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Sun Launches New Supercomputer Business Unit

Seeing a need for more sophisticated supercomputers, Sun Microsystems Friday shifted its product structure and created a new High Performance and Technical Computing (HPTC) business unit.

Led by vice president Shahin Khan, the group pulls together Sun's HPTC products -- such as its Sun Fire line -- as well as programs and investments across all of its divisions, including software, services, sales, storage and computer systems products. "In many cases, the HPTC market has been a leading indicator for future business-computing requirements," said Khan. "Sun's current heavy investments in research and development will continue to be a driving force in this sector."

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based network computer maker said it was making the changes to better compete with areas that are native to supercomputers and High Performance Computing such as 64-bit systems, parallel computing, hierarchical storage management, data visualization, grid computing.

The product line will include:

  • 64-bit desktop Sun Blade workstations.
  • Entry-level Sun Fire servers and blade servers that can be clustered.
  • High-end SMP Sun Fire servers that scale up to 106 CPUs.
  • High performance storage technologies and HPC SAN solutions.
  • Software offerings, including Sun HPC ClusterTools and Sun ONE Grid Engine software.
  • Sun Fire Link optical interconnects that allow for Terascale computing.
  • Products based on Sun's new Sun Fire V880z visualization server.
  • Technologies like interval arithmetic for complex numerical problems.
  • Entry-level systems and support based on the Linux platform.

"From the Sun Fire V880z visualization server, which I consider the hottest graphics system on the market today, to Sun's HPC Storage Area Network technologies and its Sun ONE Grid Engine software, Sun has the broadest set of offerings for the HPTC market," said Khan. "In addition, other foundation technologies such as Project JXTA or chip multithreading promise to provide not just high performance but also high productivity to Sun customers."

But competition in the supercomputing sector is fierce with major players like IBM , Cray , SGI and Hewlett-Packard all gunning for projects.

The latest Top 500 list shows that 18 percent of the organizations -- in a range of commercial and technical industries -- base their systems on Sun hardware and software.

Sun claims it is gaining momentum, however. While IBM and HP lost more than 30 systems each on the latest listing in November 2002, Sun says it has more than doubled its presence, surpassing SGI and moving up from fourth position to third.