by June 30, 2004 0 comments

The highest-end offerings from Sun are called throughput-computing systems. These are based on Sun?s UltraSPARC III and IV processors, and the key feature of the architecture is the Sun Fireplane Interconnect. This is what allows the systems to provide very high performance levels. The Interconnect is a 18X8 crossbar switch, which provides separate address, data and response paths. These paths ensure that data flows between the memory, I/O and the processor without any contention. The Interconnect has the ability to transfer data at 172 GB per sec, plus there?s redundancy built in, which increases the fault tolerance and up time.

The Fireplane Interconnect?s capabilities also allow the server to scale up the number of processors and memory easily without compromising on performance. For instance, the Sun Fire 15K server can support up to 106 UltraSPARC III Cu processors in a single SMP (Symmetric Multiprocessing) server. It can handle more than half Terabyte of memory in a single domain. A domain is one instance of the OS (Sun Solaris), which uses its own set of processors, memory and I/O controllers. Moreover, you can have multiple domains running within the same system. The concept of multiple domains running on one system is useful when you?re doing server consolidation. ?

Further, each domain can run a different application, and remain isolated from other domains. This is required because if the application crashes in this domain, it shouldn?t affect the remaining domains. Moreover, all domains are dynamically configurable, which means that you can add, remove or reconfigure the system resources on the fly for each domain. ?

Another element of the architecture is, of course, the processor. In these systems, the processor is combined with the
crossbar to create a parallel bus architecture. This allows multiple processors to access 32 bytes of data at the same time. Normally, processor bus architectures are serial in nature, which allow
only a single processor access at a time. Finally, the Interconnect is capable of taking mixed speed CPUs. This means that you can put processors running at different clock speeds in the system, and the slower processor won?t force the faster processor to run at a slower speed. ?

Fire 15K at accor Hotels

With 3,700 hotels spread across 90 countries, the Accor hotels group has to handle 20,000 reservations a day. There are many requirements from the server to handle this load. One is uptime, since reservations happen from different time zones. The key feature of the Sun server’s architecture that is being used is Dynamic Domains. This allows them to run their various applications in different domains, on the same server. Some applications include their reservation system, ERP and various back-office applications such as one that handles their travel-agency commission settlements.

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