Sun opens 'compute ranch' for new UltraSparc designs


Sun opens 'compute ranch' for new UltraSparc designs

Sun Microsystems has opened a research centre dedicated to developing new designs for its UltraSparc processors. The "compute ranch", as Sun calls it, will feature more than 7,500 UltraSparc nodes running batch jobs 24 hours a day.

The centre allows Sun to manage the complex number of calculations needed to simulate the interactions of millions of transistors on future UltraSparc chips.

On a typical day, Sun's hardware designers submit about 140,000 jobs to the network, which would require about 15 years to process on a single processor.

Sun has chosen to use its own products throughout the centre, including Sun servers, workstations, network storage products and Sun Ray desktops. The grid also runs Sun's Solaris operating system.

Grid computing allows individual tasks to be broken down into thousands of independent parts, which are allocated across a network of processors by software that seeks out unused processors. The tasks are then reassembled and delivered back to the user.

Most grid-computing environments are used for heavy computational work that requires a great deal of processor power, such as financial modelling or geographic mapping for oil or gas companies.

The centre is Sun's third compute ranch. The company also operates grids in Sunnyvale, California, and Austin, Texas. Sun's forthcoming UltraSparc IIIi and UltraSparc IV are the primary projects under development.

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