Tuesday Jun 02, 2015

Oracle’s New Four-Socket Flash-Optimized x86 Server

We are excited to announce the release of our new four-socket x86 server, Oracle Server X5-4, based on Intel’s Haswell-EX processors.  Designed with Oracle operating systems, Oracle virtualization, and Oracle Database in mind, this is the most powerful four-socket x86 server we’ve ever built.  

With the highest reliability, availability, and serviceability features in the four-socket space, Oracle Server X5-4 is the ideal x86 platform for consolidating enterprise applications and for running in-memory databases that require large amounts of memory and I/O.


Once again, Oracle has teamed up with Intel to deliver a unique processor SKU, Intel ® Xeon ® Processor E7-8895 v3, to provide our elastic computing capability.  This specially designed processor SKU effectively combines the capabilities of three different Intel Xeon processors into a single processor, allowing customers to choose between different core counts and frequencies based on the workload.  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 v3 processor with time without the need for a system level reboot.  

Like its two-socket cousins, Oracle Server X5-4 now supports  a new high-bandwidth flash technology known as NVM Express (NVMe).  Using an Oracle-unique design, we are able to improve the bandwidth to each flash drive by over 2.5 times, compared to conventional SSDs.  We achieved this by eliminating the SAS/SATA controller from the path completely.  



By bringing four PCIe lanes directly to the NVM Express SSD itself, we are able to provide 32 Gb/sec bandwidth to each drive.  That’s over 2.5x the bandwidth when compared to the 12 Gb/sec pipe of a conventional SAS3 SSD.  And, along with the additional bandwidth, we eliminate the protocol conversion to and from SAS, further reducing latency and boosting performance of transactional workloads.

We were able to accomplish this bandwidth breakthrough and also use standard Small Form Factor (SFF) drives.  Oracle’s NVM Express SSDs fit into the same drive bays as hard drives and conventional SSDs.  Oracle Server X5-4 supports up to four NVM Express drives in designated slots for a total capacity of 6.4 TB.  These slots connect through the disk back plan to an internal PCIe switch.

Most importantly, we’ve engineered a way to make these flash drives hot-pluggable.  This allows you to keep the server and database running even in the event of a NVM Express SSD replacement.

So why is this new flash technology so important when running Oracle software?  For Oracle Database, our NVM Express flash technology is optimized to accelerate Oracle Database using a feature called Database Smart Flash Cache.  This feature keeps recently accessed data warm in flash storage, reducing the chance that the database needs to fetch the data from slower magnetic media that may be direct attached or resident on a NAS/SAN fabric.   In addition to the high-bandwidth interface to the NVM Express SSDs, the flash technology itself has been engineered to be high-endurance and write-optimized for Oracle Database.

Oracle Server X5-4 supports 72 cores (or 144 threads), 6 TB memory, 7.2 TB HDD capacity, and contains 11 PCIe Gen 3 I/O expansion slots. It is also the most dense x86 server based off of the Intel Xeon E7 processors with its 3U chassis, allowing 40% higher rack-level core and DIMM slot density than the competition.  

To learn more about Oracle Server X5-4 you can find additional information including data sheets and white papers here

Josh Rosen is a Senior Principal Product Strategy 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.

Tuesday Dec 02, 2014

Oracle’s New Two-Socket x86 Servers with Oracle’s Unique NVM Express Design

Today Oracle announced the new Oracle Server X5-2 and Oracle Server X5-2L, based on the latest processors from the Intel® Xeon® E5-2600 v3 processor family, also known as the Intel Haswell-EP processors.  These are the most powerful two-socket servers we’ve ever made, and we are excited to share our most recent innovations. Both of these servers have been designed from the ground up for one purpose – to be the best two-socket servers for running Oracle software.

We have optimized the two servers for different Oracle workloads. Oracle Server X5-2 is ideal for running Oracle Database in a clustered configuration and also for high-density virtualization environments that require an optimal balance between core density, memory footprint, and I/O bandwidth. Oracle Server X5-2L, on the other hand, is the perfect platform for single-node databases and enterprise storage solutions requiring extremely reliability.

