Oracle’s Sun Server X4-8 with Built-in Elastic Computing

We are excited to announce the release of Oracle's new 8-socket server, Sun Server X4-8. It’s the most flexible 8-socket x86 server Oracle has ever designed, and also the most powerful. Not only does it use the fastest Intel® Xeon® E7 v2 processors, but also its memory, I/O and storage subsystems are all designed for maximum performance and throughput. Like its predecessor, the Sun Server X4-8 uses a “glueless” design that allows for maximum performance for Oracle Database, while also reducing power consumption and improving reliability.

Sun Server X4-8

The specs are pretty impressive. Sun Server X4-8 supports 120 cores (or 240 threads), 6 TB memory, 9.6 TB HDD capacity or 3.2 TB SSD capacity, contains 16 PCIe Gen 3 I/O expansion slots, and allows for up to 6.4 TB Sun Flash Accelerator F80 PCIe Cards. The Sun Server X4-8 is also the most dense x86 server with its 5U chassis, allowing 60% higher rack-level core and DIMM slot density than the competition. 

There has been a lot of innovation in Oracle’s x86 product line, but the latest and most significant is a capability called elastic computing. This new capability is built into each Sun Server X4-8.  

Elastic computing starts with the Intel processor. While Intel provides a wide range of processors each with a fixed combination of core count, operational frequency, and power consumption, customers have been forced to make tradeoffs when they select a particular processor. They have had to make educated guesses on which particular processor (core count/frequency/cache size) will be best suited for the workload they intend to execute on the server.

Oracle and Intel worked jointly to define a new processor, the Intel Xeon E7-8895 v2 for the Sun Server X4-8, that has unique characteristics and effectively combines the capabilities of three different Xeon processors into a single processor. Oracle system design engineers worked closely with Oracle’s operating system development teams to achieve the ability to vary the core count and operating frequency of the Xeon E7-8895 v2 processor with time without the need for a system level reboot. 

Performance Chart

Along with the new processor, enhancements have been made to the system BIOS, Oracle Solaris, and Oracle Linux, which allow the processors in the system to dynamically clock up to faster speeds as cores are disabled and to reach higher maximum turbo frequencies for the remaining active cores. One customer, a stock market trading company, will take advantage of the elastic computing capability of Sun Server X4-8 by repurposing servers between daytime stock trading activity and nighttime stock portfolio processing, daily, to achieve maximum performance of each workload.

To learn more about Sun Server X4-8, you can find more details including the data sheet and white papers here.

Josh Rosen is a Principal Product Manager for Oracle’s x86 servers, focusing on Oracle’s operating systems and software. He 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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