Sun, Fujitsu Release New SPARC Enterprise T5440 Server for Midrange Computing

Power management, fast performance, and energy efficiency top benefits of server based on UltraSPARC T2 Plus chip

Sun Microsystems and Fujitsu Limited today released the new SPARC Enterprise T5440 server. In a combined statement, the companies said the server delivers “the scalability and reliability of traditional midrange systems with the breakthrough performance and radical energy efficiency of the UltraSPARC T2 Plus architecture.”

Sun says competitive systems (such as those from IBM and HP) can cost up to five times as much or deliver just one-quarter of the performance of the new T5440. The new server, which uses the Solaris 10 Operating System enables enterprises to consolidate midrange applications or use virtualization to get the most from the compact 4U system, reducing energy consumption and operating costs. The upgradeable chip multi-threaded (CMT) server can handle up to four processors and 32 cores (for a total of 256 threads) and can use up to 512 GB of memory, all within a 4RU enclosure, Nancy Riley, Group Manager of volume SPARC systems at Sun Microsystems, Inc.told Enterprise Strategies.

The system’s power management features are available at both the processor’s core and memory levels, allowing companies to “reduce instruction issue rates, park idle threads, disable cores and turn off clocks, which can reduce power consumption up to 35 percent,” according to Sun. Other energy-saving features include Intelligent Fan Control (IFC) that can adjust rotational fan speed based on temperature changes. Sun points out that “running fans at lower speeds saves significant amounts of energy and also reduces noise and vibration which helps extend component life.” The redesigned power distribution subsystem uses high-efficiency digital regulators can further reduce energy use compared to previous analog designs.

Open source virtualization software is included in the form of Solaris Containers and Logical Domains (LDoms). Riley said many companies will find the T5440 is a good choice for consolidating existing enterprise-class workloads onto a single, more efficient server, especially since the pricing is “up to 80 percent5 times less than competitive systems.” Tom Donnelly, product manager for enterprise solutions at Fujitsu Computer Systems agreed, noting that consolidation should be attractive to IT, especially for enterprises that are hitting the physical limits of their data center. Donnelly said scalability and the built-in hypervisor were other appealing reasons to upgrade or expand capacity with the new T5440.

The operating system is backward compatible with Solaris 8 and 9 Containers, making it possible to run several Solaris 8 or 9 environments on a single system simultaneously and making it easier to move physical environments to virtual containers on Solaris 10. (Solaris 10 10/08 is expected at the end of the month and will improve virtualization performance and use an enhanced Solaris ZFS file system that improves data integrity.)

Sun claims the T5440 offers massive I/O performance and expandability; it can handle up to 10GB/s of I/O bandwidth. Adding an optional Sun External I/O Expansion unit can provide up to 28 x PCI-E slots.

Available now from Sun, Fujitsu, and their resellers, the SPARC Enterprise T5440 server is priced beginning at $44,995. Both companies are offering trade-in programs. More information is available at http://www.sun.com/T5440 and http://www.fujitsu.com/sparcenterprise.

About the Author

James E. Powell is the former editorial director of Enterprise Strategies (esj.com).