Sunday Sep 30, 2012

Full Portfolio of x86 Systems On Display at Oracle OpenWorld

Oracle x86 Server

This OpenWorld, Oracle’s x86 hardware team will have two hardware demos, showcasing the new X3 systems, as well as several other x86 solutions such as the ZFS Storage Appliance, Oracle Database Appliance and the Carrier Grade NETRA systems. These two demos are located in the South Hall in Oracle’s booth 1133 and Intel’s booth 1101. 

The Intel booth will feature additional demos including 3D demos of each server, a static architectural demo, the Oracle x86 Grand Prix video game and the Intel Theatre featuring several presentations by Intel’s partners.

Oracle’s Intel Theatre Schedule and Topics Include:
1. 10:30 a.m. - Engineered to Work Together: Oracle x86 Systems in the Data Center
2. 12:30 a.m. - The Oracle NoSQL Database on the Intel Platform.
3. 1:30 p.m. - Accelerate Your Path to Cloud with Oracle VM
4. 3:30 p.m. - Why Oracle Linux is the Best Linux for Your Intel Based Systems
5. 4:30 p.m. - Accelerate Your Path to Cloud with Oracle VM
1. 10:00 a.m. - Speed of thought” Analytics using In-Memory Analytics
2. 1:30 a.m. - A Storage Architecture for Big Data:  "It’s Not JUST Hadoop"
3. 2:00 a.m. - Oracle Optimized Solution for Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure.
4. 2:30 p.m. - Configuring Storage to Optimize Database Performance and Efficiency.
5. 3:30 p.m. - Total Cloud Control for Oracle's x86 Systems
1. 10:00 a.m. - Big Data Analysis Using R-Programming Language
2. 11:30 a.m. - Extreme Performance Overview, The Oracle Exadata Database Machine
3. 1:30 p.m. - Oracle Times Ten In-Memory Database Overview

Top 5 Sites and Activities in San Francisco to Experience During Oracle OpenWorld

While Oracle OpenWorld may provide solutions and information on topics like how to simplify your IT, the importance of cloud, and what types of storage may satisfy your enterprise needs, who is going to tell you more about San Francisco?

Here are some suggested sites and activities to experience after OpenWorld that aren’t too far from the Moscone Center. It is recommended to take a cab for the sake of time, but the 6 square miles that make up San Francisco will make for a quick trek to any of the following destinations:

  1. The Golden Gate Bridge

    An image often associated with San Francisco, this bridge is one of the most impressive in the world. Take a walk across it, or view it from nearby Crissy Field, it is a sight that floors even the most veteran of San Franciscans.
  2. The Ferry Building
    Ferry Building
    Located at the end of Market Street in the Embarcadero, the Ferry Building once served as a hub of water transport and trade. The building has a bay front view and an array of food choices and restaurants. It is easily accessible via the Muni, BART, trolley or by cab. It is a must-see in San Francisco, and not too far from the Moscone Center.
  3. Ride the Trolley to the Castro
    For only $2, you can get go back in history for a moment on the Trolley. Take the F-line from the Embarcadero and ride it all the way to the Castro district. During the ride, you will get an overview of the landscape and cultures that are prevalent in San Francisco, but be wary that some areas may beg for an open mind more than others.
  4. Golden Gate Park
    Golden Gate Park
    When you tire of the concrete jungle, the lucky part of being in San Francisco is that you can escape to a natural refuge, this park being one of the favorites. This park is known for its hiking trails, cultural attractions, monuments, lakes and gardens. It is one good reason to bring your sneakers to San Francisco, and is also a great place to picnic. Please be wary that it is easy to get lost, and it is advisable to bring a map (just in case) if you go.
  5. Haight Ashbury
    Haight Ashbury
    For a complete change of scenery, Haight Ashbury is known as one of the places hippies used to live and the location of "The Summer of Love." It is now a more affluent neighborhood with boutique shops and the occasional drum circle. While it may be perceived as grungy in certain spots, it is one of the most photographed places in San Francisco and an integral part of San Franciscan history.

Thursday Sep 27, 2012

SPARC Servers at Oracle OpenWorld

SPARC Server Sessions at OpenWorld

There is plenty to learn about the SPARC servers at the Oracle OpenWorld. The SPARC server sessions offer depth and breadth in content selection to satisfy everyone's need from the one who is technically oriented to the one who would like to understand more about the business value of SPARC technology. And, there is always more. Keynotes, Oracle innovations and many product demonstrations are only a few of many other opportunities to interact with the product experts and executives to establish greater insight to the Oracle SPARC technology.

The Oracle SPARC Servers

Oracle's SPARC servers running Oracle Solaris are ideal for mission-critical applications that require high performance, best-in-class availability, and unmatched scalability on all application tiers.

With a robust roadmap, Oracle assures the highest levels of investment protection through 100% SPARC/Solaris binary compatibility, proven by hundreds of thousands of deployments over more than 20 year. 

