading Solaris 8 Operating Environment.

"This is not future tense, we can offer this product here and now. Demand is huge in Australia - we have already pre-sold four servers. Our customers have been asking us to harness the benefits of the E10,000 high-end servers in a midframe package - with Sun Fire we do just this," said John Fennell, National Product Sales Manager, Australasia.

Scott McNealy, Sun Microsystems chairman and CEO said, "After a year in which IBM and HP threw everything they could at us, including old products with new names and new products with "super" names, we still took marketshare away from them. This time we're tearing into what those re-branded mainframe makers thought was their safe haven - continuous up time, round-the-clock availability, and investment protection - and bringing it to customers who understand the value of a dollar."

The Difference is Uptime

The Sun Fire servers include several innovations - new to this class of system - designed to deliver a balanced array of performance measures tuned to the needs of network computing along with superior levels of availability.

"Quite simply these systems from the middle of Sun's product range are superior to the high-end offerings from IBM and HP. Neither IBM or HP can touch the Sun Fire servers in terms of system availability and manageability features, ISV enthusiasm, and system performance," said Robert Becker, Product Sales Manager Enterprise Servers, Australasia.

At the core of the servers' unprecedented availability levels is the Sun Fireplane interconnection or backplane. This fully-redundant backplane - a design "first" for this class of system - enables fault-isolated partitioning and dynamic partitioning in a full production environment. This ability to split the computer into separate domains gives customers the ability to design midrange systems with unprecedented levels of security, fault tolerance, uptime and flexibility in accommodating system growth or varying service demands.

Its cable-free design gives the Sun Fireplane interconnect greater bandwidth for more predictable performance and lower latency, which results in higher application performance. At 9.6 GB/sec sustained performance, the Sun Fireplane interconnect offers nearly five times the throughput of IBM's P680 system.

The Sun Fire systems are the only servers in this new class to offer online upgradability, which further contributes to maximum uptime. "Hot" CPU upgrades, I/O and memory upgrades, and the ability to modify core components of the Solaris Operating Environment will create shorter maintenance windows, which lead to higher uptime and service levels. In addition, the systems allow for concurrent maintenance, enabling repairs while the system - and applications - are up and running. This is the equivalent of a car that can have its oil changed and engine tuned while running down the freeway at high speed.

As a complement to the redundant interconnect, all hardware components - from data and memory paths, system controller and power, to cooling and even the clock - are fully redundant, in effect delivering systems with no single point of hardware failure. Comparatively, if something as simple as the clock fails in a million-dollar HP Superdome or an IBM P680, the system dies.

The Sun servers also feature end-to-end ECC (error checking correction code) for parity checking on data, address and external cache.

The Sun Fire servers ship with Sun Management Centre software, a rich, powerful and efficient web-based management tool that provides a central point for managing and monitoring all aspects of Sun servers. In addition to increasing efficiency, Sun Management Centre software assists the customer by providing sophisticated system analysis, instrumentation and configuration management.

The Application Performance Leadership Champion of the Real World

A balanced system design and advances within the UltraSPARC III processor are central to the systems' outstanding and predictable performance. For example, the memory controller, usually a separate chip, is now integrated into the CPU, making the system inherently faster and more reliable. In addition, separate address and data paths on the interconnect dedicate bandwidth to data transfers, vastly speeding internal data handling, resulting in higher system performance.

The results of such advances are "industry bests" for real world business, technical and high performance computing applications, including: a new world-record benchmark for Oracle Applications; a new industry record for PeopleSoft Financials; industry-leading JavaTM application performance on the SPECjbb 2000 benchmark.

Unparalleled Investment Protection

Like the successful Sun Enterprise mid-range servers, all of the Sun Fire systems share a common system architecture and have interchangeable components - from system boards to power supplies - a design innovation still unmatched in the industry. This common component approach gives customers the ability to redistribute capacity across different servers for flexible and efficient utilisation of resources, while providing unparalleled investment protection.

Sun extends this investment protection even further by allowing customers to upgrade from an 8-way Sun Fire 3800, for example, by simply moving all major components to a larger Sun Fire chassis.

Sun also offers a flexible array of acquisition options, including a "capacity on demand" purchase option and an aggressive trade-in and upgrade program. The systems' modular design assists customers as they upgrade to newer, higher-performance processing, I/O, networking and storage options. Further, the new Sun Fire servers provide support for mixed-speed CPUs, something HP's Superdome or IBM's P680 cannot.

Unlike migration migraines faced by users signing up to transition to unproven Merced, McKinley or Monterey technologies, Sun continues to protect the investment of its installed base, not only maintaining the 100 percent binary compatibility for Solaris Operating Environment-based applications, but backing this up by offering an application guarantee with the Solaris 8 Operating Environment.

All Sun servers come standard with the Solaris Operating Environment. The systems are shipping today.

