Sun is coming out with the latest of its Opteron-based Galaxy servers, including its first system that will give the hardware maker a presence in the fastest growing and highly competitive blade space. At an event in San Francisco July 11, Sun officials will introduce not only the new Sun Blade 8000, but also another server that can scale to 16 processors and a system code-named Thumper that combines both server and storage capabilities in a single box. There’s even a slideshow.
Sun Puts Opteron Into Blades
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2006-07-11 8:20 pmormandj
Wall Street isn’t going to recognize anything until they do something that’s going to radically alter their destiny. I really do like Sun and their products, but right now they are competing against some pretty fierce companies, with products that (to businessmen/economists/accountants) look the same/close to the same of other companies. We technical folk might know differently, but technical folk generally don’t have much say in what gets bought. Maybe a suggestion here or there, but that’s about it.
Sun will have to do something pretty radical to get Wall Street to start banking in them. I doubt even open sourcing (with GPL3 or whatever) Java will make Wall Street budge on their stance. It’s going to take something a lot more innovative. Best of luck to Sun, I’m a shareholder, although I bought really really low, so even now I’ve already made out.
2006-07-12 6:05 ammario
Sun will have to do something pretty radical to get Wall Street to start banking in them. I doubt even open sourcing (with GPL3 or whatever) Java will make Wall Street budge on their stance. I
Wall Street i.e. the business community cares jack sh*t about GPL-ing software.
2006-07-12 6:26 amormandj
That was my point, did you not read my comment? Please pay attention especially to the part of my comment stating “I doubt even…”
Thanks for playing!
2006-07-12 7:41 ammario
I read your comment, and it wasn’t obvious that that was your point. It still isn’t so don’t be so hissy and touchy.
Where is it? I want a Niagra-based blade system! Data centers all over would die from pure bliss. Bring it on!
That machine is unlike anything existing on the market today. Lots of storage (and I mean, LOTS! more than most disk array setups on average) but it’s not just a disk array. Look, it’s a computer! There are applications that were asking just for this, strange noone thought of it before.
Edited 2006-07-12 06:09
2006-07-12 6:29 amormandj
Somebody did. That’s just one such company. There are thousands. I don’t believe they go quite as high as 24TB (Sun is doing the right thing…) but the idea has been around for a *long* time. What do you think mainframes were designed for? “Thumper” is nothing more than a mainframe minus a lot of processing power/ram, stuck in a small box. It’s the same philosophy, just a different target market. Don’t want to shell out $500k for a mainframe? Get the storage of a mainframe with the processing power of a mainframe from a few years ago, in a 4u box. Great *improvement* on a pre-existing product.
2006-07-12 4:27 pmArun
Somebody did. That’s just one such company. There are thousands. I don’t believe they go quite as high as 24TB (Sun is doing the right thing…) but the idea has been around for a *long* time. What do you think mainframes were designed for?
Most of the machines on supermicro’s site have 8 disks internal max. I am not really finding anything on that site that combines massive internal storage in a 4U package.
Sun’s E450 had 20 internal disks, so Sun has done a server with many disks in it which predates supermicro. Not something to this scale in a rack mount 4U.
BTW, I don’t think you understand mainframes. Thumper is not meant to replace mainframes and no admin would dream of replacing a mainframe with Thumper.
2006-07-12 5:46 pmormandj
You’re not understanding what I said. I simply said this is an *evolutionary* product, *not* a *revolutionary* product. It’s just an improvement on pre-existing ideas. They’ve taken what used to be a mainframe (massive storage, processing power, and memory), cut out the massive processing power/memory part (although it’s probably more powerful than a mainframe from half a decade back….), and left the DAS there. They’ve also taken what used to be a departmental/workgroup server, and simply scaled up the storage, and added good network connectivity. It’s just an evolution of products, scaled to fill another niche that needed filling.
I’m quite aware sun has done big machines. I used to work with an E20K at my old university. Yes, they had massive storage. At the same time, no – they were NOT small. Sure, the E450 came out before any of the supermicro stuff (which btw, was just a quick example off the top of my head, there are MANY chassis designers with chassises that can support a lot of disks. Not as many as the Sun system, but a lot nonetheless.) The E450 isn’t the same thing as “Thumper” or a Supermicro box (or any of the other chassis designer’s servers.) As you even stated, it wasn’t 4u.
As to the last statement you made, two things
#1 – I was not suggesting it replace mainframes. I was simply saying what I again have repeated. Thumper is nothing more than a mainframe minus a lot of the processing power/ram (and if you want to get technical, throughput, redundancy, etc..) It’s also nothing more than a scaled up in storage workgroup server. That isn’t something to sneeze at, I intend to pick up a lot of these as demand arises in my company. It’s an excellent solution to a lot of people’s problems (including mine) that doesn’t require me to build my own box. It is, however, still just an evolution on pre-existing products.
