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Ashlee Vance

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Dell

Are Dell's Energy Smart servers really smart at all?

A couple of years ago, Dell launched a new line of so-called Energy Smart servers. They were billed as modified versions of the company's standard PowerEdge systems, which cost a bit more up front but helped customers save more money over the long haul by reducing power consumption. But, we wondered, how smart were the Energy …
Ashlee Vance, 19 Jun 2008
Sun

Sun shrinks Constellation for HPC run

Sun Microsystems has suffered from a hate-hate relationship with the supercomputing world over the past few years. The shift to Linux clusters caught the company totally off guard, and resulted in Sun vanishing from the Top500 supercomputers list. That's hardly the "right" position for a company that prides itself on selling …
Ashlee Vance, 18 Jun 2008
cable

Start-up outfoxes Apple, Dell and HP by offering stock options with PCs

God bless Silicon Valley. Where else will you find a PC start-up offering stock options to create faux communities? Earlier this week, we brought word of CherryPal, an intriguing Mountain View-based company that wants to do nothing less than rewire the PC market. It's got a 10 ounce "desktop," which runs on a low-power Freescale …
Ashlee Vance, 18 Jun 2008
channel

ClearSpeed's silicon freshness results in 41 Teraflop rack

Cheaper and faster - check. ClearSpeed has hit the two major keys to winning in the silicon game with the release of its latest floating point accelerators. The fresh CSX700 family of products offer more than double the raw performance of the previous CSX600 gear. At 192 cores, you get twice as many engines for handling floating …
Ashlee Vance, 18 Jun 2008
Google

Google keeps killing penguins for money

Comment On the grand list of things that Google cares about killing penguins to save a few bucks ranks higher than making the world a greener place. Google, like so many other companies, has given Mother Earth the big squeeze in a variety of ways. Some of its buildings run on solar power. Employees ride company-provided buses to work. …
Ashlee Vance, 17 Jun 2008
Teddy bear

CherryPal out sweetens Apple with 2W, ultra-cheap PC

Here’s how you to get to CherryPal. Gather up all of the hot technology buzzwords – cloud computing, going green, communities – and mush them together into something about the size of sandwich. CherryPal has unveiled a device that’s billed as a cloud computer. Don’t be intimidated by the name. We’re just talking about a PC that …
Ashlee Vance, 17 Jun 2008

Nvidia blows out Moore’s Law with fresh Tesla

Nvidia pitches its Tesla hardware as a magical solution for the world’s toughest computing problems. Just move your code that runs well across many processors over to the Tesla boards, and Shazam!. You enjoy sometimes 400 per cent improvements in overall performance. Despite such mind-blowing increases in horsepower, Tesla …
Ashlee Vance, 16 Jun 2008
fingers pointing at man

HP dishes 24 hour party people blade

When HP talks about "blade everything", it means freaking everything. The hardware maker has pumped out a blade server running its NonStop operating system and software of all things. The NonStop NB50000c BladeSystem will fail to shock loyal HP customers. We spotted the server on HP roadmaps almost a year ago. HP has been …
Ashlee Vance, 16 Jun 2008
The Register breaking news

Bill Gates cried to make the world a better place

Radio Reg Is there a connection between an alleged coke-addicted CEO with a prostitute lair and open source? You bet there is - on Open Season. Episode 18 of our fine show kicked off with a look at ex-Broadcom chief Henry Nicholas and his current travails with the legal system. If you've yet to hear about this story, you're in for a treat …
Ashlee Vance, 13 Jun 2008

IBM traps Captain Planet in a container

IBM wants to save the world one modularized data center at a time. Some folks talk about helping Mother Earth by planting trees and performing deep soil massages on their front lawns. But not server makers. They talk about greening up the world by packing as many pieces of hardware, power supplies and air conditioning units as …
Ashlee Vance, 13 Jun 2008
globalisation

Scalent strokes physical to virtual to whatever you like play

Start-ups in the systems management arena tend to scare us. They promise the world and usually deliver a rundown village mired in a drought. But every now and then, a company like Scalent Systems pops up that actually seems capable of performing a practical task. Scalent this week released Version 2.5 of its V/OE (Virtual …
Ashlee Vance, 12 Jun 2008
Redhat logo

Red Hat cancels one-click world domination effort

We called Red Hat on Monday to address speculation that its RHX (Red Hat Exchange) program was about to go tits-up. Red Hat responded to the concerns today with a blog post. Tits-up? Puhlease! - goes the blog post. The Red Hat Exchange is alive and well, only in a modified form. Gone are Red Hat's hopes and dreams of attaching, …
Ashlee Vance, 11 Jun 2008

