August 17, 2006 4:45 PM PDT

Sparc-on-Intel translator due in weeks

SAN FRANCISCO--Transitive, a start-up specializing in software that translates software for one chip so it can run on another, plans to release software this quarter so programs for Sun Microsystems' Sparc chips can be used on Intel Xeon chips.

Transitive demonstrated the software this week at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo here. Intel, which for years has vied to lure UltraSparc customers to its own chips, announced a partnership in March to help Transitive with the work.

The Los Gatos, Calif.-based start-up plans to begin selling the Xeon version of the Sparc translation software in the third quarter, said product manager Frank Weigel. The company also demonstrated a version of the software to run Sparc on Intel Itanium chips, a product that will go on sale in the fourth quarter, Weigel said. Both use Linux instead of Sun's Solaris operating system.

The products mark a new phase in Transitive's history: software that one company can use to compete against another. Previous versions of the company's QuickTransit software have been used to help companies through internal chip transitions: Apple Computer's switch from PowerPC to Intel x86 chips; Silicon Graphics' switch from its MIPS chips to Itanium; and, announced this week, IBM's attempt to bring x86 Linux software to its own Power processors.

Transitive's software works by translating instructions for one chip into the equivalent instructions another chip can understand. Frequently used instructions are cached so they needn't be translated again each time they're used.

Weigel asserted that QuickTransit performs well. Sparc-Solaris software generally runs faster on Xeon-Linux using Transitive's software than on machines with Sun's 1.5GHz UltraSparc IV+ chips.

The company's LinuxWorld demonstrations featured Transitive running Sparc-Solaris versions of Sybase and Oracle database software. In some cases, the software was running within a virtual machine, a compartment with its own operating system created with EMC's VMware software.

Weigel said he didn't expect customers would use Transitive's software for their performance-sensitive central applications but would be more likely to do so when it comes to secondary code. And Transitive includes software that lets Linux run the custom scripts that people wrote to automate Solaris tasks, Weigel added.

See more CNET content tagged:
Sun Solaris, Sun UltraSPARC, Sun Sparc, Intel Xeon, Intel x86


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Confusing! "Faster" but not recommended?
"Sparc-Solaris software generally runs faster on Xeon-Linux using Transitive's software than on machines with Sun's 1.5GHz UltraSparc IV+ chips."
Ok, then why this:
"Weigel said he didn't expect customers would use Transitive's software for their performance-sensitive central applications"

No need mention that he didn't provide any industry standard benchmark results to back his claim of "faster", he (Weigel, himself) didn't recommend its use in performace-sensitive application!

I guess his faster refers that Intel is 4GHz while USIV+ is 1.5GHz, but we all know how valid a comparision is that just based on clock speed.

This comapny is just an IBM sponsored agent to throw FUD about Solaris. IBM need this company because they can not run AIX on Intel Xeon, while Solaris is on full throttle for AMD x64 now!
(No need mention performance comparision of Intel Xeon vs AMD opteron)

See some real results here:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by kevin7603 (8 comments )
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Such restraint!
Yeah, you hit it on the head here. And nice restraint BTW. Who in their right mind would use this when Solaris x64 is available for fee? Also, I'm not sure but I believe you can run Solaris x64 in Vmware containers. Same for Xen when that happens.
Posted by scdecade (329 comments )
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Translator Faster than 1.5GHz uSPARC IV+???
Considering how benchmarks show the USPARC IV+ generally
outperforms Intel Xeons natively in real-world tests, how can
Intel Xeon run a translator and outrun a modern uSPARC IV+?

Someone better find a non-SUN system running Intel processors
that scale to compete in this market... SUN is one of the few
vendors making &gt;4 sockets intel compatible systems!

It is nice to see the 1.8GHz uSPARC IV+ systems making new
progress in beating the competition again.

Stupidity abounds.
Posted by DavidHalko (18 comments )
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