With Oracle Server X5-2 and Oracle Server X5-2L we introduce a new high-bandwidth flash technology known as NVM Express (NVMe). Using an Oracle-unique design, we are able to improve the bandwidth to each flash drive by over 2.5 times, compared to conventional SSDs. We achieved this by eliminating the SAS/SATA controller from the path completely.

By bringing four PCIe lanes directly to the NVM Express SSD itself, we are able to provide 32 Gb/sec bandwidth to each drive.  That’s over 2.5x the bandwidth when compared to the 12 Gb/sec pipe of a conventional SAS3 SSD.  And, along with the additional bandwidth, we eliminate the protocol conversion to and from SAS, further reducing latency and boosting performance of transactional workloads.

We were able to accomplish this bandwidth breakthrough and also use standard Small Form Factor (SFF) drives. Oracle’s NVM Express SSDs fit into the same drive bays as hard drives and conventional SSDs. For Oracle Server X5-2 and Oracle Server X5-2L, all of our 2.5-inch disk cages support up to four NVM Express drives in designated slots for a total capacity of 6.4 TB. These slots connect through the disk back plan to an internal PCIe switch.

Most importantly, we’ve engineered a way to make these flash drives hot-pluggable. This allows you to keep the server and database running even in the event of a NVM Express SSD replacement.

So why is this new flash technology so important when running Oracle software? For Oracle Database, our NVM Express flash technology is optimized to accelerate Oracle Database using a feature called Database Smart Flash Cache. This feature keeps recently accessed data warm in flash storage, reducing the chance that the database needs to fetch the data from slower magnetic media that may be direct attached or resident on a NAS/SAN fabric.  In addition to the high-bandwidth interface to the NVM Express SSDs, the flash technology itself has been engineered to be high-endurance and write-optimized for Oracle Database.

NVM Express can also be used to speed up Oracle Solaris and Oracle Solaris ZFS (the filesystem). By configuring ZFS hybrid storage pools to contain NVM Express SSDs, you can benefit from the tiered storage that is possible with the flexible storage options for Oracle Server X5-2L. ZFS will automatically maximize the storage performance by moving data between DRAM, NVM Express SSDs, and conventional hard drives.

To learn more about Oracle Server X5-2 and Oracle Server X5-2L, you can find additional information including data sheets and white papers here.

Josh Rosen is a Senior Principal Product Strategy 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.

Wednesday Jun 11, 2014

Oracle’s New Memory-Optimized x86 Servers: Getting the Most Out of Oracle Database In-Memory

With the launch of Oracle Database In-Memory, it is now possible to perform real-time analytics operations on your business data as it exists at that moment – in the DRAM of the server – and immediately return completely current and consistent data. The Oracle Database In-Memory option dramatically accelerates the performance of analytics queries by storing data in a highly optimized columnar in-memory format.  This is a truly exciting advance in database technology.

As Larry Ellison mentioned in his recent webcast about Oracle Database In-Memory, queries run 100 times faster simply by throwing a switch.  But in order to get the most from the Oracle Database In-Memory option, the underlying server must also be memory-optimized.

This week Oracle announced new 4-socket and 8-socket x86 servers, the Sun Server X4-4 and Sun Server X4-8, both of which have been designed specifically for Oracle Database In-Memory.  These new servers use the fastest Intel® Xeon® E7 v2 processors and each subsystem has been designed to be the best for Oracle Database, from the memory, I/O and flash technologies right down to the system firmware.

Amongst these subsystems, one of the most important aspects we have optimized with the Sun Server X4-4 and Sun Server X4-8 are their memory subsystems.  The new In-Memory option makes it possible to select which parts of the database should be memory optimized.  You can choose to put a single column or table in memory or, if you can, put the whole database in memory.  The more, the better.  With 3 TB and 6 TB total memory capacity on the Sun Server X4-4 and Sun Server X4-8, respectively, you can memory-optimize more, if not your entire database.  


Sun Server X4-8 CMOD with 24 DIMM slots per socket (up to 192 DIMM slots per server)


But memory capacity is not the only important factor in selecting the best server platform for Oracle Database In-Memory.  As you put more of your database in memory, a critical performance metric known as memory bandwidth comes into play.  The total memory bandwidth for the server will dictate the rate in which data can be stored and retrieved from memory. 

