UltraSPARC Getting ‘Thought’-ful

SAN FRANCISCO — Sun Microsystems Tuesday said its five-year strategy for its SPARC and UltraSPARC processors will improve its servers by leaps and bounds.

As part of its “Throughput Computing” strategy, the improvements to the 64-bit processors are based technology Sun acquired from Afara Websystems last year.

Within two years, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun said it plans to create processors that will increase its blade server throughput 15-fold. Beyond 2005, Sun intends to ship system processors that will increase throughput by a factor of 30. The chips are currently being produced on the 130nm process. Sun executive vice president, processor and network products David Yen said the UltraSPARC IV will be produced on the 90nm process.

To help the chips handle the heavier loads, Sun is initiating what it calls “Throughput” in its processors. The idea is to combine chip multithreading to allow a single processor to execute tens of threads simultaneously. Sun estimates early versions could handle some 32 threads with future models reaching triple digits.

“Technologists and CXOs are seeking cost-effective ways to improve the security, service level and efficient operations of their companies, while benefiting from the latest innovations in technology. Sun continues to address those issues as the computing paradigm grows more complex,” said Sun CTO Papadopoulos.

Papadopoulos also said Sun is working on adapting its servers use logical partitioning technology. The project (code-named Kevlar) is expected to compete with similar offerings from IBM or Hewlett-Packard .

Currently, Sun uses Texas Instruments to build its UltraSPARC line. Sun said that relationship is not expected to change.

The roadmap is part of the company’s Worldwide Analyst Conference here. Earlier in the day Sun Executive Vice President Jonathan Schwartz said the company will base all of its software on its Solaris, Solaris for x86 and Linux platforms and offer a single distribution venue with three licensing models under its new “Project Orion,” starting this June.

On Monday, Sun said it will begin using AMD in some of its blade servers.

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