Sun Enhances High-End E10000 Server - InformationWeek
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12/2/1999
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Sun Enhances High-End E10000 Server

Sun Microsystems next week will unveil three new softwarefeatures for its biggest server that should make the system easier to manage and maintain. The E10000 server's new capabilities will let IS administrators double the amount of distinct workloads they run on a single system, create scripts to reconfigure the system, and network between workloads without going outside the system. These upgrades will be available free to existing customers and will be included on all new E10000 servers.

Sun will reveal that by February its 64-processor E10000 servers will support 16 domains. Domains are logical partitions inside a single box that groups processors to enable them to support separate workloads. The E10000 can support only up to 16 processor boards; previously, Sun could acknowledge up to only eight domains, because each domain required two processor boards to enable high availability in the data center. With the new software, each domain requires only one processor board, so 16 domains can be supported. Sun is offering this option because many customers care more about running as many workloads on a system as they can, usually for server consolidation reasons, than they value availability. "Customers run the gamut between those demanding nonstop systems to those who say, 'I can always reboot,'" says Jamie Enns, Sun's data center group product marketing manager. "It's how much it costs and what it's worth to the business."

Early next year, customers will also be able to take advantage of automated dynamic reconfiguration, which takes a lot of the complexity out of the system. Before, only expert Unix administrators could manually program changes to the configuration of the domains; typically they had to reconfigure a system to match system capacity to changing application workloads, as they happen. With ADR, expert administrators can write scripts ahead of time, based on if- then conditions; any system operator can unleash those scripts when necessary--to move additional processor capacity to a Web server when a Web site is being overwhelmed, for example.

Additionally, customers no longer have to go outside the system, hassling with input/output channels and network cards, to network between domains. Networking can take place inside the system on its backplane. Besides simplicity, customers will get better data throughput--115 Mbytes per second--on the backplane; this also frees up the network for all the other information it has to move. This feature is available immediately.

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