Monday Sep 24, 2012

Unleash the Power of Cryptography on SPARC T4

by Rob Ludeman

Oracle’s SPARC T4 systems are architected to deliver enhanced value for customer via the inclusion of many integrated features.  One of the best examples of this approach is demonstrated in the on-chip cryptographic support that delivers wire speed encryption capabilities without any impact to application performance. 

The Evolution of SPARC Encryption

SPARC T-Series systems have a long history of providing this capability, dating back to the release of the first T2000 systems that featured support for on-chip RSA encryption directly in the UltraSPARC T1 processor.  Successive generations have built on this approach by support for additional encryption ciphers that are tightly coupled with the Oracle Solaris 10 and Solaris 11 encryption framework.  While earlier versions of this technology were implemented using co-processors, the SPARC T4 was redesigned with new crypto instructions to eliminate some of the performance overhead associated with the former approach, resulting in much higher performance for encrypted workloads.

The Superiority of the SPARC T4 Approach to Crypto

As companies continue to engage in more and more e-commerce, the need to provide greater degrees of security for these transactions is more critical than ever before.  Traditional methods of securing data in transit by applications have a number of drawbacks that are addressed by the SPARC T4 cryptographic approach.

SPARC T4 Eextends On-Chip Cryptography leadership

1. Performance degradation – cryptography is highly compute intensive and therefore, there is a significant cost when using other architectures without embedded crypto functionality.  This performance penalty impacts the entire system, slowing down performance of web servers (SSL), for example, and potentially bogging down the speed of other business applications.  The SPARC T4 processor enables customers to deliver high levels of security to internal and external customers while not incurring an impact to overall SLAs in their IT environment.

2. Added cost – one of the methods to avoid performance degradation is the addition of add-in cryptographic accelerator cards or external offload engines in other systems.  While these solutions provide a brute force mechanism to avoid the problem of slower system performance, it usually comes at an added cost.  Customers looking to encrypt datacenter traffic without the overhead and expenditure of extra hardware can rely on SPARC T4 systems to deliver the performance necessary without the need to purchase other hardware or add-on cards.

3. Higher complexity – the addition of cryptographic cards or leveraging load balancers to perform encryption tasks results in added complexity from a management standpoint.  With SPARC T4, encryption keys and the framework built into Solaris 10 and 11 means that administrators generally don’t need to spend extra cycles determining how to perform cryptographic functions.  In fact, many of the instructions are built-in and require no user intervention to be utilized.  For example, For OpenSSL on Solaris 11, SPARC T4 crypto is available directly with a new built-in OpenSSL 1.0 engine, called the "t4 engine."  For a deeper technical dive into the new instructions included in SPARC T4, consult Dan Anderson’s blog.

SPARC T4 Eextends On-Chip Cryptography leadership


In summary, SPARC T4 systems offer customers much more value for applications than just increased performance. The integration of key virtualization technologies, embedded encryption, and a true Enterprise Operating System, Oracle Solaris, provides direct business benefits that supersedes the commodity approach to data center computing.  

SPARC T4 removes the roadblocks to secure computing by offering integrated crypto accelerators that can save IT organizations in operating cost while delivering higher levels of performance and meeting objectives around compliance.

For more on the SPARC T4 family of products, go to here.

Thursday Sep 20, 2012

8 Reasons to Attend Oracle OpenWorld 2012

Oracle OpenWorld

Every year, the Oracle Hardware team recognizes the unique buzz that accompanies the season of OpenWorld. During the late nights kept possible by the grace of caffeine combined with the stress and eagerness for the event to run smoothly, we like to remind ourselves of why all our hard work is going to pay off. So, now that we've registered, here are some of our top reasons that we’re excited for Oracle OpenWorld 2012:

  1. The Keynotes
    Just to name a few...Larry Ellison, Mark Hurd, Thomas Kurian, John Fowler and many more are speaking live. We're expecting to walk away from the keynotes with a new frame of reference on a vast array of hot topics.
  2. Networking
    Whether it's through means of the OpenWorld Lounges, social media, or bars and cafes around Moscone Center, we'll be surrounded by people who are experts in the hardware field.
  3. Hardware Sessions
    There are enough sessions to satisfy every Oracle hardware knowledge need.
  4. Hardware Experts in General
    So many experts that we wish we could be in two places at once sometimes.
  5. Pearl Jam & Kings of Leon
    Rock out with these two legendary bands at the Oracle Appreciation Event!
  6. Oracle Music Festival
    Joss Stone, Macy Gray, the Hives, and Jimmy Cliff will be welcome escapes at the end of each day at OpenWorld, and are just a couple more reasons these all nighters before OpenWorld are worth it.
  7. ORACLE TEAM USA and the America's Cup trophy
    After the sailors take on San Francisco Bay for Fleet Week, we’ll be soliciting them for autographs and taking pictures with them at OpenWorld.
  8. Location, Location, Location
    The Moscone Center is beautiful and in the best location in San Francisco. We know the OpenWorld hype will get to us sometimes, and it's nice to know that we have pretty much everything San Francisco has to offer at our finger tips.