In order to achieve real-time analysis of your data using Oracle Database In-Memory, even under heavy load, the server must be able to handle extreme memory workloads.  With that in mind, the Sun Server X4-8 was designed with the maximum possible memory bandwidth, providing over a terabyte per second of total memory bandwidth.  Likewise, the Sun Server X4-4 also provides extreme memory bandwidth in an even more compact form factor with over half a terabyte per second, providing customers with scalability and choice depending on the size of the database.

Beyond the memory subsystem, Oracle’s Sun Server X4-4 and Sun Server X4-8 systems provide other key technologies that enable Oracle Database to run at its best.  The Sun Server X4-4 allows for up 4.8 TB of internal, write-optimized PCIe flash while the Sun Server X4-8 allows for up to 6.4 TB of PCIe flash.  This enables dramatic acceleration of data inserts and updates to Oracle Database.  And with the new elastic computing capability of Oracle’s new x86 servers, server performance can be adapted to your specific Oracle Database workload to ensure that every last bit of processing power is utilized.

Because Oracle designs and tests its x86 servers specifically for Oracle workloads, we provide the highest possible performance and reliability when running Oracle Database.  To learn more about Sun Server X4-4 and Sun Server X4-8, you can find more details including data sheets 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. 

Tuesday Jun 03, 2014

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.

Friday May 02, 2014

SPARC and Solaris Leadership in the Cloud

Oracle’s SPARC systems and Solaris OS are co-engineered to provide efficient virtualization technology. SPARC virtualization is “Built into Firmware” which reduces costs and improves performance.

Oracle has proved its virtualization performance advantages through rigorous public testing. SPEC1, the performance standards group, defined the SPECvirt_sc2010 benchmark to uniformly measure the end-to-end performance of all system components that make up a virtualized environment. The SPECvirt_sc2012 benchmark is a good indicator of virtualization performance, which is critical for any cloud environment.

Virtualization Performance


Figure 1. SPARC T5-2 is 2.3x faster in the SPECvirt_sc2010 benchmark versus the best VMware result on an HP BL620c G7 two-processor x86-based blade server.

Oracle’s SPARC T5-2 server running Oracle Solaris 11 delivered a two-socket world-record SPECvirt_sc2010 result of 4270 @ 264 VMs. This result demonstrates the superiority of Oracle’s SPARC T5 processors with Oracle Solaris virtualization and demonstrates the leadership SPARC servers provide in large-scale environments.

SPARC Customer Successes

Large Communications Provider utilizing the Oracle Optimized Solution for Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, running on SPARC T5 Servers, realized 2.5x faster virtual server deployment versus bare metal for faster time-to-user and administrative productivity.

Regional Water Company realized 7x better cost/performance for virtualized Java, and 2x faster data warehouse performance and order-entry transactions than IBM running Oracle Solaris, Database, Applications and Middleware on SPARC T5 servers with Oracle VM for SPARC versus competitive systems.

Oil and Gas Company running Oracle Database, PeopleSoft, and SAP on Oracle SPARC T5 servers achieved 3x faster provisioning of new services and OPEX savings of $2.8M using Oracle VM for SPARC.

Oracle SPARC T5-2 Server


Utilizing modular design architecture and powered by either one or two SPARC T5 processors—Oracle’s most powerful SPARC processors ever—the SPARC T5-2 server delivers exceptional single- and multi-thread performance. With 16 cores and 16 memory slots per SPARC T5 processor, the SPARC T5-2 server provides extreme compute density, with up to 32 cores and 1 TB of system memory within a 3U enclosure. Oracle has also proven that the SPARC T5-2 is the fastest server for Java applications, which is critical in many cloud deployments. The SPARC T5-2 is 1.8x faster than the best Intel 2-chip x86 E5 v2 Ivy-Bridge-based Cisco UCS C240 M3 server.2

Conclusion
The SPARC T5 server running Oracle Solaris 11 utilizes embedded virtualization products, such as the Oracle VM Server for SPARC and Oracle Solaris Zones, which provide a low overhead, flexible, scalable and manageable virtualization environment with no extra cost for customers that have Oracle premier support.

For more information about SPARC and Solaris performance, please visit http://www.oracle.com/benchmarks.

