Thursday Feb 27, 2014

Migrate from AIX to Oracle Solaris in 4 Easy Steps

Do you fear migration downtime for your always-on applications and increase in already long IT projects backlog? Overdue for an upgrade on your AIX/Power systems running Oracle technology and/or Oracle applications?

Simplify the Migration of Oracle Database and Oracle Applications from AIX to Oracle Solaris is a new white paper that explains in detail how to move from AIX to Oracle Solaris. It also has published results of Oracle Database migrations from AIX to Solaris, including the effort, duration, and benefits from actual systems migrations. Hear first-hand from customers who have simplified operations and benefited from UNIX advantages, by moving off IBM AIX systems onto Oracle’s cutting edge Oracle Solaris-powered platforms.

In four simple steps, you can migrate from AIX to Oracle Solaris and take advantage of Oracle’s “Hardware and Software Engineered to Work Together” to reduce cost, risk and improve the productivity of your application and business systems.

To learn more on AIX to Solaris Migration, visit oracle.com/aixtosolaris.

Friday Feb 07, 2014

CRN Names Oracle SuperCluster One of 10 Coolest Servers Of 2013

CRN recently gathered and reviewed computer systems of all shapes and sizes, including microservers, rack-mount servers, integrated systems, and even mainframes. The result is their list of 10 of the coolest server introductions for 2013 -- which includes the latest Oracle SuperCluster.

Oracle has lead the shift from stand-alone servers to converged (or engineered, in Oracle speak) systems, starting over five years ago with the Exadata Database Machine. That accelerated four years ago with the acquisition of Sun Microsystems, as well as the introduction of the Oracle SuperCluster over two years ago. Industry analysts now recognize Oracle's leadership role in this category.


The Oracle SuperCluster family is experiencing triple-digit growth, as customers are shifting their IT spend towards proven, high performance, integrated systems. The newest member of the Oracle SuperCluster family, the SuperCluster M6-32, builds on the existing architecture of Exadata storage servers integrated with compute and network servers that run the complete software stack of OS, database and applications, all of which are optimized for the SuperCluster architecture. It is this architecture, and the 32TB of main memory, that allows for both database and applications to be run completely in memory for optimal performance. Oracle SuperCluster systems are not just for running database and applications in memory, but also are ideal systems for Database-as-a-Service implementations, mission-critical Oracle Database deployments, consolidating enterprise application and database workloads on a single platform, and private cloud deployments.  

Oracle continues to lead the industry in converged systems, and it is nice that CRN has recognized the Oracle SuperCluster engineered system as one of the Top 10 Coolest Servers for 2013.

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.


Monday Jan 27, 2014

Oracle SuperCluster Optimizes IT Outsourcing Services for ATOS

ATOS, a leading international IT services outsourcing provider, has implemented Oracle SuperCluster as a complete, high-availability, multi-tenancy infrastructure, increasing performance, increasing profits, and providing higher services levels to customers.



With Oracle SuperCluster support for multi-tenancy through virtualization, and Oracle Exadata Storage engineered and performance optimized, ATOS significantly increased batch processing with more than 10x more IOPS with Oracle Exadata Storage X3-2.

[Read More]

Wednesday Apr 03, 2013

Unleash the Full Power of Oracle's new SPARC T5 and M5 Servers with Sun ZFS Storage Appliance

FDR wasn’t talking to storage architects when he famously said “We have nothing to fear but fear itself,” but with Oracle’s launch of powerful new SPARC servers, he could have been.  Just think, the SPARC T5-8 server packs up to 1,024 threads and 4TB of memory into 8U of rack space – a capability that up until a couple of years ago was reserved for the world’s fastest supercomputers. As a result, storage architects are concerned that their legacy NAS and SAN systems won’t be able to keep up with these new computational powerhouses. Is their fear justified?

The answer is an unequivocal “Yes, “but they can do something about it.

