UC Berkeley RAMP Update

We recently got an update on progress of UC Berkeley’s Research Accelerator for Multiple Processors (RAMP) project. SI has been a sponsor of this project, led by SPARC pioneer Prof. Dave Patterson and his team. Our sponsorship included providing RAMP a free membership in SI and access to our testing suites. The RAMP research effort into more efficient multi-core processor programming and management is perfectly aligned with SI’s goals.

Zhangxi Tan from the RAMP team wrote that the RAMP gold SPARC processor is up on hardware and running real applications. The RAMP gold system will play an important role in research conducted at the newly founded Parallel Computing Lab (http://parlab.eecs.berkeley.edu).

Congrats to the entire RAMP team from all of us at SI!


SPARC International Trademarks

One of SPARC International’s activities is the worldwide registration and licensing of SPARC-related trademarks.  SI and its partners use a wide variety of SPARC marks, and SI works hard to protect and defend them all from possible infringement.

Some of SI’s best known trademarks include SPARC, OpenSPARC, UltraSPARC, and SPARC Enterprise, but the number of SPARC-related names that SI manages is in fact much broader.  The SPARC brand and trademark is global — SI’s SPARC-related marks are registered in every major territory.

If you’re an SI member, we will work with you to ensure that your SPARC-based products are properly branded and protected.

If you are not an SI member and are considering use of any mark that bears any resemblance (even phonetically) to SPARC or “spark,” it would be prudent to contact SI to ensure there is not a conflict.  We are very active in protecting all of our marks.

For more information, take a look at SI’s trademark page:


SI Membership Renewals Due

It’s that time of year again – SI’s annual membership renewals are due.

Most partners have already sent in their renewals.  If you’re an SI member and have not yet received your 2008-2009 invoice, please let us know.

If you’re interested in membership in SI, here are the types of membership available:

1) Executive Membership (held by Fujitsu and Sun) — entitles member
to sit on SI’s Board, participate in the quarterly Board meetings, and
thus have a say in SPARC International’s direction; also gives access
to SPARC testing and certification services; Executive Membership is
$100,000 per year

2) Associate Membership (held by most companies developing and selling
SPARC-related products and services) — entitles member to SPARC
testing and certification services; $20,000 per year

3) Regular Membership (mostly held by hardware resellers and
universities) — entitles member to use SPARC membership logo; $1,500
per year

If you have any questions about SI membership, get in touch with me at morgan@sparc.org

New SPARC servers

Lots of talk in IT these days about the new SPARC processors coming out from major vendors like Sun and Fujitsu in the fall and winter. It looks like we’ll have a few new exciting choices in the SPARC lineups with greater processing power, even more threads, better performance, and lower energy usage. Essentially, it sounds as if the new products will be extending SPARC’s advantages in these areas even further. Exciting times to be in the SPARC market!

Sun’s Vision and the SPARC Market

Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle had an interesting article on Sun, and one line struck me:

“[Sun is] gaining ground in new markets…with a bold vision of lower-cost enterprise computing based on energy-efficient hardware, innovative data storage and open source software.”

That is perhaps the best distillation of the SPARC advantage in the enterprise market that I have seen, and SPARC International is delighted to be a partner with Sun in executing this vision.

Next generation SPARC Enterprise servers launched

Sun and Fujitsu are SPARC International’s two founding executive members. Both companies have been very active and successful recently in the enterprise market with their SPARC Enterprise server lines.

In case you missed it, Sun and Fujitsu jointly announced new, next-generation SPARC enterprise servers. These new servers offer up to 80 percent faster performance on commercial applications and use even less energy than the prior SPARC Enterprise servers. This is saying something since SPARC servers have delivered superior speed and energy ratings since their release, plus they continue SPARC’s legacy of ultra high reliability.

I’ve included the press release below, or you can view it at Sun’s site here.


Sun Microsystems and Fujitsu Unveil Next-Generation SPARC Enterprise Servers

New Quad-Core SPARC64-Based Servers Deliver up to 80 Percent Performance Increase, Provide Massive Scalability, Consolidation and Virtualization for Enterprise and HPC Applications

TOKYO, SANTA CLARA, CA July 14, 2008 Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ: JAVA) and Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) today announced an enhanced line of SPARC Enterprise servers – M4000, M5000, M8000 and M9000 — that delivers a highly scalable, enterprise-class virtualization and consolidation platform with up to 80 percent better performance on commercial applications and 2x better performance on HPC workloads and using 44 percent less energy per core. Based on the quad-core SPARC64 VII processor and the Solaris Operating System (OS), the new SPARC Enterprise servers are ideal platforms for high-availability, mission-critical enterprise applications including large-scale databases, BIDW, ERP and CRM. The new processor is also available as an option for seamless upgrades in existing SPARC Enterprise servers.

Sun & Fujitsu Collaboration

Watch the Video

“The new SPARC Enterprise systems up the ante on performance and deliver the flexibility to address the most demanding enterprise workloads,” said John Fowler, executive vice president, Systems Group, Sun Microsystems. “Today, we’re freeing customers from the constraints of the mainframe with open systems that deliver the scalability, consolidation and virtualization they want along with long-term investment protection features that can future-proof their datacenters.”

“The SPARC Enterprise servers advanced to a new stage with the SPARC64 VII processor, which provides spectacular performance, reliability and eco-efficiency and benefits from Fujitsu’s unparalleled mainframe heritage,” said Tatsuo Tomita, corporate senior executive vice president and a board member at Fujitsu. “We are confident that the SPARC64 VII processor which powers the world’s most scalable and flexible systems, not only protects but also increases the value of our customer’s investments.”

