Cray Superservers

The Superserver range of systems was developed in Beaverton CO.  after Cray Research purchased the assets of Floating point systems. Aimed directly at the commercial market these system used SPARC processors and a modified version of Solaris. Starting with the APP and SMP systems a development program resulted in the CS6400.

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With up To 64 Processors, CS6400 Products Are World’s
Fastest SPARC/Solaris Systems

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 25, 1993 — Cray Research Superservers
(CRS), the Ore.-based subsidiary of Cray Research, Inc.
(NYSE:CYR), today announced a new Superserver product line.
Martin Buchanan, general manager of CRS, said the new CRAY
SUPERSERVER 6400 (CS6400) systems, with up to 64
processors, are the world’s fastest and most expandable
SPARC/Solaris-compliant systems.

“Our’s are the first high-end servers to combine the strong
price-performance of Sun products with the reliability,
availability and serviceability (RAS) features data center
managers expect,” Buchanan said.

“The CS6400 products are enterprise servers aimed at the
rightsizing’ market, especially commercial and technical data
centers concerned about the high cost of upgrading and running
mainframe systems,” he said. The products were developed by
CRS under a Jan. 1992 technology agreement between Cray
Research and Sun Microsystems, Inc., Mountain View, Calif.,
and are a binary-compatible upward extension of Sun’s product

“The SPARC architecture is a powerful foundation for cost-
effective scalability,” said Scott McNealy, Sun chairman and
chief executive officer. “The Sun and CRS product lines will
form a price-performance continuum from SPARCclassics to
SPARCcenter servers to the new CS6400 products. Sun users
who require more power on the network can move to the binary-
compatible CS6400 systems with no migration problems.” The
CS6400 systems run the current version of Sun’s Solaris
operating environment, which is an implementation of UNIX
System V Release 4, he said. “Any program that runs on a Sun
system will run on the new CRS systems without modification,
and vice versa.”

“With the CS6400, CRS will address commercial markets with
non-traditional Cray applications,” said Lester Davis, Cray
Research chief operating officer. “That’s why CRS is
organized as a separate business unit with its own hardware
and software development capabilities. Martin Buchanan has
assembled a strong marketing and sales team with many years
of experience selling into commercial markets, as well as into
the technical computing arena. We’re confident that the
enterprise server market is ready to move to Cray Research
added value, especially when this is available on the same
price-performance curve as Sun products.”

Buchanan said CS6400 systems are expandable and can scale
with customers’ data processing needs. The systems are
offered with four to 64 SuperSPARC RISC microprocessors
(initially at 60 MHz), 256 megabytes (million bytes) to 16
gigabytes (billion bytes) of central memory, 1.3 gigabytes per
second peak memory bandwidth, and more than two terabytes
(trillion bytes) of online disk storage. U.S. pricing begins at
under $400,000 for the four-processor version, and at $2.5
million for the top-of-the-line 64-processor system. He said
CRS expects to sell hundreds of the new systems.

Initial shipments of the new systems will begin in late 1993,
Buchanan said. Volume shipments are scheduled to begin in
first-quarter 1994. CRS is working with customers and
prospects in the traditional Sun and Cray Research markets, as
well as new markets. CRS is in negotiations with several
organizations in the electronic computer-aided design (ECAD),
transportation/distribution, manufacturing, university and
electric utility markets and will announce these customers
when order agreements are signed, Buchanan said. Separately
today, CRS announced that SICAN, a leading German
microelectronics firm, has ordered a CS6400 system. SICAN is
scheduled to receive a 48-processor system by mid-1994.

According to Buchanan, the large number of applications
available on SPARC/Solaris systems was an important
attraction for CRS. “We are leveraging SPARC’s leadership in
the RISC market through binary compatibility with Sun’s
product line. As we work with independent software vendors
to have their products supported, technical ports are not an
issue.” Buchanan cited a 1992 International Data Corporation
study showing SPARC with a 57 percent marketshare for the
UNIX RISC market.

Buchanan said CRS is in discussions with several major
developers of key software packages and connectivity
products, including relational database management systems
(RDBMS), transaction processing monitors, fourth generation
languages, computer-aided software engineering (CASE) tools,
report generation packages, hierarchical storage management
(HSM) solutions and mainframe connectivity tools. He said CRS
recently benchmarked Oracle, the most popular database
server, on an early version CS6400 system.