Over the years I’ve seen lots of companies stick with existing storage when they move to new, more powerful servers.  I understand the reasoning – they’re just running the same applications and databases, so they don’t need new storage.  But their users won’t use the applications in the same way  as before even if that was the plan.  For example, business intelligence apps will run faster, so end-users want to analyze larger problems or run more predictive models,  putting unforeseen pressure on the storage systems, which can easily lead to fear. 

To assuage your fear, you need to ensure that your new SPARC T5 servers are complemented by equally powerful storage systems that can keep up with the I/O loads the servers generate and yet be agile enough to change when application requirements dictate. The good news is that Oracle has a storage solution that meets these needs.

Oracle’s Sun ZFS Storage Appliance are specifically engineered to support the new SPARC servers with more compute threads to serve more concurrent I/O requests, more memory and Flash caches to efficiently serve massive numbers of VMs, and more memory bandwidth to move data through the system as it is needed.

And, it doesn’t stop there. 

Many of the SPARC T5 servers that we ship will run Oracle Database, and Oracle’s efforts to engineer hardware and software together extend beyond the database and the server to include the three-way optimization of Oracle software, Oracle servers, and Oracle storage.  

It only makes sense that Oracle would be able to engineer the best storage for Oracle Database and SPARC T5 systems.  There are many reasons why this is so, but three of the ones we highlight in our press release are:

1. Oracle Database benefits from high levels of parallelization in both SPARC T5 server and Sun ZFS Storage Appliances. 

2. Sun ZFS Storage Appliances are the only NAS systems that support Oracle Solaris Cluster and work with SPARC T5 systems to deliver sub-second application failover for mission-critical applications that experience a server or software problem. 

3. Sun ZFS Storage Appliances deliver multi-faceted I/O stack optimization for Oracle Database that that increase performance and simplify the creation and development of both production and test and development environments. 

The bottom line is that you can update your compute infrastructure independently of your storage and risk the consequences, or you can incorporate Sun ZFS Storage Appliances and get the only storage specifically engineered to optimize SPARC T5 environments.

To find out more about the Sun ZFS Storage Appliance and how it supports Oracle Database environments download the Transforming Business with Oracle Optimized Storage for Oracle Database 11g white paper and see how Oracle IT Relies on Sun ZFS Storage Appliance to power the Oracle Cloud.


Tuesday Nov 20, 2012

SPARC at 25: Past, Present and Future

Join us online to celebrate a quarter-century of innovation. Watch Scott McNealy, Bill Joy, and Andy Bechtolsheim along with other significant SPARC contributors discuss the challenges and rewards of consistently redefining the limits of enterprise IT. Hear Mark Hurd and John Fowler talk about the aggressive plans for SPARC’s future. All of this was recently captured in video at the SPARC anniversary event held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.

SPARC Anniversary

In addition to getting unique insights from the people behind 25 years of SPARC technology, you can access exclusive content and resources, read case studies and e-Books, view webcasts and infographics, and more.

Be sure to take some time to rediscover why and how SPARC was developed, the considerable impact it had on the entire IT industry, and the continuing innovations coming in the future.
http://www.oracle.com/go/?&Src=7618691&Act=721&pcode=WWMK12044691MPP051

Thursday Nov 15, 2012

The SPARC SuperCluster

Oracle has been providing a lead in the Engineered Systems business for quite a while now, in accordance with the motto "Hardware and Software Engineered to Work Together." Indeed it is hard to find a better definition of these systems. 

Allow me to summarize the idea. It is: 

  • Build a compute platform optimized to run your technologies
  • Develop application aware, intelligently caching storage components
  • Take an impressively fast network technology interconnecting it with the compute nodes
  • Tune the application to scale with the nodes to yet unseen performance
  • Reduce the amount of data moving via compression
  • Provide this all in a pre-integrated single product with a single-pane management interface

All these ideas have been around in IT for quite some time now. The real Oracle advantage is adding the last one to put these all together. Oracle has built quite a portfolio of Engineered Systems, to run its technologies - and run those like they never ran before. In this post I'll focus on one of them that serves as a consolidation demigod, a general purpose engineered system. 

