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Sun and Fujitsu to release 256-thread (M)onster

'M' is for mainframe

Warning Go

Exclusive Longtime mainframe hater Sun Microsystems has borrowed big iron rhetoric to pitch its upcoming line of midrange and high-end servers built with Fujitsu.

The Register can reveal in an exclusive that Sun next week plans to announce the M4000/M5000 midrange boxes and the M8000/M9000 high-end systems that will make up its “Olympus” systems based on Fujitsu's SPARC64 VI processor. Sun will also rebrand its UltraSPARC T1-based Sun Fire T1000/T2000 systems as simply the T1000 and T2000 servers. Sun has yet to provide a more exact ship date for the Olympus gear other than the first half of this year.

While digging around for the Olympus kit, we also happened to discover the names for Sun's upcoming Niagara II-based boxes. The systems - formerly code-named “Michigan” and “Huron” - will ship as the SPARC Enterprise T5120, T5220, T5140 and T5240 servers. We presume the 5100 series kit will be 1U, while the 5200 series will take up 2U of rack space. In addition, the product names would seem to indicate that Sun plans to ship a broader line of Niagara boxes with the second version of its chip, due out in the third quarter, since there are four boxes as opposed to today's two Niagara I-based servers. Likely more disks, memory and such.

Turning back to the new Olympus systems, we find Sun bragging that the M9000 will support up to 24 hardware partitions and scale up to 64-sockets. That's 128 cores of SPARC64 fire power and 256 software threads. On the low-end, the M4000 starts at two sockets.

Sun and Fujitsu will offer 2.15GHz to 2.4GHz versions of the SPARC64 chip.

The companies plan to sell a so-called I/O Expansion Unit to go with the flashy new gear. This system will provide up to 12 extra I/O slots.

Not surprisingly, Sun has poached Fujitsu's mainframe quality marketing around the SPARC64 chip. Our insiders claim that Sun will be banging on about the chip's mainframe reliability with features such as instruction retry and processing unit and register data protection. The high-end M8000 and M9000 boxes will also be fully serviceable on-the-fly.

Those of you in search of more detailed specs will be happy to hear the M4000 ships with up to four SPARC64 chips running at 2.15GHz, supports up to 128GB of memory, takes up 6U of rack space, holds two SAS disks and has four PCI-E and one PCI-X slot. The 10U M5000 will ship with up to 8 chips running at 2.15GHz, support 256GB of memory, hold four SAS disks and sports 8 PCI-E and 2 PCI-X slots.

Meanwhile, the M8000 will ship with up to 16 chips running between 2.28GHz and 2.4GHz. The box supports 16 partitions, 512GB of memory, 16 SAS disks, a partridge and a pear tree, and 32 PCI-E slots.

There are two flavors of the M9000 – one with 32 chips (2.28GHz – 2.4GHz) and one with 64 chips. The smaller system has 256 DIMM slots, 32 disks, 64 PCI-E slots and support for 24 partitions. The larger system has 512 DIMM slots, 64 disks, 128 PCI-E slots and support for 24 partitions.

Very serious metal.

This gear will go up against Itanium-based servers from HP and Power5/6-based gear from IBM. No pricing was available from our birdies at this time.

We'd like to thank Sun's blogging army for help with this story. ®

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