New Servers Provide Massive Scalability and Virtualization with Investment Protection

The SPARC Enterprise servers announced today build on the existing systems co-designed by Sun and Fujitsu and extend long-term customer investment protection through binary compatibility, industry leading hardware and software partitioning and the ultra-flexible “mix and match” SPARC64 processor architecture. These SPARC Enterprise servers are the only systems on the market with the ability to mix SPARC64 VI and VII processors in a single domain, enabling customers to increase performance – without downtime and without requiring other hardware changes. Customers can also minimize upgrade costs by using the new SPARC64 VII option in current SPARC Enterprise servers.

With the addition of the new quad-core SPARC64 VII processor, the SPARC Enterprise servers also offer unmatched scalability in a single symmetric multi-processor system (SMP) system – from 16 to 256 cores. The SPARC64 VII processor also delivers the RAS functions of SPARC64 VI, including hardware instruction retry, dynamic degradation and parity-protected processor registers, to maintain the levels of performance and reliability needed in mission-critical systems.

The new processor consumes 44 percent less energy per core than the SPARC64 VI chip, enabling customers to consolidate and minimize energy consumption. Leveraging built-in hardware partitioning features and Solaris Containers, the new SPARC Enterprise servers form an ultra-high density environment that provides exceptional virtualization capabilities. As a result, customers can increase system utilization by supporting larger application workloads and services on their existing infrastructure, while controlling operating costs and reducing environmental impact.

More information on the SPARC Enterprise server line is available at http://sun.com/servers or http://sun.com/sparcenterprise and http://www.fujitsu.com/sparcenterprise/.

SPARC Enterprise Systems Best The Competition

  • The SPARC Enterprise M9000 server running Solaris 10 OS, the SAP ERP application Release 6.0 and Oracle Database 10g achieved a world record result on the SAP Sales and Distribution (SD) Standard Application Benchmark by achieving 39,100 SD Benchmark users. The SPARC Enterprise M9000 server result beats the IBM Power 595 POWER6 server with 35,400 SD Benchmark users by 10.5% and outperforms the HP Integrity Superdome SD64B with 30,000 SD Benchmark users by 30.3%, as well as demonstrates the ability to run both the application and database software in the highly scalable and reliable way.[1]
  • The SPARC Enterprise M9000 server, based on SPARC64 VII processors, and using Sun Studio 12 software with Solaris 10 OS delivers a score of 2.023 TFLOPS on the Linpack’s Highly Parallel Computing benchmark. The SPARC Enterprise M9000 outperforms the IBM Power 595 POWER6 by nearly 2X and beats the HP Integrity Superdome system by 2.7X.[2]

For additional information on Sun and Fujitsu’s leading benchmarks please visit: http://www.sun.com/servers/sparcenterprise/benchmarks/index.html and http://www.fujitsu.com/global/services/computing/server/sparcenterprise/key-reports/benchmarks/.

Customers Tout the SPARC Enterprise Servers

SPARC Enterprise customers span the globe and industries including HPC, financial services, retail and Web 2.0. Customers include: China Mobile Communications Corporation, CIMB Group, Core Services, HPCVL, Qualcomm, SuccessFactors and Weight Watchers International.

Product Availability and Services

The new SPARC Enterprise systems are available immediately directly from Sun and Fujitsu and their authorized resellers. Continuing to provide investment protection for customers, the SPARC64 VII processors will also be available as upgrades for existing systems. For more information visit: http://www.sun.com/tradeins/offerings/sse/index.jsp and http://www.fujitsu.com/sparcenterprise.

Sun and Fujitsu also provide a full suite of services to help customers maximize their infrastructure investments. More information is available at http://www.sun.com/service and http://www.fujitsu.com/.

Both Fujitsu-branded and Sun-branded SPARC Enterprise servers will be marketed worldwide. All features are identical.

Introduction to SPARC International

Welcome to the new SPARC International blog for SPARC-related news, updates, and commentary.

This is Morgan Slain, Chief Executive Officer of SPARC International.

SPARC International was created in 1989 as an independent, non-profit organization to oversee and guide the SPARC evolution. Our IP consists of the SPARC Instruction Set Architecture, SPARC trademarks, and SPARC derivative trademarks. The organization is funded entirely by our members in support of SPARC architecture and its Open Standards technology.

SPARC International fosters innovation of SPARC by offering testing and branding programs, and, by promoting and protecting SPARC and SPARC-related brand names. The organization maintains this openly and cooperatively defined technology by using its membership fees to ensure that SPARC maintains continuity with the industry standards of binary compatibility. It is this organizations sole responsibility to clarify these definitions which are made available for free download from our web site. You do not have to be a member to download. However, becoming a member provides your company the choice to test and brand products based on the SPARC architecture.

Today, SPARC is one of the foundation architectures in the computer industry with SPARC trademarks registered in over 160 countries worldwide. SPARC architecture proved to be the most widely accepted technology for systems in the financial, academic, industrial, mission critical, and certainly the Internet market. SPARC is the logical choice for demanding, embedded applications simply because SPARC development environments streamlined the creation of complex designs on short time lines. With more than two million developers and over 30,000 applications, the SPARC community ranks among the world’s largest while SPARC definitions continuously demonstrate the exceptional versatility of this open architecture.

We encourage inquiries from college professors and university students learning the SPARC architecture definitions.

If you are interested in becoming a member of SPARC International and would like more information regarding the benefits of membership please direct your inquiries to sparcinfo@sparc.org.