Sun adds muscle to Niagara server line

Sun Microsystems has doubled the capacity of its Niagara servers with the four-socket Sparc Enterprise T5440 system.

The Sun SPARC Enterprise T5440 Server

The Sun SPARC Enterprise T5440 Server

Sun Microsystems has doubled the capacity of its Niagara servers with the four-socket Sparc Enterprise T5440 system, designed for running corporate databases and ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications.

The server houses up to four of Sun's UltraSparc T2 Plus processors, up from two in the previous model, and expands the main memory to a maximum 512G bytes. Each processor has eight cores that can each run eight computing threads, or sets of software instructions, simultaneously. The servers are also sold by Sun partner Fujitsu.

Sun has positioned earlier Niagara servers primarily for network-facing applications or Web-tier work, but the newer machines are powerful enough to run large OLTP (online transaction processing) databases and packaged software from the likes of Oracle and SAP, said Rick Hetherington, the CTO of Sun's Microelectronics Group.

"I wouldn't recommend this for a Web server, it would be a little bit of an overkill," he said.

The support for larger memory configurations also makes the T5440 good for virtualization and server consolidation, Hetherington said. The machines come standard with Sun's Solaris 10 OS and its Solaris Containers and Logical Domains virtualization software.

At US$45,000, the entry price is almost three times that of the two-socket T5420 launched in April. Sun said that's because the base configuration of the T5440 is more powerful and qualifies it as a "midrange" server. It includes two 1.2GHz T2 Plus processors, 32G bytes of memory and two 146G byte hard disks.

Sun has taken a different track from competitors with its processor designs. The T2 keeps the clockspeed low -- a maximum of 1.4GHz per core, compared with 5GHz for IBM's Power6 -- but can process more threads simultaneously and includes on-chip memory controllers to keep the threads filled with data.

IBM refreshed its own Unix server line last week, and Sun and IBM both claimed to give the best performance and power efficiency. Dan Olds, principle analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group, said it depends how the servers will be used.

"Customers need to test these systems on a workload-by-workload basis," he said. "There aren't many general rules of thumb here. It's going to vary by what you are doing and the application."

The Niagara servers seem to be doing well for Sun, which has otherwise lost share in the server market. Sun said its revenue from Niagara systems increased 84 percent in the year ending June 30, accounting for $1.1 billion in business.

Jean Bozman, a research vice president with IDC, said one advantage of the T2 systems is that they can run applications that were developed for earlier Sparc servers. "That's good news for customers," she said.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?