Tuesday Feb 11, 2014

Understanding The New Economics of Server Performance

See below for image license.

Garage nuts like me always enjoy a truce in the perennial Class War because it lets us enjoy the impressive automobiles the super rich get to drive. Or perhaps their chauffeurs get to drive. When the original Bugatti Veyron was launched in 2006, it had 1001 horses. The base model of the 2006 Honda Accord had 166 horses and cost around $20,000. If the cost of increasing horsepower were linear, going from 166 horses to 1001 horses would only increase the price by a multiple of 6. So, looking only at power, the Bugatti Veyron would cost only cost $120,000.

According to the Jalopnki blog, it costs $1.7 million dollars. Some of that is due to its luxury appointments, but most of it is due to the non-linear increase in cost that invariably accompanies a linear increase in power.

Lucky for us geeks, that's not true of hardware. Well, it was for a while, but that's changed. As these three video interviews explain.

Revolutionizing Server Economics

Interview with Renato Ribeiro

Deploying clusters of small systems used to be the most economical way to get compute power because you had to pay a premium to get all that power on a single system. That's no longer true. Renato explains why that's no longer true. And he has charts.

Horizontal vs Vertical Scalability

Video Smackdown: Michael Palmeter v Renato Ribeiro

Is Oracle's approach to large vertically scaled servers at odds with today's trend of combining lots and lots of small, low-cost servers systems with networking to build a cloud, or is it a better approach? Michael Palmeter, Director of Solaris Product Management, and Renato Ribeiro, Director Product Management for SPARC Servers, discuss.

Like Getting a Ferrari for the Price of a Toyota

Interview with David Lawler

Is buying hardware today like getting a Ferrari for the price of a Toyota? Yes, says Senior Vice President David Lawler, because Oracle has re-engineered the way we develop systems from the hardware side and the software side. You get tremendous performance AND low cost. David, who knows his numbers, explains how Oracle does it, and why our competitors aren't doing the same thing. Sound quality is poor, but content is worth it.

The image used in this blog is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license. Attribution: M 93

- Rick

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Monday Nov 11, 2013

Why Move My Oracle Database to New SPARC Hardware?

If you didn't manage to catch all the news during the proverbial Firehose Down the Throat that is Oracle OpenWorld, you'll enjoy these short recaps from Brad Carlile. He makes things clear in just a couple of minutes. photograph copyright by Edge of Day Photography, with permission

Video: Latest Improvements to Oracle SPARC Processors

with Brad Carlile

T5, M5, and M6. Three wicked fast processors that Oracle announced over the last year. Brad Carlile explains how much faster they are, and why they are better than previous versions.

Video: Why Move Your Oracle Database to SPARC Servers

with Brad Carlile

If I'm happy with how my Oracle Database 11g is performing, why should I deploy it on the new Oracle SPARC hardware? For the same reasons that you would want to buy a sports car that goes twice as fast AND gets better gas mileage, Brad Carlile explains. Well, if there are such dramatic performance improvements and cost savings, then why should I move up to Oracle Database 12c?

-Rick

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Thursday May 16, 2013

Draw, Partner!

Well, I’ve already made one reference reference to Clint Eastwood (image removed from blog), I might as well make another, if only indirectly. So, here goes: the topic today is drawing. That is, making drawings with Oracle hardware components.

For those of you who like to (or need to) create architectural drawings with reasonable renditions of components and all the requisite connections, you are probably already aware of Microsoft Visio, or for those of you who prefer Macs (such as myself), Omnigraffle Pro. Did you know that we have an open repository with a growing selection of components on VisioCafe? We just updated this Tuesday night, adding stencils of Oracle’s new SPARC T5 and SPARC M5 servers. You will find them in the zip bundle Oracle-Servers.

We have also added Visio templates for Oracle's Exadata Database Machines. In case you didn’t know the difference between stencils and templates, templates provide a more powerful (and efficient) representation that allows you to reorganize the racks to match your actual configuration.

For those of us who use OmniGraffle Pro, you will be pleased to note that we are now getting greater, but not always perfect, compatibility. So, your mileage may vary: our official target is Microsoft Visio.

So, what can I say? "Make my day! Draw, Partner!"

—Kemer

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Friday Apr 26, 2013

Three Goodies About the ZFS Storage Appliance

Today we have three goodies about the ZFS Storage Appliance to share (image removed from blog):

Video Interview: The Top Capabilities of ZFS Storage Appliance Explained

Nancy Hart describes her favorite capabilities about the ZFS Storage Appliance, and Jeff Wright explains how each of them works. They cover Hybrid Columnar Compression, Direct NFS (makes data transfer more efficient), Remote Direct Memory Access, Oracle Intelligent Storage Protocol (database aware of the storage and vice versa), DTrace Analytics to optimize deployments, and more.

Blog: My Personal ZFS Storage Appliance Crib Sheet

We recently published some articles about really cool ways to use the ZFS Storage Appliance, so I spent a little time looking into the darned thing. It's easy to find out what the ZFS Storage Appliance does, but more difficult to find out what its components are. What can I yank out and replace? What can I connect it to? And what buttons and levers can I push? Or pull. So I put together this crib sheet. If you didn't grow up in The Bronx, see wikipedia's definition of crib sheet.

