Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 14th Nov 2008 21:38 UTC, submitted by pantheraleo
Oracle and SUN The world hasn't been kind to Sun for quite a while now, but with the economic downturn, things are getting worse. Sun announced today that it will be laying off 18% of its workforce, or about 6000 people. In addition, it was announced that Sun's software chief Rich Green has resigned for reasons that were not stated, although as part of Sun's reorganization and cost cutting efforts, many departments are being merged, and the software division is being restructured and reorganized.
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RE[5]: Sun performances...
by david87656 on Wed 19th Nov 2008 06:06 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Sun performances..."
david87656
Member since:
2008-09-03

I was recently at Sun and talked with one of the engineers there who explained some of the reasons Sun hardware is relatively fast. This was not a sales pitch, it was just two engineers talking. I'm a software engineer, so there are alot of hardware details that I don't fully understand, but the gist of his description makes sense.

1. Regardless of the chip architecture, Sun optimizes (synchronizes) the speed of all the components so that they are essentially clicking at the same time. There's very little synchronization loss. If you put components on a board, all purchased from different vendors, the synchronization loss is higher.

2. Niagra (Sparc, for that matter in general) is designed to get work done and not boast a high clock speed. That's why you still see alot of these boxes somehow doing very heavy loads. They were running, if I remember correctly, 200-300 thin clients on a couple of Niagra boxes. Try doing that on a Dell.

I think their model makes good sense, if you goal is performance to get work done. In the end, they are cost-effective, but not cheap.

But, we tend to be a walmart kind of society. If you see something that looks similar on the outside and costs 3-5 times as much you tend to be skeptical. But, if you talk to people who actually have implemented Niagra systems, who have the throughput to justify it, generally won't go back to Intel architectures for the really important stuff.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[6]: Sun performances...
by Kebabbert on Wed 19th Nov 2008 13:19 in reply to "RE[5]: Sun performances..."
Kebabbert Member since:
2007-07-27

Another point of keeping the clock frequency low, is that a CPU consumes power proportional to the square of the frequency, if my memory serves me correctly.

If you want to keep power consumption low, the most important factor is to keep the clock frequency low. Due to physical laws. And SUN is doing that.

Genius. Imagine the difficult constraints in a world of high frequency CPUs, when SUN was constructing the new family of CPUs: Fast AND low power consumption. How do you combine that? Fast and low power, at the same time?

Well, due to physical laws, you have to keep the frequency down. Ok, lets do that. How do we get speed, if we need low frequency? Many core with virtually no cache misses (an intel x86 server idles 50% under full load due to cache misses, Niagara almost never idles). Do that and you get... Niagara! The key point is "never idle waiting for cache misses". Everyone has multi cores, but the faster the CPU, the higher the latency with a cache miss. IBM Power6 at 4.7 GHz must have the worst penalty upon cache miss, of all existing CPUs due to their high frequency. That is the reason Power6 are comparatively slow. To crank up the frequency is the wrong way to go, this was apparent long time ago. IBM hasnt realised it yet.

Reply Parent Score: 2