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Lamont Wood
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Sun/Fujitsu Offer A Server They Call "The Mainframe For The Rest Of Us"

At the upper range of the SMB server price range, the $15,000 SPARC Enterprise M3000 server amounts to an entry-level machine for Solaris usersone with some interesting features.

At the upper range of the SMB server price range, the $15,000 SPARC Enterprise M3000 server amounts to an entry-level machine for Solaris usersone with some interesting features.The long-standing Sun-Fujitsu partnership as given rise to another server, in this case a rack-mounted quad-core 2.52 gigahertz SPARC64 VII machine running Sun's Solaris 10 operating system. Touted as an entry-level unit, it is "entry-level" mostly from the perspective of an enterprise running big-iron Solaris servers, which wants an entry-level unit for development or for multi-tier application deployments.

But for the money (actually $14,795) you get some RAS (reliability, availability and serviceability) features usually associated with big iron: error-correcting code (ECC) memory covering 32 gigabytes, instruction-level retry and automatic recovery so little glitches won't cause a hang-up, fault isolation, and ECC protection for the L2 cache.

The 2U 49-pound unit also has two cooling zones and an autonomous nine-stage fan for maximum cooling with minimum noise. Speaking of noise, it's rated at 47 decibels, or a little less than halfway between urban background noise (40 decibels) and face-to-face conversation (60 decibels.) It is said to draw about half the power of systems based on the previous-generation entry-level Sun processor, the UltraSPARC IIIi.

Another aspect of the entry-level concept with the SPARC Enterprise M3000 server is that it has only one socket. Other entrants in the SPARC Enterprise line use the same quad-core SPARC64 VII (or dual-core SPARC64 VI) processorbut more of them, in multiple sockets. The M4000 uses four, the M5000 uses eight, the M8000 uses 16, and the M9000 uses 64. The M9000 is touted as being able to support nearly 40,000 SAP users.

For someone interested in a server for a LAN in a Windows-dominated office, this latest entry-level Sun-Fujitsu machine is, of course, overkill. The machine is aimed at multi-user database applications, like ERP or CRM, running on Solaris. But look for its RAS features to be showing up in smaller machines in the foreseeable future.

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