Intel's Pentium 4 and Xeon and IBM's Power4 processors already are able to simultaneously execute multiple sequences of instructions on the same processor. Sun says it has built its multithreading technology into the core of the UltraSparc processor.
Using this chip multithreading technology, Sun plans to offer within two years blade processors that can perform 15 times faster than today's UltraSparc IIi blade processor. Looking beyond 2005, the company plans to ship processors that can provide up to 30 times the system performance available today on the new UltraSparc III Cu.
One analyst says the attention Sun has garnered from its various processor and software announcements this week are a good sign, although the company has been careful in recent months to hedge its bets on Sparc and Solaris by revealing Intel-based products that run Linux. "There's no silver bullet for Sun," says John Enck, a Gartner VP and research director. "It's going to be very difficult for Sun to win new customers on the Sparc and Solaris architecture."