When Oracle acquired Sun last year, it did so for things like the Java platform and the Solaris operating system, not servers running on Intel's x86 architecture. In fact, even though Sun thought it could become a major seller of x86 servers prior to the buyout, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison now says that the company makes next to no money on them and plans to start phasing x86-based servers out entirely in 2012 favor of more profitable Solaris/SPARC-based hardware.
Sun and Fujitsu on Tuesday unveiled an upgraded SPARC Enterprise M3000 server the two companies claims will help customers consolidate multiple entry-level servers into a compatc 2U chassis, resulting in space and energy savings.
"Launched just overa year ago, the Sun SPARC Enterprise M3000 server with the Solaris Operating System has been a tremendous success with our customers," said John Fowlwer, executive vice president, Systems Group, Sun Microsystems. "With this latest release, Sun continues to deliver improved performance and value for customers. From the single processor M3000 to the high-end 64-processor M9000, SPARC and Solaris is the strategic business choice."
The upgraded server packs a new 2.75GHz SPARC64 VII processor and, according to Sun, includes many of the same mission-critical features as the mid- and hi-end SPARC64-based machines. Equipped with the new processor and faster system memory, Sun says performance is improved to tune of 23 percent than the previous generation.
Marking the first significant update to the SPARC line since 2007, Sun Microsystems and Fujitsu are updating their jointly developed line of servers with the SPARC64 VII. Sun and Fujitsu look to position the new processor to compete against IBM's Power processor and Intel's Itanium chip. To help them do that, SPARC64 VII will boast four cores clocked at 2.4GHz or 2.5GHz, with each core sporting two instructional threads for a total of eight per chip, and 6MB of L2 cache. SPARC64 VII will also see a die shrink from 90nm to 65nm.
With an estimated $4 billion to go around in the high-end Unix business, Sun has struggled against IBM and HP, and has had to cut employees in an attempt to offset some of the losses. Even so, Sun and Fujitsu will revamp several of their systems to support the quad-core SPARC VII, including two midrange, rack-mount systems -- the M4000 and the M5000 -- both of which support up to four and eight dual- or quad-core processors respectively. Starting price of the M4000 with a quad-core SPARC VII will check in at just under $35,000.