Feeds

Ex-Intel, Sun chip guru brewing multichip SPARC

More on secretive Sun acquisition

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Sun Microsystems has a closer connection to Afara Websystems, its most recent acquisition, than we realized last week.

One of Afara's co-founders is Les Kohn, one of the designers of Intel's i860 and i960 RISC chips, NatSemi's 320xx Swordfish and the UltraSPARC-I.

The secretive start-up won't say what it's doing, but announcing the news last week Sun's VP of microprocessors and network products David Yen said that it was a SPARC licensee and would be unveiling "highly innovative" boxes quite soon.

The Silicon Valley rumor mill suggests that Afara has built a multi-chip, multi-processor SPARC chip for its new networking box.

This is an approach apparently adopted by almost all the network processor vendors, but Afara's will be distinguished by being the only high-end SPARC-based offering. Which makes it fairly unique. T.sqware (which was acquired by Globespan a couple of years ago) built a low-end SPARC derivative called SPARClet, which hasn't been seen since. (All Globespan Viridana's current processors appear to be ARM based).

"A multi-chip, multi-processor SPARC may not win any SPEC benchmarks, but it would likely do very well in both price/performance and power/performance comparisons in things like server blades," a Valley mole tell us.

Kohn worked for Intel from 1982 to 1989. Between leaving Sun in 1994 and starting Afara, Kohn was chief architect at C-Cube, designing digital video compression chips.

We left a message with the great man, but strongly suspect that we won't be hearing back. You don't get to wear the "secretive start-up" mantle by blabbing to the likes of us. ®

Related Story

Debian boost as Sun buys SPARC edge start-up

New hybrid storage solutions

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.