72-way Sun enterprise server makes debut

72-way Sun enterprise server makes debut

Sun Microsystems Inc. this week announced a 72-way flagship server that can scale up to 106 CPUs if needed.

The Sun Fire 15K, code-named Starcat during development, can hold 18 hot-swappable CPU boards, each with four 900-MHz UltraSparc III RISC processors, said Shahin Khan, Sun's vice president of marketing. The boards are interchangeable with those of other servers in the Sun Fire line. Together, the 18 I/O hubs, each with four PCI connections, provide 43-gigabyte/sec bandwidth, Khan said.

Users can replace all but one of the I/O hubs with dual-CPU boards to boost the processor count to 106, sales specialist Kevin Ambrose said. The minimum configuration is 24 processors.

Sun plans to boost the processor clock speed to 1.8 GHz, Khan said. Beginning with the 900-MHz chip, the company has started to incorporate copper interconnects for better energy conduction than with conventional aluminum connections.

Current plans call for 1.05-GHz UltraSparc III CPUs early next year, Ambrose said. Each Sun Fire 15K cabinet will come with 500G of memory that eventually will be increased to 1T.

Users can partition the system into up to 18 virtual domains, which can be reconfigured while applications are running, Khan said. The three crossbar interconnects replace most internal buses.

The Sun Fire 15K costs $1.5 million to $3 million, depending on configuration.

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