Sun Launches Open-Source Effort With Sparc Processor

In a bid to show it's no laggard when it comes to supporting open source, Sun Microsystems is launching a new salvo -- the release of specifications of its latest

December 7, 2005

2 Min Read
Network Computing logo

In a bid to show it's no laggard when it comes to supporting open source, Sun Microsystems is launching a new salvo -- the release of specifications of its latest 8-core processor, the UltraSPARC T1.

Sun chairman and CEO Scott McNealy launched the OpenSparc Project, where it will release into the public domain key specifications for the T1, code-named Niagra, which Sun unveiled last month. McNealy disclosed the open-source plan at a press and analyst event in New York, where Sun launched its first servers, based on the new UltraSparc T1 platform.

Does that mean an AMD or Intel could end up developing a non-Solaris derivative of the Sparc platform?

"Wouldn't that be cool?" McNealy asked. On a more serious note, he said if open-source software efforts have helped spur innovation, why not try it with hardware?

"There's eight cores [in the T1 platform] that maybe someone wants to do something bigger or smaller or whatever," McNealy said. "You don't know where it's going to go, that's the beauty of it."McNealy is probably hoping that a start-up will develop technology that it can ultimately acquire, said Joe Clabby, vice president and practice director at Summit Strategies.

"You can only take stuff so far with the R&D resources you have inside," Clabby said. "If you open it up to others with different architectures, it opens up so many more possibilities."

The main event was the launch of the new T1-based servers. Both the T1000 and T2000 are rack-based multicore, multithreaded servers based on the 9.6-Ghz processor. The T2000, which starts at about $8,000, is available immediately, while the $3,000 T1000 will ship next quarter. The T1000, a 1.75-inch server, supports up to 32 threads using the company's new CoolThreads technology, and is suited for caching, e-mail, streaming media, Web-serving Java application servers, security and business integration.

The 3.5-inch T2000 servers, which are also better for transaction-oriented applications, such those provided by BEA Systems, Oracle and SAP, were widely anticipated and comes just one quarter after Sun unveiled its dual core Opteron based Galaxy servers.

Symantec chairman and CEO John Thompson was present at the event to tout the new platform's built-in hardware-based encryption. Oracle president Charles Phillips also came on stage to announce a new licensing model for its software based on a .25 processor factor. A T1-based 8 core system will count as two processors, Phillips said.Oracle had been long criticized for its hard line on CPU licensing for multicore systems.

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like


More Insights