Thursday, November 29, 2012

Oracle Sparc T5 Processors Pack a Punch

Expected to be released by early 2013, the new Oracle Sparc T5 processors are an innovative step into the big leagues of computing power.  Designed to handle Oracle workloads and engineered systems, the Sparc T5 processor seems to be a Sparc T4 processor mini-me, but it packs a sizeable punch in its compact 28nm form.

The basic version of the Sparc T5 processor comes with 16 3.6GHz Sparc S3 cores that each feature 128KB of level 2 cache, which are connected to 8MB of shared L3 cache through crossbar interconnect links. This design allows the new Sparc S3 cores to do single-threaded work better than ever before, making Sparc T5 legitimate contenders in the large-scale Solaris workload arena.

Sparc T5 processors have also taken a major generational leap when it comes to on-chip I/O processing. Oracle has shifted the designed from 10GbE interfaces to new PCI-Express 3.0 technology for the T5 processor’s on-chip x8 peripheral controllers. Also featuring an 8x9 crossbar switch design, this crossbar has a bisection bandwidth of 1TB/sec, which is double the bandwidth of the on-chip crossbar in the Sparc T4 chip.

But the most impressive new feature of the Sparc T5 processor is it enhanced 8-way, 1-hop glueless NUMA (Non-Uniform Memory Access) scalability. This allows Sparc T5 processors to deliver much more effective bandwidth, and nearly perfect linear scaling capabilities for 8 sockets – allowing 8 sockets to provide close to 8 processor performance. This is pretty much unheard of given just how straight-up difficult it is to create near-perfect linear scalability for any processor type.

Overall, the Sparc T5 process has twice as many processor cores on the die, twice as much shared L3 cache, faster clock speed, enhanced scaling, and more optimized performance than the Sparc T4 processor, in almost half the form factor. So basically, we’re telling you that you should be getting pretty excited about the release of these processors. And we didn’t even mention the other impressive features like Advanced Power Management with DVFS and 8 DDR3 Bl8 Schedulers…

Thursday, November 22, 2012

HP ProLiant G7 is Going End of Life, What's Your Game Plan?

As we’ve talked about before, in the technology world, it’s a tough break when equipment you depend on is made end-of-life (EOL) by the manufacturer. With HP ProLiant DL380 G7 and HP ProLiant DL360 G7 rack servers going end of life this month, and HP ProLiant BL460c G7 blade servers next month in December, this uncomfortable time of forced transition is upon us again. By design, the inventory strategy of HP’s distribution channel is to run completely out of G7 by the time of the EOL date. This is because HP wants the distributors fully stocked with Gen8, and their business model doesn’t allow them to sustain both G7 and Gen8 inventory.

As a result of the market constraint, your average reseller pricing for G7 servers will start to rise quickly because they don’t keep hardware in stock. Instead, they have to buy them from avenues such as stocking resellers (like Great Lakes Computer) in order to fulfill your orders, and then inflate the pricing even more so that they can make a living. That’s a tough situation for them to be in.

We, on the other hand, don’t have to work like that because we are a stocking reseller, which has allowed us to take a substantial inventory position to continue to supply our customers. However, this week we were informed by our suppliers that we have come up against the last inventory of G7 servers. This can be a major issue for customers who are standardized on G7 servers, and hope to continue to standardize on this server platform for the next year and beyond.

Another roadblock is that HP will now be pushing the more expensive Gen8 servers, and the majority of companies simply won’t have the budget for a datacenter server overhaul to the latest and greatest. Especially when just one generation back, the G7 servers were doing everything they needed them to do just fine.

And even if you do have the budget to make the leap to Gen8 servers, you may not be aware of some significant consequences that go along with the leap. For example, if someone is currently running a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 operating system or lower on their G7 server, and want to keep running that operating system, they will be unable to do so with a Gen8 server since they only run Windows 2008R2 and above. Also, since G6 and G7 had compatible components, you are probably used to having a supply of spares on hand that you’ve built up over the years. However, these will now be unusable because Gen8 servers are not compatible with G6/G7 components (with a singular exception– the power supply).