Why are you excited for #OOW? Tell us why!

Wednesday Sep 19, 2012

Storage Forum at Oracle OpenWorld

For anyone attending Oracle OpenWorld and involved in Storage, join us at the Storage Forum & Reception. This special engagement offers you the ability to meet Oracle’s top storage executives, architects and fellow storage colleagues.

Storage Forum

Features include interactive sessions and round-table discussions on Oracle's storage strategy, product direction, and real-world customer implementations. It’s your chance to ask questions and learn first-hand about Oracle's response to top trends and what keeps storage managers up at night, including how to contain storage costs, improve performance, and ensure seamless integration with Oracle software environments.

Featured Speakers: Mike Workman, SVP of Pillar Axiom Storage Group; Phil Bullinger, SVP of Sun ZFS Storage Group; and Jim Cates, VP of Tape Systems Storage Group

Added Bonus: The Storage Forum will be followed by an exclusive Wine and Cocktail Reception where you can...

  • Meet and network with peers, and other storage professionals
  • Interact with Oracle’s experts in a fun and relaxed setting
  • Wind down and prepare for the Oracle Customer Appreciation Event featuring Pearl Jam and Kings of Leon

Date & Times:
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
3:30 – 5:00 p.m. Forum
5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Reception

Disclaimer: Space is limited, so register at as soon as possible!

If you want any more information, feel free to email

Sunday Sep 02, 2012

Introducing Oracle System Assistant

by Josh Rosen

One of the challenges with today's servers is getting the server up and running and understanding what all of the steps are once you plug the server in for the first time.

So many different pieces come into play: installing drivers, updating firmware, configuring RAID, and provisioning the operating system. All of these steps must be done before you can even start using the server.

Finding the latest firmware and drivers, making sure you have the right versions, and knowing that all the different software and firmware components work together properly can be a real challenge. If not done correctly, such as if you separately download disk firmware or controller firmware that doesn't match the existing OS drivers, you could experience bugs, performance problems, and incompatibilities. Gone are the days of having to locate the tools and drivers media that shipped with the server only to find out that newer versions of software and firmware are available on the web.

Oracle has solved these challenges in the new X3-2 family of servers by introducing Oracle System Assistant. Oracle System Assistant is an innovative tool that is built-in to every new x86 server. It provides step-by-step assistance with configuring the server, updating firmware and drivers, and provisioning the operating system. Once you have completed all of the steps in the Oracle System Assistant tool, the server is ready to use. Oracle System Assistant

Oracle System Assistant was designed to be easy and straightforward. Starting it is as simple as pressing F9 when the server is booting. You'll need a keyboard, monitor, and mouse or you can use the remote console feature of Oracle ILOM (Integrated Lights Out Manager) to access a virtual KVM to the server from any machine. From there Oracle System Assistant will walk you through each of the steps necessary to set up your server.

After configuring the network settings for Oracle System Assistant, the next step is to check for any new software or firmware for the server. Oracle System Assistant connects back to Oracle using your My Oracle Support account and downloads any updates that were made available to you for this specific server.

This is where you really start to see the innovation that went into Oracle System Assistant. Firmware for Oracle ILOM and BIOS, operating system drivers, and other system firmware (including for option cards and disk drivers) come as a single bundle, downloading as a single unit, that has been engineered and tested to work together by Oracle. Oracle System Assistant figures out the right combination for your server, so you don't have to.
Now that the server has the latest firmware, Oracle System Assistant will next walk you through configuring the hardware. From Oracle System Assistant, you can configure many Oracle ILOM settings, including the network settings and initial user accounts. This ensures that ILOM is accessible and ready to use.
OSA ScreenshotOracle System Assistant is where all parts of the server come together. In addition to communicating with Oracle ILOM and interacting with BIOS, Oracle System Assistant understands and can configure the storage subsystem. Before installing the operating system, Oracle System Assistant can detect the storage configuration and configure RAID for all disks in the system.

At this point, the server is ready to be provisioned with the host operating system. You can use Oracle System Assistant to provision a supported OS, including Oracle Linux, Oracle VM, RHEL, SuSe Linux, and Windows. And by using Oracle System Assistant, you can be sure that the proper OS drivers are installed for each of the installed hardware components.

With Oracle System Assistant, initial setup of the server has never been easier. If we can innovate around problems and find solutions to make our servers easier to manage, this reduces IT costs and makes managing servers simpler. I think with Oracle System Assistant we have done just that.

Josh Rosen is a Principal Product Manager at Oracle and previously spent more than a decade as a developer and architect of system management software. Josh has worked on system management for many of Oracle's hardware products ranging from the earliest blade systems to the latest Oracle x86 servers.


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