Benchmark Disclosures
1) SPEC and the benchmark names SPECvirt_sc are registered trademarks of the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC). Results from http://www.spec.org as of 3/6/2014. Solaris SPARC T5-2, SPECvirt_sc2010 4270 @ 264 VMs; VMware ESXi4.1 HP Proliant BL620c G7, SPECvirt_sc2010 1878 @ 120 VMs.

2) SPARC T5-2 114,492 SPECjbb2013-MultiJVM max-jOPS, 43,963 SPECjbb2013-MultiJVM critical-jOPS; Cisco UCS C240 M3 63,079 SPECjbb2013-MultiJVM max-jOPS, 23,797 SPECjbb2013-MultiJVM critical-jOPS.


This blog post is provided for information purposes only, and the contents hereof are subject to change without notice. This post is not warranted to be error-free, nor subject to any other warranties or conditions, whether expressed orally or implied in law, including implied warranties and conditions of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. We specifically disclaim any liability with respect to this document, and no contractual obligations are formed either directly or indirectly by this post. This post may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, for any purpose, without our prior written permission.

Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Intel and Intel Xeon are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation. All SPARC trademarks are used under license and are trademarks or registered trademarks of SPARC International, Inc. AMD, Opteron, the AMD logo, and the AMD Opteron logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group.

Saturday Feb 01, 2014

SPARC T5-2 Server Shatters Another World Record and Gets Single-Processor Configuration

Since their introduction last year, Oracle's T5 servers have topped performance metrics across enterprise workloads. The SPARC T5 server has just shattered another world record (see the latest SPECjEnterprise2010 2-socket benchmark result). In that test, the SPARC T5-2 server:

  • Showed the best performance per socket for a single system in the application tier (1)
  • Demonstrated 1.5 times higher performance compared to Oracle’s 2-socket Sun Server X4-2 systems, running Intel's E5-2600 v2 series processor (Ivy Bridge) (1)
  • Delivered 29% better performance (1) and 20% better price performance compared to a two-socket IBM PowerLinux POWER7+ processor-based server (2)

Another piece of good news is that Oracle is announcing that the SPARC T5-2 server is now offered in a single-processor configuration, making it easier to adopt Oracle's latest technology - see details here. Customers will now have options for deploying T5-based servers starting with 16 and going up to 128 cores. Complementing this server line-up, the SPARC T4-1 server provides an entry-level configuration with 8 cores, while the SPARC M6-32 system provides massive scalability up to 384 cores.




Footnote:

 (1) Results from www.spec.org as of 1/22/2014. SPARC T5-2, 17,033.54 SPECjEnterprise2010 EjOPS; IBM PowerLinux 7R2, 13,161.07 SPECjEnterprise2010 EjOPS; Sun Server X4-2, 11,259.88 SPECjEnterprise2010 EjOPS. The SPARC T5-2 server result represents the best performance per socket for a single system in the application tier of 8,516.77 SPECjEnterprise2010 EjOPS per socket. SPEC and the benchmark name SPECjEnterprise are registered trademarks of the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation.

(2) SPARC T5-2 configuration: Java EE server, 1 SPARC T5-2 server, 2 chips, 3.6 GHz SPARC T5, Oracle WebLogic 12c (12.1.2); Database server, 1 SPARC T5-2 server, 2 chips, 3.6 GHz SPARC T5, Oracle Database 12c (12.1.0.1). The SPARC T5-2 configuration cost is the total application and database server hardware plus software. List price is $613,052 from http://www.oracle.com as of 1/22/2014. IBM PowerLinux 7R2 configuration: Java EE server, 1 IBM PowerLinux 7R2, 2 chips, 4.2 GHz Power 7+, WebSphere Application Server V8.5; Database server: 1 IBM PowerLinux 7R2, 2 chips, 4.2 GHz Power 7+, IBM DB2 10.1 FP2. The IBM PowerLinux 7R2 configuration total hardware plus software list price is $588,970 based on public pricing from http://www.ibm.com as of 1/22/2014. Pricing does not include database storage hardware for IBM or Oracle.

Oracle, Solaris, and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle Corporation and/or its affiliates.


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Oracle engineers hardware and software to work together in the cloud and in your data center. For more information about Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL), visit www.oracle.com.

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