IBM's Power6 slaughters world+HP in transaction cranking

When IBM started rolling out 5.0GHz versions of Power6, you knew it was only a matter of time before the vendor tried to usurp HP as the transaction performance king. And now it has done it. IBM this week cleared a new TPC-C score that certifies its Power 595 server as the big daddy of transactions. Running on 32 of the dual- …
Ashlee Vance, 11 Jun 2008
Sun

Fujitsu gives Solaris x86 the big squeeze

Sun Microsystems has firmed up Fujitsu as a Solaris reseller on x86 boxes, which leaves us wondering when HP will break and join the rest of the crowd. Sun this week announced the deal with Fujitsu Siemens, which will see Solaris offered as an option on some Xeon-based Primergy servers. Fujitsu joins other Tier 1 server vendors …
Ashlee Vance, 11 Jun 2008

Fellow from AMD ridicules Cell as accelerator weakling

IBM's Cell chip will struggle to woo server customers looking to turbo charge certain applications because the part has a fundamental design flaw, according to AMD fellow and acceleration chief Chuck Moore. Sure, sure. Cell is a multimedia throughput dynamo and its SPEs (Synergistic Processing Elements) are just lovely. "But …
Ashlee Vance, 06 Jun 2008

Microprocessors are the new cigarettes

Chip companies need to start acting their age, according to a sage analyst. Chris Danely, director of semiconductor research at JP Morgan, thinks the major semiconductor players should behave more like old-line companies in the tobacco, food and oil games. He'd like to see the chip firms manage their cash better and reward …
Ashlee Vance, 06 Jun 2008
cloud

IBM fills chips with water

Oh, those crazy kids at IBM's Zürich lab. They can't get enough of processor cooling technology. Two years ago, IBM announced a breakthrough with carving channels into chips to let thermal paste sink down nearer the silicon. Then, in 2007, IBM Zürich patted itself on the back for cutting more channels into the cooling unit. Now …
Ashlee Vance, 05 Jun 2008
Microsoft

Gates threatens to buy millions and millions of servers for Microsoft

Say what you will about Bill Gates. The man is consistent. Gates' farewell speech at this week's TechEd conference closed out his full-time role at Microsoft with the usual thud. The man has a gift for stating the obvious and detailing what's to come when it's already here. This time around, Gates went after The Cloud. And how …
Ashlee Vance, 04 Jun 2008
globalisation

AMD manages to ship 'Budapest' for single socket boxes

AMD's four-core chip aimed at single socket servers has finally made its way to market. The company today heralded the release of "Budapest." The chip will fit into single processor servers from the usual suspects and be sold under the 1300 Series brand. AMD once looked to get Budapest out "in the second half of 2007," but here …
Ashlee Vance, 03 Jun 2008

Sun's sales stud defects to HP

Sun Microsystems has performed a sales shakeup in a bid to add some new life to its server business. The company today tapped Peter Ryan as its sales and services chief. Ryan replaces Don Grantham, who was seen as quite the star at Sun. In addition, Sun has created a new Emerging Markets "sales geography," which will be tasked …
Ashlee Vance, 03 Jun 2008
cloud

Welcome to Las Vegas - Home of the technology superpower you've never heard of

Exclusive Drive a couple of blocks past the Loose Caboose and the Carburetor Shop on E. Sahara Avenue in Las Vegas, and you'll find one of the world's leading technology companies. The name of the company - Switch Communications - will go unrecognized by almost all of you. That's because it has operated in near total secrecy for the last …
Ashlee Vance, 24 May 2008
channel

Google and Microsoft have nothing on - drum roll - the SuperNAP

Exclusive $500m. That's the going rate for a data smelter these days. You know, a facility run by a company such as Google or Microsoft that moves bits around and consumes more power than old-school metal processing plants. Most companies in need of such horsepower go out of their way to build the computing centers in cities with cheap …
Ashlee Vance, 24 May 2008
cable

IBM and Dell lick their lips as Microsoft and Google buy billions in gear

Radio Reg Voracious buyers such as Yahoo!, Microsoft and Amazon represent a niche in the server market - a very lucrative niche. So, we've seen companies such as IBM and Dell come out recently with gear aimed right at the service provider set. Episode 17 of Semi-Coherent Computing takes a look at the "white box killer" hardware available …
Ashlee Vance, 22 May 2008

HP confesses love for Citrix with mobile thin client

Like a good partner, HP has rolled out some thin client/virtual desktop bits and pieces this week to complement Citrix's Synergy conference taking place in Houston. HP issued a massive press release to back up what's a relatively short set of announcements. For one, the company is shipping a new mobile thin client device called …
Ashlee Vance, 19 May 2008
The Register breaking news

Open source zealots fill with venom

Radio Reg Some pundits out there think you can't get rich off open source software. Well, that's just not true. As evidence, we bring you Mike Olson, the former CEO of Sleepycat Software who milked Oracle for millions. You can see Mike here, although he doesn't actually work for Oracle anymore. These days he's eating burritos filled with …
Ashlee Vance, 19 May 2008
The Register breaking news

