New Facility Helps Sun Chip Designers Perform Equivalent of 15 Years of Engineering Computation in a Day-Proving Ground for Grid and N1[tm] Technologies

November 6, 2002

Sun Microsystems, Inc. [NASDAQ: SUNW] accelerates development of new generations of the UltraSPARC® processor through today’s grand opening of a new processor design compute ranch at the company’s Burlington, Mass. campus. The new compute ranch joins a national network of facilities in Sunnyvale, Calif. and Austin, Texas that consist of over 7,500 UltraSPARC processor nodes operating at a sustained 98 percent utilization rate 24 hours a day. In addition to helping Sun bring new processors to market, the ranch infrastructure acts as a proving ground for advanced grid and virtualized “N1″[tm]-style computing technologies.

Fifteen Years of Computing In A Day

Sun uses the compute ranches for developing its award-winning UltraSPARC microprocessors. With the next generations of processors expected to integrate several hundred million transistors, just simulating the operations of new designs will require trillions of calculations over a typical two-to-five year design project life cycle. The efficiencies and time savings enabled through the ranches is one of the main reasons that Sun can maintain a fast pace of new product introductions at sustainable levels of R&D spending.

In a typical day, the ranches execute over 140,000 jobs submitted by the UltraSPARC processor engineering team, consuming over 134,000 hours of computing time-the equivalent of 15 years of single processor computing. The infrastructure consists of an all-Sun platform integrating Sun Servers, workstations, Sun[tm] Ray desktop systems and Sun networked storage supported by the Solaris[tm] Operating Environment.

Sophisticated resource management software keep the ranches running at maximum efficiency. Key functions performed by this software include job scheduling and system and infrastructure management (networking, clustering, load balancing, diagnostics, software license accounting). Since the first compute ranch went “live” 11 years ago, the compute ranch software platform has grown in sophistication and has acted as prototyping and testbed for grid computing and advanced, “N1”-style networked infrastructure virtualization and management technologies. The Ranch architecture of pooled computing resources can be used to many other compute-intensive applications, including mechanical engineering, architecture/civil engineering, biotechnology/ genomics, aerospace, oil and gas exploration, defense, and film/video production.

The Ranches and UltraSPARC Processor R&D

David Yen, executive vice president of Sun Microsystems’ Processor and Network Products Group comments: “This new compute ranch and its companion facilities in Austin and Sunnyvale help Sun speed time-to-market for new processor designs through high levels of engineering productivity at low cost of ownership and operation. The ranches are also a preview and testbed for the next waves of grid and virtualized, N1-style network computing technologies from Sun. Finally, the advantages of our compute ranches are just too good to keep to ourselves. We’re recommending ranch computing as a solution for a broad spectrum of technical computing customers.”

Affordable, Aggressive Processor R&D Program

The new compute facility illustrates Sun’s commitment to developing new generations of the UltraSPARC processor. Founded on a long-standing chip-making technology partnership with Texas Instruments, Sun drives an aggressive processor design R&D program at affordable cost to the company. This core-competence-focused business model enables Sun to “punch above its weight” in bringing innovative 64-bit network computing microprocessors to market that outpoint rivals from larger companies.

Other advantages Sun has in its processor design include the proven, durable SPARC instruction set, a company-wide focus on total solution (processor, system, software) collaborative engineering, outstanding third-party application developer support, and the UltraSPARC processor engineering team. The UltraSPARC design team is the second largest microprocessor engineering organization in the world, with design centers in Sunnyvale, Austin and Burlington.

The Burlington campus is Sun’s leading R&D base on the East Coast. In addition to members of the UltraSPARC development team, Burlington hosts Sun Microsystems Laboratories East and engineering work supporting the full range of the company’s workstation, server, storage and software product lines.

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision — “The Network Is The Computer[tm]” — has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that make the Net work. Sun can be found in more than 100 countries and on the World Wide Web at

Sun, Sun Microsystems, Sun Ray, N1, Solaris and The Network Is The Computer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All SPARC trademarks are used under license and are trademarks or registered trademarks of SPARC International, Inc. in the United States and other countries. Products bearing SPARC trademarks are based upon an architecture developed by Sun Microsystems, Inc.