As you probably have guessed, I am talking about the SPARC SuperCluster. It has many great features inherited from its predecessors, and it adds several new ones. Allow me to pick out and elaborate about some of the most interesting ones from a technological point of view. 

The SPARC SuperCluster

I. It is the SPARC SuperCluster T4-4. That is, as compute nodes, it includes SPARC T4-4 servers that we learned to appreciate and respect for their features:

  • The SPARC T4 CPUs:
    • Each CPU has 8 cores, each core runs 8 threads. The SPARC T4-4 servers have 4 sockets. That is, a single compute node can in parallel, simultaneouslyexecute 256 threads. Now, a full-rack SPARC SuperCluster has 4 of these servers on board. Remember the keyword demigod. 
    • While retaining the forerunner SPARC T3's exceptional throughput, the SPARC T4 CPUs raise the bar with single performance too - a humble 5x better one than their ancestors. 
      • actually, the SPARC T4 CPU cores run in both single-threaded and multi-threaded mode, and switch between these two on-the-fly, fulfilling not only single-threaded OR multi-threaded applications' needs, but even mixed requirements (like in database workloads!).
    • Data security, anyone? Every SPARC T4 CPU core has a built-in encryption engine, that is, encryption algorithms cast into silicon
    • A PCI controller right on the chip for customers who need I/O performance. 
  • Built-in, no-cost Virtualization: 
    • Oracle VM for SPARC (the former LDoms or Logical Domains) is not a server-emulation virtualization technology but rather a serverpartitioning one, the hypervisor runs in the server firmware, and all the VMs' HW resources (I/O, CPU, memory) are accessed natively, without performance overhead. 
    • This enables customers to run a number of Solaris 10 and Solaris 11 VMs separated, independent of each other within a physical server

II. For Database performance, it includes Exadata Storage Cells - one of the main reasons why the Exadata Database Machine performs at diabolic speed. What makes them important?

  • They provide DB backend storage for your Oracle Databases to run on the SPARC SuperCluster, that is what they are built and tuned for DB performance. 
  • These storage cells are SQL-aware
    • That is, if a SPARC T4 database compute node executes a query, it doesn't simply request tons of raw datablocks from the storage, filters the received data, and throws away most of it where the statement doesn't apply, but provides the SQL query to the storage node too. The storage cell software speaks SQL, that is, it is able to prefilter and through that transfer only the relevant data. With this, the traffic between database nodes and storage cells is reduced immensely. Less I/O is a good thing - as they say, all the CPUs of the world do one thing just as fast as any other - and that is waiting for I/O. 
    • They don't only pre-filter, but also provide data preprocessing features - e.g. if a DB-node requests an aggregate of data, they can calculate it, and handover only the results, not the whole set. Again, less data to transfer. 
  • They support the magical HCC, (Hybrid Columnar Compression). That is, data can be stored in a precompressed form on the storage. Less data to transfer. 
  • Of course one can't simply rely on disks for performance, there is Flash Storage included there for caching. 

III. The low latency, high-speed backbone network: InfiniBand, that interconnects all the members with:

  • Real High Speed: 40 Gbit/s. Full Duplex, of course. Oh, and a really low latency. 
  • RDMA. Remote Direct Memory Access. This technology allows the DB nodes to do exactly that. Remotely, directly placing SQL commands into the Memory of the storage cells. Dodging all the network-stack bottlenecks, avoiding overhead, placing requests directly into the process queue. 
  • You can also run IP over InfiniBand if you please - that's the way the compute nodes can communicate with each other. 

IV. Including a general-purpose storage too: the ZFSSA, which is a unified storage, providing NAS and SAN access too, with the following features: 

  • NFS over RDMA over InfiniBand. Nothing is faster network-filesystem-wise. 
  • All the ZFS features onboard, hybrid storage pools, compression, deduplication, snapshot, replication, NFS and CIFS shares
  • Storageheads in a HA-Cluster configuration providing availability of the data 
  • DTrace Live Analytics in a web-based Administration UI
  • Being a general purpose application data storage for your non-database applications running on the SPARC SuperCluster over whichever protocol they prefer, easily replicating, snapshotting, cloning data for them. 

