Sun rehires UltraSparc gurus

Some of the original designers of the Sun processor have returned to the company as the server maker completes its acquisition of chip designer Afara Websystems.

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Stephen Shankland
Some of the original designers of Sun Microsystems' first UltraSparc processor have returned to the company as the server maker announced Tuesday that it has completed its acquisition of chip designer Afara Websystems.

Among the designers to return to Sun is Les Kohn, "one of the major designers of the UltraSparc I," said Sun spokesman Martin Chorich, saying there were other UltraSprac designers moving over as well. "We are certainly getting people familiar with the Sparc architecture, and we're very glad to have them on board."

David Yen, newly promoted to executive vice president of Sun's processor and network security products group, disclosed the acquisition of the San Jose, Calif.-based start-up in June. At the time, he said Sun was interested in Afara's designers and in incorporating its technology into Sun's own processors.

Sun didn't disclose terms of the acquisition.

Sun introduced the UltraSparc I in 1995, its first foray into 64-bit processors that unlike Intel's Pentium and Xeon processors can handle vast amounts of memory.

Sun faced delays producing its current UltraSparc III processor and now is working to build UltraSparc IV and V models. The processors, the heart of the company's servers, compete with IBM's Power processor, Hewlett-Packard's PA-RISC, Intel's new Itanium 2 and SGI's MIPS.