As most of you know by now, Oracle has recently released an updated roadmap for its SPARC based servers. Of course, others also publish roadmaps, and we all know how CPUs tend to slip and roadmaps sort of evolve backwards over time. So what's the value in this new roadmap?
When Oracle aquired Sun, there were all these big promises about increased investement in SPARC and Solaris. We've already seen the first delivery on these promises:
- The SPARC T3 CPU doubled the throughput per socket for the T-Series line of servers.
- Solaris 11 Express gives customers a supported (!) preview of what's coming with Solaris 11
- M-Series servers can be upgraded yet again for up to an additional 20% performance gain.
All this is shown in the new roadmap as tick-off items. All this was already well into completion at the time of the aquisition, although the speed with which T3 came to market can already be attributed to Oracle's accelerated investment. Nevertheless, the real prove point will be the next promise on that roadmap. It says: "3x Single Strand" for a T-Series CPU. By now, we all know that the name will probably be "T4". Rick Hetherington told us a while ago, that the chip will have 8 cores and will execute single threaded workloads up to 5 times faster than T3. That would be even more than the 3x promised by the roadmap. The only question that remains is: Will Oracle deliver?
While no one can tell until the chip and systems are actually announced, chances are good it will. Why else would Oracle invite customers to participate in a T4 Beta Program?
Back to the original question: What's the value of this new roadmap? Well, the foundation of trust, based on delivering on promises, looks good for that part of the roadmap arrow that's already past. Oracle delivered, and it delivered on time. That's more than some others can claim.
A little disclaimer to keep everyone happy: This is my personal view and not an official statement from Oracle.