November 30, 2004

Solaris 10 and Sun Fire V20z Systems Help Stanford Linear Accelerator Center Researchers Soar Into Record Books in the Fifth Annual Bandwidth Challenge

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Nov. 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Sun Microsystems, Inc. today announced a team led by the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), CalTech and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratories (FNAL) set a new world record aggregate bandwidth peak of 101.13Gbps at Supercomputing 2004, far surpassing last year's record of 23.21Gbps and beating the nearest contender by more than 300 percent. The SCInet Bandwidth Challenge encourages participants to push the envelope in terms of network throughput in high performance computing (for more information visit

Using Sun Fire(TM) V20z servers based on the AMD Opteron(TM) processor running the Solaris(TM) 10 Operating System and Linux, SLAC was able to demonstrate completely filling a 10Gbps transcontinental network path for a sustained time with standard 1500Byte packets, and the team achieved over 15Gbps (9.43Gbps in one direction and 5.65Gbps in the reverse direction simultaneously) on a single 10Gbps wavelength path. In addition, the team successfully showed smooth communications at multi-Gbps rates between multiple operating systems and different vendor Network Interface Cards. The Bandwidth Challenge results prove the efficiency and robustness that an operating system can deliver, as well as the power and flexibility of two and four-way servers from Sun built with the AMD Opteron processor and 10 gig Ethernet cards from S2IO and Chelsio.

"Challenges like this demonstrate the emerging maturity and robustness of the 10Gbps market and opens up the possibility for new ways to increase the amount of research we can conduct in our computing centers while reducing our total cost of ownership," said Dr. Les Cottrell, assistant director for SLAC Computing Services.

The High Energy Physics (HEP) community is in the midst of running a new round of experiments to probe the fundamental nature of matter and space-time, to help us understand the origins of the universe. These experiments require working with volumes of complex data that need collaboration among scientists around the world. The performance achievements in the Bandwidth Challenge show not only an increase in overall throughput, but one Sun Fire V40z server achieved I/O Ethernet performance of nearly 12Gbps when configured with Solaris 10 OS and two S2IO network cards. These accomplishments help make it faster and easier for SLAC to transfer large amounts of data for research and collaboration.

"Blistering TCP/IP network performance with Solaris 10 allowed this collaborative effort between S210, Chelsio and SLAC to blow away previous records," said Glenn Weinberg, VP Operating Platform Group, Sun Microsystems. "Our investment in Solaris 10, the most advanced UNIX operating system ever, is paying off for customers worldwide."

Sun unveiled Solaris 10 at its recent Network Computing '04 event. Representing 3,000 engineering years and a $500 million-plus R&D investment, Solaris 10 is the fastest operating system ever released by Sun -- applications can run up to 30 times faster and web server performance is more than 40 percent faster than Solaris 9 in web server performance on both SPARC(R) and x86 systems. Sun plans to make Solaris 10 available as a free download by January 31, 2005.

SLAC recently announced the purchase of 360 Sun Fire(TM) V20z servers based on the AMD Opteron processor for use in advanced research projects funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The center also uses more than 1000 SPARC architecture-based systems and 400TB of disk from Sun which are dedicated to SLAC physics and computer science research. The center plans to use a portion of the AMD Opteron processor-based systems to validate the use of a Large Memory System to resolve disk latency and bottlenecks, ultimately delivering a revolutionary increase in scientific productivity.

"Research conducted by these highly regarded education facilities pushes the envelope in technology advancements and provides the alignment necessary to create the next generation network systems to power the Internet," said Kim Jones, vice president of global education and research. "Seeing these records set using Solaris 10 and the AMD Opteron processor-based systems from Sun confirms our leadership in high performance computing."

About the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) is one of the world's leading fundamental science research laboratories. SLAC designs, constructs and operates state-of-the-art particle accelerators and related experimental facilities used by high-energy physics studies probing the fundamental forces and structure of matter. The Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL), a premier national user facility at SLAC, enables research requiring ultra high-intensity x-ray beams for molecular and atomic scale studies in physics, biology, chemistry, medicine, and environmental science. The Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at SLAC is one of the most important centers for the study of the exciting new science of Particle Astrophysics. The BABAR collaboration investigating matter/anti-matter asymmetry is a current focus of high-energy physics, as is a vigorous R&D program focused on development of the International Linear Collider. SLAC, operated by Stanford University for the Department of Energy, Office of Science, is 40 miles south of San Francisco, California.

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision -- "The Network Is The Computer(TM)" -- has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. 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 .

NOTE: Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun Logo, Sun Fire, 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.


Kathy Tom Engle

Sun Microsystems, Inc.


[email protected]

Jennifer Doettling

Sun Microsystems, Inc.


[email protected]

[email protected]

Sun Microsystems, Inc.

CONTACT: Kathy Tom Engle, +1-415-294-4368, or [email protected], orJennifer Doettling, +1-408-276-5721, or [email protected], both ofSun Microsystems, Inc.; or, or [email protected]

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