3D Demo

Pop the doors open, pull out the disk shelves, find out what's inside each one. Great demo, and you're at the controls.

Additional Resources

For more technical resources about the ZFS Storage appliance, use any of the four tabs on OTN's Technical Resources Center. And, to see other blogs about Oracle's storage products, select the "Storage" tab under Categories in the right margin, or click here.

- Rick

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Tuesday Jan 31, 2012

How Much Do YOU Know About Your Server?

Before you run off half-cocked and purchase one of Oracle's Sun servers from some guy selling them out the back of his Escalade, you should be armed with three types of information:

What Servers Are Available?

This handy-dandy tool reveals just the right amount of information about Sun servers, letting you drill down at a pace that the average sysadmin with an IQ of 160 can absorb. Three clicks and you'll have all the info you need.

Which Version of What Software Runs on Whose Server?

Well, almost all the info you need. OTN's Software Stacks list the versions of the OS, firmware, systems management tools, virtualization technology, diagnostic tools, and middleware that runs on each of Oracle SPARC T-series and M-series servers, as well as Sun Blade and Sun Carrier-Grade servers.

What Support Is Offered for Each Server and for How Long?

Even if you are buying your servers from Hugo in the Escalade, you will want to know what type of support Oracle offers and for long we'll offer that support. This page spells that out for not just our servers, but all our hardware. You can also get to this page from the leftmost column of the Systems Community Home Page.

- Rick
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Wednesday Aug 10, 2011

Join OTN Or ...

...The Lemur Gets It!


Turns out Oracle wants more sysadmins (Linux, Solaris, systems, storage, or network) to become official, bonafide, full-blown OTN members. I explained that sysadmins aren't really the "joining" type, but I lost. Oracle wants more sysadmins to join OTN. Period.

So I've been wondering how I could convince the more reluctant among you to become official, bonafide, full-blown OTN members. After all you, your bookie, and your bookie's mother-in-law can read our technical articles, view our OTN videos (may take time to load), and visit just about every part of the OTN Systems website without signing up for anything.

But there is a bunch of very cool stuff you can't do unless you're a member. This month I'll tell you about one.


Download Software For Free

You can't download our software for free unless you're an OTN member.

I know Oracle's license terms are not the same as Sun's were, but you still get to download and horse around with world-class software for free. If you're anywhere within a decade of your mid-life crisis, you'll clearly remember when you had to actually pay a lot of money for good software. All we ask is that you be honest about when you deploy our software. That's only fair.

For all the details, read the OTN developer license.

You can read about other benefits of membership here.

So, if you really want that lemur to have a future, sign up here, check the "Oracle Technology Network" box under "My Community Memberships," and identify yourself as a sysadmin.

And while you're at it, sign up for our newsletter. It'll highlight the best content we've published over the previous month, in case you weren't paying attention.

- Rick
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Monday Jan 24, 2011

When You Can't Find the Torque Wrench

I come from a part of the world that considers doing it yourself without the right tools a great sign of resourcefulness (Lima, Peru.) I live in part of the world that considers doing it yourself with the right tools a sign of preparedness (Colorado, USA).

Both may be true, but sometimes the torque wrench refuses to reveal its location and that usually happens when the VP of IT has chewed out the Director of IT who has called your boss and his best buddies into the corner office for a serious discussion whose resulting action items are going to land on your head just as you're heading out to the local sysadmin bar.

That's when you want to have a couple of quick meals in your pantry:

Oracle Linux Validated Solutions

Pre-tested, validated architectures—including software, hardware, storage, and network components—plus documented best practices. Improved performance, scalability, and reliability of Linux solutions, with faster, lower-cost implementations for dozens of leading applications.

Oracle Sun Hardware Solutions

Slightly different from the Linux Validated Configurations, above, but similar in spirit, Oracle's Sun Hardware Solutions assemble the stack components that are best suited to optimize the performance and management of these seven popular enterprise business applications.

You can always find these links under the Product Pages and Resource Pages headings in the right-most column of OTN's Sysadmin and Developer Community.

- Rick

Wednesday Nov 24, 2010

Top 10 Reasons to Be Thankful on Thanksgiving

10.  Dessert

 9.  Surprise visits from close relatives.

 8.  Dad didn't pick you up from Pop Warner Football dressed like this.

7.  Conscientious people

6.  This isn't the lighthouse where you took your wife for a romantic celebration of your 7th wedding anniversary

5. Nobody was there to see it when the wimpy neighbor's cat beat up your dog.

4.  There's always somebody dumber than you.

3.  Carol Shelby.

2. A genetic excuse for a guy's moods.

1.  Your pals at the System Admin and Developer Community of the Oracle Technology Network (otherwise known as OTN).

Happy Thanksgiving!

- Rick

About

Contributors:
Rick Ramsey
Kemer Thomson
and members of the OTN community

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