Re: A $10,000,000 SUN box?

Gregory Alan Bolcer (
Sun, 22 Aug 1999 07:52:55 -0700

Hi Barry!
Thanks for the info--good stuff. I know some really high level people at Sun,
nobody in their starfire group which I think is the hardware they
are talking about. IBM's unix variant AIX in some sense tried to
bring the mainframe to the desktop. Obviously desktops are concerned
with user interaction, mainframes with utilization. Sun's selling
prop is that their systems are scalable from a javastation all the
way up to their highest end system. It's the interoperability and
scalability that they are selling their products on. Outside of
Windows, sparc is the second longest running binary compatible and
backwards compatible instruction set.

There's another trend in workstation computing. You
can see it from Basically, if you have a partitionable
computing space, you can cut up the computing and have it execute over
some number of low end machines using their 'extra' cycles.
is using approximately 14k volunteers to try and crack RC-64 by brute force.
You see this approach in closed house companies too. For instance my friend
works at is doing digital movie effects. Movie houses traditionally
bought a large number of high end SGI workstations running Irix, but now they
simple lease a couple of thousand high end PC boxes, run linux, and
allocate jobs based on utilization. After the movie, they return all the machines
and the leasing company sells them off as surplus. Again, it's the scalability
that is the key selling point.

Anyways, thanks for the article.


Barry Walker wrote:
> Here's an interesting quote --
> >> By the way, the cost of this Sun E10000 system is around $10 million,
> and was essentially running >> just simple database queries, each run
> serially, one after another for this particular TPC-D test,
> >> which makes it a very expensive personal computer. The fundamental
> point: There is no
> >> concurrency of queries from multiple users demonstrated in this
> particular test.
> You've got to be kidding. Someone would pay $10 million for some SUN
> server that can only do 1 I/O at a time?
> Here's a link to the entire article.
> Barry

Greg Bolcer
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