About Sun Microsystems, Inc. Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision -- The Network Is The ComputerTM -- has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW), to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that power the Internet and allow companies worldwide to take their businesses to the nth. With USD$19.2 billion in annual revenues, Sun can be found in more than 170 countries and on the World Wide Web at

© 2001 Sun Microsystems, Inc. All rights reserved. Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo, Sun Fire, Sun Fireplane, Solaris, Sun Enterprise, Java and The Network is the Computer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All SPARC trademarks are used under licenses and are trademarks or registered trademarks of SPARC International, Inc. in the United States and other countries. Products bearing SPARC trademarks are based upon an architecture developed by Sun Microsystems, Inc.

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Tiwai Point: Rio Tinto Announces Plans To Close Tiwai Point Smelter

Rio Tinto has just announced that it will wind down New Zealand Aluminium Smelters - the Tiwai Point smelter - saying the business is no longer viable. More>>


Freight: New Report On Auckland Port Relocation

The Government has released a major new report on the options for relocating the Port of Auckland’s freight operations while deferring any decision on the issue. More>>


Chartered Accountants: COVID-19 Fails To Knock Kiwi Investor Confidence, But More Disclosure Wanted

Three months of COVID-19 lockdown and investment turmoil has done little to knock confidence in New Zealand capital markets and listed companies with overall investor sentiment very similar to 2019, an investor survey held in mid June shows. However, ... More>>


Taxation: Black-Market Tobacco Sidesteps $287 Million In Excise Tax

Year-on-year increases in consumption of illicit tobacco in New Zealand have seen illegal trade swell to 11.5% of the total market. If consumed legally, illicit products would have netted the Government $287 million in excise tax during 2019. Independent ... More>>


Energy Sector: Meridian Spilled Water To Hike Electricity Prices - Authority Ruling

The Electricity Authority has found that generator Meridian Energy manipulated the power market, costing consumers about $80 million. More>>


XE Data Update: RBNZ Official Cash Rate Decision

The RBNZ will keep the Official Cash Rate (OCR) at 0.25%. T he key points in the RBNZ statement are: RBNZ keeps the OCR unchanged at 0.25% Maintain the LSAP (large scale asset purchase) at NZD$60 billion. Committee prepared to use additional monetary ... More>>


Electricity: Kiwis Ignore Promise Of Cheaper Power

Electric Kiwi and Flick Electric Co are joint winners of Canstar Blue’s award for Most Satisfied Customers | Electricity Providers From putting on an extra layer – rather than turning on a heater – to turning off lights and choosing the energy-saving ... More>>


Electricity: Transmission Pricing For A Low Carbon Future

The Electricity Authority has decided on new guidelines for transmission pricing. James Stevenson-Wallace, Chief Executive of the Electricity Authority says the new guidelines will deliver significant benefits to consumers, through lower electricity ... More>>


NIWA: The Climate Record That Keeps Getting Broken

Among the multitude of New Zealand climate statistics there is one record that continues to be broken month after month. Since January 2017 there has not been one month that recorded a below average nationwide temperature, according to NIWA’s seven station ... More>>


Govt: Extended Loan Scheme Keeps Business Afloat

Small businesses are getting greater certainty about access to finance with an extension to the interest-free cashflow loan scheme to the end of the year. The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme has already been extended once, to 24 July. Revenue and Small ... More>>


Science: 2019 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes Announced

The 2019 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes have been announced in a digital livestream event today. The Prizes recognise the impact of science on New Zealanders’ lives, celebrate the achievements of current scientists and encourage scientists of the ... More>>


RNZ: Fuel, Alcohol Costs To Go Up From Today

The increase today in the taxes on fuel, road user charges and alcohol is being called a tone-deaf move. More>>


Stardome Observatory: Young Kiwi Astro-Photographer Shoots For The Stars

Matariki by Josh Kirkley. The stars are aligning for up-and-coming Auckland-based astro-photographer Josh Kirkley (Kāi Tahu). During lockdown, one of his images was picked up by NASA and shared on the space agency’s Instagram to its 59.2 million ... More>>

DCANZ: Time For EU To Commit To A Level Playing Field For Trade

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) has welcomed New Zealand Trade Minister David Parker’s statement that it is unacceptable for New Zealand exporters to continue facing an ‘unlevel playing field’ in the EU. Details leaked ... More>>


Potatoes New Zealand: Protecting NZ Fries As Part Of PNZ Pandemic Recovery & Transformation Plan

Potatoes New Zealand has met with Minister Faafoi this week to discuss investigating the potential importation of heavily discounted frozen potato chips into New Zealand. With MBIE’s support we are undertaking an investigation to gather evidence of the ... More>>


New Zealand Government: Supporting Kiwi Businesses To Resolve Rent Disputes

The Government will legislate to ensure businesses that suffered as a result of the COVID-19 response will get help to resolve disputes over commercial rent issues, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today. More>>