Government users are among the first to buy Sun's mainframe-class Starfires

Sun Microsystems Inc. has reported selling more than 500 Ultra Enterprise Starfire
systems since the first Starfire came out in March 1997.


One government intelligence site alone bought about 20 Starfire systems, a Sun
Microsystems Federal official said.


The intelligence users snapped up the air-cooled Starfires for data centers as well as
high-performance technical computing applications such as signal and image processing
apps, said Joanne Heider of Sun Microsystems Federal’s high-performance computing
division.


The shared-memory, mainframe-class Starfires run SunSoft Solaris on 16 to 64 336-MHz
UltraSparc II processors linked by a 12.8-gigabyte/sec point-to-point Gigaplane-XB
crossbar interconnect.


The E10000 Starfire’s 64G of RAM and 64 input-output slots are “expandable in
all dimensions,” Heider said. Size is constrained “only by what you can get
through a door and onto an elevator.”


Sun has sold the Starfire configurations for an average of $1.2 million apiece, not
counting storage and service costs.


The company holds a four-year contract to build a
30-trillion-floating-point-operations-per-second Starfire for the Energy Department’s
Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative Pathforward Program.


Heider said Sun’s revenues from the Starfire assets of the Cray Business Systems
Division were more in the first year than the total revenue of Cray Research Inc. when Sun
bought the assets from Silicon Graphics Inc.


Contact Sun Microsystems Federal at 703-204-4100. 

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