In pictures: The mixed fate of Sun tech under Oracle

From Java to SPARC, critical Sun technologies have lived on, been cut loose, or lost their luster in the four years since the Oracle acquisition

SPARC Sun’s RISC architecture, like other CPU platforms, has taken a back seat to Intel’s pervasive x86 CPU technology.

“SPARC suffered the fate of all architectures other than the X86,” says analyst Peter Christy of 451 Research. “As all systems moved to VLSI CPUs, the brutal economics of semiconductor prevailed -- [it] costs everyone about the same to design a CPU at any point in time, and then you have to amortize that design cost over production, so he with the highest volume wins.”

But SPARC lives on in multiple systems, including SPARC T4-1 servers for Web infrastructure and application development. Oracle says the SPARC T4 processor delivers a 5X increase in single-threaded performance over previous generations.

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