Privacy? Forget it. Sell your brain and desires to the highest bidder

Comment All around us the toasters are getting smarter. Sadly, we don't seem to be keeping up with the program. We remain poor schlubs. In the good old days, a toaster was just a toaster. It warmed bread and issued the odd electrocution. Tomorrow's toaster, however, brings with it a new set of functions that travel well beyond bread. …
Ashlee Vance, 18 May 2008

AMD cries foul over Intel's 'river of cash' flowing to Dell

AMD vs Intel It's document season in the ongoing anti-trust lawsuit between AMD and Intel. Last week, the companies fought over witness testimony and earlier this week a judge told Intel to fork over some documents related to interviews done as the company tried to deal with its deletion of e-mails possibly related to the case at hand. Now, …
Ashlee Vance, 16 May 2008

Apple will please missile makers by backing PA Semi's chip

Exclusive Apple will indeed support PA Semi's line of PowerPC-based processors, The Register has learned. PA Semi's staff has started notifying a limited set of customers that the company's existing dual-core processor will enjoy long-term support. Apple will employ a number of old PA Semi staffers just for this task, which is good news …
Ashlee Vance, 16 May 2008

IBM's Cell blade boosted by memory and floating point gains

IBM's Cell attack will gain some added muscle next month thanks to a new blade server. The system will run on a refreshed version of the Cell chip that includes better support for mathematical calculations and memory. As a result, the Cell-based blades could tempt a larger set of customers. The QS22 blade serves as a follow on …
Ashlee Vance, 13 May 2008
Broken CD with wrench

Part II: How a pair of American spies created the Soviet Silicon Valley

Radio Reg Based on the rather insane number of messages I've received over the last couple of weeks, you guys really, really wanted part two of our interview with Steve Usdin, author of Engineering Communism. Well, here it is. Episode 16 of Semi-Coherent Computing picks up where we last left off with the tale of two Americans who became …
Ashlee Vance, 09 May 2008
Dell

Dell squeezes cloud into a shipping container

Exclusive Sun Microsystems endured a lot of ribbing when it first popped out a data center in a shipping container. Now, however, it looks like all the majors are heading in that direction, including Dell, which The Register has learned has a containerized data center in development. "We have (a container system) in the works for a …
Ashlee Vance, 09 May 2008
Nasa teaser logo

NASA confirms manned mission to 10 Petaflops

Well, well, well. It would seem that the 20,000-core supercomputer announced yesterday by NASA will just be the first course in an ongoing relationship between the space folk, SGI and Intel. The three organizations have revealed a project dubbed Pleiades that will see them build Petaflop-class machines in the coming years. NASA …
Ashlee Vance, 07 May 2008

Dell issues virtualization wonder box despite AMD

As long promised, Dell has gone hog wild with virtualization. The company today dished out a couple of new boxes geared toward running VMware and Citrix's virtualization wares, tuned its iSCSI storage gear for virtual servers and produced a couple new services bobs as well. The real show-stopper here is probably the R805 server …
Ashlee Vance, 07 May 2008

Citrix's XenDesktop can fly you to the moon

There are a few software makers out there who are excited about desktop virtualization - damned excited. And sometimes that excitement takes us into rather confusing territory where jubilation overpowers technical reality. Confused? Yeah, e were too when Citrix announced XenDesktop last month. The company told us flat out that …
Ashlee Vance, 07 May 2008
Nasa teaser logo

NASA ditches Itanic for new Xeon-based SGI giant

NASA has once again turned to SGI for a massive supercomputer. The two organizations announced today that SGI will build a whopping 20,480-core system for NASA Ames in Mountain View, California. The giant will run on four-core versions of Intel's Xeon chip and should reach peak performance of 245 Teraflops, which would make it …
Ashlee Vance, 06 May 2008

Intel wants to own the weather prediction business

Interview The conventional wisdom - whatever that is worth - pegs Intel EVP Sean Maloney as the company's successor to CEO Paul Otellini. That's great news for technology hacks because, man, this Maloney guy is quite a bit more open about his personal life and feelings than Otellini. One need only look at this piece in the Times to see …
Ashlee Vance, 06 May 2008
The Register breaking news

Open source software is murder

Radio Reg In Russia, they say the only way to untold software riches is to partner with Microsoft. Or at least that's what Microsoft's Russian operatives are telling people these days. Open Season intrepid correspondent Matt Asay just returned from the land of Mayakovsky and Emma Goldman - a beer spills in Silicon Valley for these giants …
Ashlee Vance, 02 May 2008

