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Server specs: Sun continues OpenSparc push

Sun pushes OpenSparc initiative; Ardence updates OS and application streaming software.

Sun continues OpenSparc push

OpenSparc, Sun Microsystems Inc.'s initiative to rally support around the UltraSparc T1 chip by releasing its architecture to the open source community, has seen 3,500 downloads since starting last year, according to Sun. The company is giving away software tools to help developers create derivatives of the chip.

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Open source communities are usually formed around software, though there are examples of vendors sharing the architecture of their processors. IBM has that is meant to build support for its Power processors, which are part of its System p and System i machines. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) has a Torrenza program that aims to encourage other companies to build coprocessors to improve performance of AMD's Opteron chip.

An Italian company, called Simply RISC, has created a single-core derivative of the eight-core UltraSparc chip that is meant for mobile devices, such as PDAs and digital cameras. Tom Kucharvy, president of Boston-based research firm Summit Strategies Inc., said he doesn't anticipate many UltraSparc derivatives outside of the embedded space.

The company also announced today that another Linux distribution, called Gentoo Linux, will support the UltraSparc T1 processor on the T1000 and T2000, and has an install CD to help users with the process. Earlier this year, another Linux distribution called Ubuntu became available on Sun's UltraSparc T1 processor-based servers. It was Ubuntu's first jump into the server market.

Ardence updates OS and application streaming software

Ardence Inc. has updated its operating system (OS) and application streaming software to include a Linux and Windows reboot and personalities that can be injected into servers to let them deviate from a common image. The feature allows a certain level of uniqueness to each server using a common image, much in the same way different people in an office environment have similar software on their desktop computers but have settings that allow them to send documents to local printers.

The Waltham, Mass.-based company allows users to provision their servers depending on what workloads are busy for that moment. For example, one of Ardence's customers,, is able to stream its OS and applications over the network to its blade servers. When traffic is heavy to its Web site, it can provision servers with the OS and applications that deal with Web-facing traffic. At other times, those same blades can be used for billing or payroll applications.

The software supports applications on Linux and Windows platforms. New features of Ardence 4.0 include:

  • Allowing a common software image for different hardware types
  • Blocking data to or from USB ports
  • Redesigning of the system administration
  • The software costs $600 per server and is available this week.

    Hoffman releases server and network equipment cabinets

    Hoffman has new cabinets meant to hold LAN and WAN equipment, as well as servers and telephone equipment. The Akona, Minn., company said the cabinets are made of heavy gauge steel that can protect the equipment inside from impact and the effects of heat.

    It said the cabinets have more cabling space on the side panels and a thermal design meant to dissipate heat from networking equipment quickly.

    Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Mark Fontecchio, News Writer

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