More users slam Sun for memory issue

More users affected by a long-standing cache memory problem on Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Ultra Enterprise servers are slamming Sun Microsystems Inc.’s handling of the issue and its attempt to keep users quiet about it.

Sun officials didn’t return repeated calls last week seeking comment for this story.

Since Computerworld first reported the problem last week, additional users have come forward to recount similar experiences. Topping their list of complaints are the frequency of server crashes caused by the problem, fixes that don’t work and Sun’s tendency to initially blame the problem on other factors before acknowledging it – often only under a nondisclosure agreement.

“They treated the whole thing like a cover-up,” said one user at a large utility in the Western United States who asked not to be named.

Even with hardware replacements, the utility has had so many crashes on its Sun 6500 servers since they were purchased in May that the machines have been pulled out of production, the user said. Now the company is considering returning some of them as defective.

When the utility first informed Sun about the issues, “they told us this was an unusual problem and that others did not have it … they repeatedly said this,” the user said. “Poor handling of this case could cost Sun millions of dollars in sales as well as a high-profile client.”

Sun recently acknowledged a problem involving an external memory cache on its UltraSPARC II microprocessor mod