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Azul to fire up 48-core Java chip in 2007

Take that, Sun

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Azul Systems has launched a preemptive multi-core strike against larger server vendors. The Java processing specialist today revealed plans to ship a 48-core chip in 2007.

Jumping the gun? Yes, a bit.

Start-ups, however, want all the attention they can get, so Azul hit the streets with word of Vega 2. This chip will be designed by Azul and produced by TSMC using a 90nm process. With 48 cores and a relatively low-power design, Vega 2 should give customers some serious price/performance gains with J2EE applications.

"The Vega 2 processor integrates 48 cores and consists of 812m transistors to enable future generations of Azul Compute Appliances to scale up to 768-way symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) systems with up to 768 GBytes of memory," Azul said.

Current Azul boxes run on a 24-core Vega processor. This leads to an appliances that pack up to 384 cores in an 11U unit with 256GB of memory. All told, the Azul Compute Appliance 3840 eats up 2,700 watts of electricity.

The boxes, however, aren't cheap. They start at about $100,000 and run up past $500,000.

Azul has maintained that customers save money by going with its appliances as they're able to buy fewer systems to run their Java applications. The company has specialized software for handling tasks such as garbage collection that give it an edge over Unix and x86 hardware. Sadly, the company has been reluctant to publish many benchmarks to back up its performance claims.

Earlier this month, Azul sued Sun Microsystems in what it characterized as a move meant to head off a lawsuit from Sun over intellectual property claims around Azul's technology.

Azul should receive credit for pushing multi-core technology ahead of the competition and focusing on performance per watt concerns early on.®

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