“On the benchmark, which simulated 500 users accessing,
updating and querying data, the CS6400 performed comparable
to a mid-range mainframe system, which would cost more than
$5 million, five times that of the 16-processor CS6400
system benchmarked,” said Darshan Karki, president of
SuperSolutions Corp., Minneapolis, a firm that re-engineers
enterprise-wide applications and system software and
assisted CRS with the recent Oracle benchmark.

Initial target markets for the new systems are: ECAD,
financial service and investment banking, general engineering,
government, petroleum, and telecommunications. According to
A.J. Berkeley, CRS senior director of sales and marketing, CRS
will market and sell the new products through its own
dedicated international sales force, the Cray Research sales
force, a global network of systems integrators and value-
added resellers (VARs), and joint initiatives with Sun. “Sun
has been extremely helpful in pointing us toward some of the
right parties and we’ve supplemented this with our own
contacts. We expect to announce key agreements later this
year,” he said

According to Buchanan, “Our relationship with Sun goes beyond
merely licensing their technology. We are working closely
with several Sun business units on interoperability and general
hardware and software engineering for future systems.”

He said the CS6400 systems bring together Sun hardware and
software technology with Cray Research value-added features
for high performance and system reliability and serviceability.
“The CS6400 delivers features to the open systems
environment that the data center users have enjoyed for
years,” Buchanan said. “The new system has built-in
reliability, availability and serviceability features — a first
in the high-end, open systems server arena.”

For example, should a component fail, the system
automatically reboots, isolates the fault, and reconfigures
itself. Uptime is further maximized with “hot swap”
capabilities, which allow a failed module to be removed and
replaced in the system while it’s still running, Buchanan said.
Upgrades can also be done while the system is online. An
independent service processor performs online and remote
diagnostics, logging, and monitoring functions and data is
protected through features such as disk mirroring, page
isolation, and memory scrubbing, he said.

“There are many exciting aspects about CRS and its
Superserver,” said Jim Johnson, chairman of The Standish
Group, a market research firm based in South Yarmouth, Mass.
“Most important is the availability of Cray’s high-end
technology while following a pricing strategy similar to Sun’s.
The key data center management products…will give the kind
of performance and quality that mission-critical applications
require. The CRS Superserver will have some of the features
that data center managers take for granted that are not in
today’s UNIX servers. These are essential features and people
will look very favorably on them at the kind of price and
performance CRS offers.”

Buchanan said Cray Research was the first high-performance
computing company to embrace the UNIX standard. “Over the
past decade, Cray Research has substantially enhanced UNICOS,
the company’s 64-bit symmetric multiprocessing
implementation of the UNIX operating system. Many key
features of Cray’s supercomputing environment — such as
sophisticated tape management, networked batch processing,
systems management software, program debugging tools and
high-performance compilers — will also be important for
commercial and technical users of the CS6400 systems and
will be available in 1994.”

CRS also announced today that:

o CRS has signed a memorandum of understanding with Sun
Microsystems Computer Corporation for SunIntegration
Services to become a reseller of the CS6400 system;
o Electricite’ de France, the world’s largest electrical
utility, Clamart, France, will be an early customer for
CRS’ new CS6400 system;
o CRS has signed a memorandum of understanding with
Oracle to make Oracle7 available on the new CS6400
o CRS has signed a memorandum of understanding with the
ASK Group, developers of the ASK INGRES Intelligent
Database system, to make the INGRES database product
available on the CS6400 system;
o INFORMIX-OnLine will be available on the CS6400
o Sybase, Inc.’s support for Cray Research’s high-end
SPARC/Solaris-compatible strategy;
o CRS has signed an agreement with Brixton Systems, Inc.,
Cambridge, Mass., to make available on the CS6400
system Brixton’s suite of connectivity software, which
links IBM mainframes with open systems computers,
enabling data to be shared between these systems;
o CRS and Information Management Company (IMC) have
signed an agreement for IMC to make Open TransPort for
MVS and TUXEDO transaction processing system available
on the CS6400 system;
o CRS and T-Mass GmbH have signed an agreement for T-
Mass to support and distributed UniTree on the CS6400
systems; and
o CRS has signed an agreement with JYACC, Inc. to provide
its JAM Version 6 Application Development Toolset on
the CS6400.

CRS is dedicated to creating the world’s leading
SPARC/Solaris-compliant computer systems.

Cray Research creates the most powerful, highest-quality
computational tools for solving the world’s most challenging
scientific and industrial problems.


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