#2 – As to my understanding of mainframes:
David – Happily writing COBOL at this very moment, on MVS. Do you even know what ISPF is?
2006-07-12 11:02 pmfoobar
“What do you think mainframes were designed for? “Thumper” is nothing more than a mainframe minus a lot of processing power/ram, stuck in a small box. It’s the same philosophy, just a different target market. Don’t want to shell out $500k for a mainframe? Get the storage of a mainframe with the processing power of a mainframe from a few years ago, in a 4u box. Great *improvement* on a pre-existing product.”
“#2 – As to my understanding of mainframes:
I understand your point, but IBM mainframes do not have internal storage. They rely on a SAN. If you spent $500k on a mainframe, you wouldn’t have any disk or tape.
IBM did sell a mainframe with internal storage at one point, but it didn’t sell very well and they canned it.
IMO, thumper is more like a tradition, dedicated storage box than a mainframe. The difference is that Sun throws in the keys, and lets you run application code on it too. I.e. an IBM mega mouth, is just a cluster of POWER5 machines with a bunch of fibre channel disk in a frame, or two. Although a mega mouth is a little bigger, but it was the first thing that came to me:
2006-07-13 12:15 amormandj
I’ll certainly agree with you on that, it isn’t internal (inside the box) – in fact most of the data I work with is inside powderhorns (huge tape libraries). No argument on your point about internal storage. That’s kind of why I keep saying Thumper is like a mainframe-in-a-box, minus some cpu/bandwidth/memory. Generally when I speak of mainframes I’m speaking of the complete system, not just the one processing box/ram. SANs and all included. Sorry that I’ve not been clear enough.
Your example is certainly better (at least more clear) than mine. Thumper just screams “workgroup server” to me. I can’t think of a better device. It could easily handle the majority of the cpu/memory load for a relatively large workgroup, and has the disk space to accomodate almost any projects a workgroup might get up to. All in one 4u box. It’s a really great idea, I hope it pans out for Sun.
Whichever example you use, it’s still just an evolutionary change.
PS – Never read about IBM’s mega mouth system. I’ve been a huge anti-IBM guy since I’ve seen how they strongarm their mainframe customers into buying huge amounts of crap they really don’t need/want. Not to mention the crap departmental servers they keep trying to push – yuck. They’ve got some nice hardware, but as a company, they really are bleepity bleeps.
2006-07-13 2:09 amArun
I’ll certainly agree with you on that, it isn’t internal (inside the box) – in fact most of the data I work with is inside powderhorns (huge tape libraries). No argument on your point about internal storage. That’s kind of why I keep saying Thumper is like a mainframe-in-a-box, minus some cpu/bandwidth/memory.
So to recap your notion of mainframe in a box. It’s like a mainframe only it doesn’t have the cpu/bandwidth/memory. Also it has internal disks which mainframes don’t. How is it like a mainframe again.
Thumper is more a storage box with compute capabilities of a X4200. It is no more a mainframe in a box than an EMC storage box. An EMC storage box also fits your definition for thumper, so your definition is flawed.
If you are contending that by your strict definition, Thumper is evolutionary because it is a rack mount server with lots of disk. I can live with that.
Does anybody know the details on Thumper’s SATA controllers? I’ve looked around, but didn’t see much. I assume that they are LSI Logic chipsets, but I wonder if there are battery-backed-cache options. Assuming that the SATA II drives have the usual non-enterprise-SCSI deficiency where they “lie” about sync operations, it would be silly to have that many drives without such an option.
Otherwise, it looks like good kit.
I wouldn’t enjoy sliding the running computer out of the rack every time I needed to swap a drive though. If you left room above it to get the drives out, I wonder how much rack space you’d actually save.
2006-07-12 7:42 pmjamesd
You can find complete details of the architure including a picture at http://uadmin.blogspot.com/2006/07/are-you-twitterpated-yet.html
and a white paper that goes into the what chipsets and controllers are used in the x4500.
6x Marvell 88SX6081 SATA II Storage Controllers
for those that don’t want to follow the links, though you will miss all the sweet details as well. But lets just say no other x64 motherboard that you are going to find in a white box has 1/2 of the on board features of the x4500.
That’s some impressive arsenal of Opteron based products. Bechtolsheim does some pretty kick a$$ work and these deliver. 48-friggin’ drives / Opteron blades… SWEET!
I just wish Wall Street would recognize the hard work and fat-trimmin’ that Sun’s been doing lately. ::sigh::
In any event, keep up the great work, Sun!