"Some of my readers probably are wondering where I'm rambling
to. Others, I'm sure, know where I'm heading. Scalability is
the keyword when you are short on cash but need or want an
enterprise class system. Last week, I mentioned the
alternative practice to being on the bleeding edge of computing.
Buy older, create software for newer. Many SPARC systems of the
same class using the same OS are backwards and forwards compatible
with each other like the UltraSPARC, unless you cross architectural
boundaries such as PCI to SBUS."
"The main draw for a SPARC system, be it an Ultra, Super, or
Micro, is that you can write your software on a cheaper used
computer system similar to the systems you would actually like to
run your more resource intensive calculations. Buy a dual-processor
UltraSPARC used for about $3000 and this puts you into the position
of being able to just recompile the software for a $150,000 64 CPU
computer you can gain access to through contacts with minimal
problems if any."
"This takes care of computations naturally. The two major
drawbacks to this technique is that you don't have access to the
$150,000 computer's graphics capability if it has them and not
everyone has contacts at corporate R&D departments or a
National Lab. However, a two year old SPARC system, as long as it
is a PCI based motherboard, can overcome the first problem. Just
upgrade the video card. Naturally, it's not the fastest thing on a
desk anywhere, but it can match my needs of rendering CCD images
and pattern matches quite well. This type of scalability will work
with almost any computer system of the same class and basic
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