As for the Sparc-based server line, some see Cray selling this to Sun, we wrote when news broke that Silicon Graphics Inc was to acquire Cray Research Inc (CI No 2,860). Yes indeed: Sun Microsystems Inc on Friday said it had a letter of intent to acquire the Sparc- and Solaris-related assets of Cray for […]
As for the Sparc-based server line, some see Cray selling this to Sun, we wrote when news broke that Silicon Graphics Inc was to acquire Cray Research Inc (CI No 2,860). Yes indeed: Sun Microsystems Inc on Friday said it had a letter of intent to acquire the Sparc- and Solaris-related assets of Cray for an undisclosed sum. The Cray Business Systems Division designs and manufactures the CS6400 enterprise server, which scales to 64 processors, runs Solaris and is binary-compatible with Sun’s previous generation of SuperSparc-based SparcServer 1000 and SparcCenter 2000 enterprise servers which use the Xerox Corp-designed XDBus. Sun admits Cray’s implementation of XDBus and other high-end software and hardware techniques in the CS6400 deliver up to four times the scaling and throughput of its own 20-way SparcCenter 2000. Sun says it’ll be able to improve the scaling and I/O of its 64-bit UltraSparc and is particularly attracted to Cray’s domain partitioning software which allows users to run production and test systems in one environment or provide failover by replicating domains. Presumably it’ll offer the software alongside other Solaris extensions for enterprise users it gets from Amdahl Corp, an OEM of both Sun and Cray servers. Sun also gets software developed for the CS6400s by the company’s CraySoft unit, including the Network Queuing Environment client/server batch management and network load balancing software which some of its units is already reselling. As well as the technology Sun picks up Cray’s installed base – Sun claims there are 100 marquee CS6400 users – Cray puts the number closer to 60. Following Sun’s 64-bit UltraSparc server roll-out Cray had been due to reveal its own implementation of UltraSparc in a next-generation XFire line, claiming the things would be three times a powerful as Sun’s Ultra Enterprise line, but they got caught in the crossfire as SGI sought a buyer for the unit. They’ll be the same GigaPlane bus as the Sun servers. The 200-person Business Systems division, with locations in San Diego, California, and Beaverton, Oregon, will report into Sun’s Enterprise Server and Storage products under John Shoemaker. It’ll live alongside fault-tolerant Sparc house Integrated Micro Products Plc which Sun picked up last month. Cray got into the Sparc SuperServers business when it bought most of the assets of bankrupt Floating Point Systems Inc back in 1991. Cray claims Sun was not the only bidder for the group. SGI is now deciding which other pieces of Cray it can offload; first under consideration is the company’s San Antonio, Texas-based Cray Solutions integration unit, an Oracle shop which Cray picked up a couple of years ago.