Sun doubles up on sockets in Niagara server line

Sun Microsystems Inc. is doubling up on sockets in its Niagara servers, making it possible for two T2 UltraSparc processors to work in tandem.

The two chips create, in effect, a symmetrical multiprocessing (SMP) system in which the two separate processors share memory and other system resources, according to Mat Keep, a product manager for Sun’s Niagara Systems line.

Sun created a derivative of the T2 chip for sharing cache that it calls the T2 Plus. Unchanged by the move is the number of cores and threads in the chip; each has eight cores with eight threads per core.

Keep said the dual socket capability will allow the Niagara servers to take on bigger workloads, such as ERP systems.

Although Sun has touted the capability of its Niagara systems over x86 systems, the company still needs to expand interest in its UltraSparc line beyond the Sun faithful and peel off customers from IBM or Hewlett-Packard Co., said Charles King, an analyst at Pund-IT Inc., in Hayward, Calif.

“If I am a dedicated Sun customer and I buy into the multiple threading technology, then more is better, and this could be very attractive technology,” said King.

Sun also released two new servers that start in price at just under US$15,000: the SPARC Enterprise T5140 and T5240.

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