Intel sales chief promises Atom bombing

Intel's sales and marketing boss Sean Maloney has vowed to fix the Atom mobile processor supply issues - only he won't commit to a time line. It's still very early days for the Atom chip that's going into so-called NetTop and NetBook computers, along with other consumer electronics devices. Vendors who like to live on the …
Ashlee Vance, 02 May 2008
Sun

Sun cushions slumping Q3 with layoffs

A rather humbled Sun Microsystems blamed waning US technology spending for its third quarter loss. Sun's third quarter revenue dipped half a per cent to $3.283bn, as the company struggled to close large deals in the US. The slow quarter pushed Sun back to red ink with the vendor posting a $34m loss, which compares to a $67m …
Ashlee Vance, 01 May 2008

Stanford grabs $6m to shape the future of software

Stanford University has mounted some gun turrets to its Ivory Towers. Just a few weeks after rival UC Berkeley revealed a mega-funding engagement with Microsoft and Intel around multi-threaded software, Stanford has returned fire by grabbing money from just about every other vendor on the planet with interest in improving code …
Ashlee Vance, 30 Apr 2008
arrow pointing up

KVM funder takes a swing at desktop virtualization

Qumranet, a rather small software company, wants to make a very large play in the virtualization market with a new product. It's looking for Solid ICE to go up against the desktop virtulization wares from VMware, Citrix, Microsoft and a host of start-ups. Those of you in the open source kingdom will know Qumranet best as the …
Ashlee Vance, 30 Apr 2008

Dell busts out appliance baby for OEMs

Dell has an interesting side gig going where it makes appliance-like gear for OEMs. This week it rounded out the appliance play via a new low-end server that's of particular interest because it's small enough to fit into telco racks. We give you the CR100, which is about as basic as a box can get. While 1U high, the system only …
Ashlee Vance, 29 Apr 2008
Sun

11-year-old Sun mascot beats up NetApp

Having been worked over by the rise of Linux servers, Sun Microsystems wants to capitalize on what it sees as the next major "open systems" movement. The company believes that storage systems - or more specifically storage software - will transition to favor lower-cost, less proprietary plays. Sun this week took what feels like …
Ashlee Vance, 29 Apr 2008
Intel logo teaser

Intel lands Cray

Intel has busted into Cray, securing a deal with the high performance computing specialist to slot Xeon processors in future systems. Cray's latest line of hardware remains centered around AMD's Opteron processors. But now Intel will join the fold, starting in the 2010ish time frame when Cray releases a new line of hardware …
Ashlee Vance, 28 Apr 2008
Ubuntu teaser

Ubuntu man says Microsoft's about to 'swallow a hand-grenade'

Interview Well, here I am just a few miles from Yahoo!' headquarters and Microsoft's Silicon Valley residence. It's Sunday, and I've yet to hear screams from either camp. So, it seems that Microsoft's call to action deadline around the Yahoo! buy is passing with a lack of fanfare. Yahoo! may surprise us yet by leaking something to the New …
Ashlee Vance, 27 Apr 2008

Build a 14.5 watt data center in a shoebox

Those supercomputing guys love to build their massive data centers full of hardware and high-end cooling systems. They make you feel like a real man or at least a real geek, which is important. Folks with smaller egos and perhaps smaller hands might consider building a tinier, more energy-friendly supercomputer. Consider this …
Ashlee Vance, 27 Apr 2008
channel

And now it's time for Data Warehouses as a Service

Poor old Teradata - the data warehouse kingpin and lord over real-time global toaster inventory information. First it gets attacked by a host of data warehouse appliance makers, trying to undercut it on price. And now it's being hit by buzzword-based business models from those firing up DaaS (data warehouse as a service) systems …
Ashlee Vance, 27 Apr 2008

Apple gets into mine-sweeping, missiles and storage

Apple CEO Steve Jobs may need to order up a camouflage version of that infamous mock turtleneck. His company bought chip start-up PA Semi this week - a move which results in Apple inheriting a business that stretches from storage systems to missiles. PA Semi's version of the PowerPC processor became popular for such an eclectic …
Ashlee Vance, 25 Apr 2008
cable

Server makers snub whalesong for serious windmill abuse

Car companies have the decency to prop sexy models on top of their gas-guzzling hardware to make it more appealing. The server set does not afford us the same courtesy. As you all know, it's become the rage to talk about how green your data center gear is. Companies like to hype up how their servers reduce carbon emissions and …
Ashlee Vance, 25 Apr 2008
Sun

Sun buys low-power x86 disaster Montalvo

Exclusive Sun Microsystems has bought chip start-up Montalvo Systems for an undisclosed sum. A notice seen by The Register states that Sun "has acquired the technology assets" of the chip company, which has been working on a low-power x86 processor design. The Montalvo crew and IP will slot into Sun's Microelectronics business unit. "We …
Ashlee Vance, 24 Apr 2008