We’ve built our HP business on being able to successfully meet the needs of a variety of companies using the HP platform, whether the product is new or end-of-life. Since we’ve been through this many times before, we’re here to ease the pain for you so that you don’t have to feel like you’ve been left out in the cold by a manufacturer with their Gen8 blinders on.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Juniper vGW 5.5 Update: The Top 3 Features

While the new VMware vSphere 5.1 upgrade might have been all you saw in the headlines, there has been another important upgrade in the virtualization sphere. I know, it’s hard to believe! But yes, Juniper Networks has released an upgrade for their virtual gateway solution, vGW. Able to be used as a spplement to the security offered by VMware’s virtualization solutions, the Juniper vGW product delivers the ultimate in virtualization security solutions as a third party vendor. 

Now with the new version 5.5 upgrade, Juniper vGW software offers even more datacenter benefits that are specifically geared towards growing virtualization security challenges, something BYOD has made a major concern for the enterprise.

The top 3 new features provided by the Juniper vGW 5.5 update are:
  1. Full IPv6 support – The Juniper vGW software now offers full IPv6 support, allowing users to express and enforce policies on IPv6 networks. This is a major advantage for their target market of large service providers.
  2. Different management views – Juniper vGW version 5.5 features the ability to logically divide the security software at the front end in order to allow for different views into the management center. 
  3. New API – The version 5.5 upgrade provides Juniper vGW software with a new API that endows large service providers with the ability to control what they make available to their virtualization clients.
The one feature still on my virtual security wish list after this upgrade would be integration with the recently acquired Mykonos security product. But with Juniper’s history of constant innovation, I feel positive that this integration is not so far off in the future. For deeper insight into this product, check out our vGW series page at

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hey Everybody, We Do New Too!

In our last IBM-related post, we talked about how despite the IBM System x3550, IBM System x3650 M3 and IBM BladeCenter HS22 servers being discontinued by the manufacturer; we were still a viable source for these products. And while we have made our name by being a great source for hard-to-find, end-of-life equipment, we think a crucial element of our IBM business may have been unintentionally kept a secret – but hey everybody, we do new too!

Not only do we do new, but we’re an excellent, affordable alternative to the slow and often costly IBM business partner channel.  One thing that really sets us apart is our ability to offer great discounts to our customers without requiring a minimum sale price. As a big buyer in the market, we’re able to pass our buy-in-bulk savings down to all of our customers.  Another bonus is that in situations where a traditional business partner may have to wait weeks on one obscure part, we can ship out orders two to three weeks faster on average, translating to time, money, and resources saved!

So what’s the “So what? Why does it matter to me part?” Well, two things that you will definitely care about are getting products you need faster, and at a better price. Plus, not having to go two different places to get quotes for both refurbished and new IBM product options will cut your time finding sources and getting quotes in half, and who doesn’t need a few more hours in their work day?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Juniper MX Routers - Network Edge Domination

Revealed on October 2nd, Juniper Networks has placed themselves one step further towards network edge domination with innovative new hardware and software additions to their MX Series 3D Universal Edge Router series. Already an impressive series with the Junos Trio chipset for 3D scaling capabilities, the Juniper MX series is now optimized for service providers trying to get ahead, while also dealing with the escalating cloud computing, mobile and video momentum.

Allowing service providers to make the leap from trying to doing, the new offerings for the Juniper MX series enable service providers to deliver and expand their services up to 69% faster than competing solutions. Providing service providers with the ability to scale bandwidth and subscribers, the MX edge router platform also allows service providers to offer differentiated services, increase energy-efficiency, and reduce overall network expenses.

The 5 key new offerings of the Juniper MX series platform include:
  1. Junos Web Aware software – Extends server provider capabilities to include parental-control services and targeted advertising.
  2. JunosV Firefly – Tightens network security with virtualized managed services that include virtualized security. 
  3. Junos Node Unifier – Allows Juniper MX routers and top-of-rack switches to be combined into a single virtualized element.
  4. Business Cloud CPE – Enables enterprises to offload their private cloud monitoring and Layer 3 routing intelligence onto the service provider’s MX series router.
  5. Junos Content Encore – Featuring a new MX Application Services Modular Line Card, this allows IPS, content management, firewalls and other MX series capabilities to be offered with the option of a software or an appliance format.
The new Juniper MX edge series platform capabilities arose from a firm belief in the continuation of the cloud computing, mobile and video movements, with astronomical figures projected for industry-wide adoption and spend for these items by as early as 2016. It's not just a bunch of fanfare, ladies and gentlemen; it’s where the future is heading.

You can learn more about Juniper products through Juniper University.