There's a lot of great technology included in Oracle's SPARC SuperCluster, we have talked its interior through. As for external scalability: you can start with a half- of full- rack SPARC SuperCluster, and scale out to several racks - that is, stacking not separate full-rack SPARC SuperClusters, but extending always one large instance of the size of several full-racks. Yes, over InfiniBand network. Add racks as you grow. 

What technologies shall run on it? SPARC SuperCluster is a general purpose scaleout consolidation/cloud environment. You can run Oracle Databases with RAC scaling, or Oracle Weblogic (end enjoy the SPARC T4's advantages to run Java). Remember, Oracle technologies have been integrated with the Oracle Engineered Systems - this is the Oracle on Oracle advantage. But you can run other software environments such as SAP if you please too. Run any application that runs on Oracle Solaris 10 or Solaris 11. Separate them in Virtual Machines, or even Oracle Solaris Zones, monitor and manage those from a central UI.

Here the key takeaways once again:

The SPARC SuperCluster:

  • Is a pre-integrated Engineered System
  • Contains SPARC T4-4 servers with built-in virtualization, cryptography, dynamic threading
  • Contains the Exadata storage cells that intelligently offload the burden of the DB-nodes 
  • Contains a highly available ZFS Storage Appliance, that provides SAN/NAS storage in a unified way
  • Combines all these elements over a high-speed, low-latency backbone network implemented with InfiniBand
  • Can grow from a single half-rack to several full-rack size
  • Supports the consolidation of hundreds of applications

To summarize: All these technologies are great by themselves, but the real value is like in every other Oracle Engineered System: Integration. All these technologies are tuned to perform together. Together they are way more than the sum of all - and a careful and actually very time consuming integration process is necessary to orchestrate all these for performance. The SPARC SuperCluster's goal is to enable infrastructure operations and offer a pre-integrated solution that can be architected and delivered in hours instead of months of evaluations and tests. The tedious and most importantly time and resource consuming part of the work - testing and evaluating - has been done. 

Now go, provide services.  

-- charlie  

[Read More]

Thursday Oct 18, 2012

Consolidating Oracle E-Business Suite R12 on Oracle's SPARC SuperCluster

Oracle Optimized Solution for Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) R12 12.1.3 is now available on oracle.com.

The Oracle Optimized Solution for Oracle E-Business Suite

This solution uses the SPARC SuperCluster T4-4, Oracle’s first multi-purpose engineered system.  Download the free business and technical white papers which provide significant relevant information and resources. 

What is an Optimized Solution?

Oracle Optimized Solutions are fully documented architectures that have been thoroughly tested, tuned and optimized for performance and availability across the entire stack on a target platform. The technical white paper details the deployed application architecture along with various observations from installing the application on target platform to its behavior and performance in highly available and scalable configurations.

Oracle E-Business Suite R12 and Oracle Database 11g

Multiple Oracle E-Business Suite  application modules were tested in this Oracle Optimized Solution -- Financials (online - Oracle Forms & Web requests), Order Management (online - Oracle Forms & Web requests) and HRMS (online - Web requests & payroll batch).

Oracle Solaris Cluster and Oracle Real Application Cluster deliver the the high availability on this solution. 

High Availability on SPARC SuperCluster

To understand the behavior of the architecture under peak load conditions, determine optimum utilization, verify the scalability of the solution and exercise high availability features, Oracle engineers tested the Oracle E-Business Suite and Oracle Database all running on a SPARC SuperCluster T4-4 engineered system. The test results are documented in the Oracle Optimized Solution white papers to provide general guidance for real world deployments. 

Questions & Requests

For more information, visit Oracle Optimized Solution for Oracle E-Business Suite page. If you are at a point where you would like to actually test a specific Oracle E-Business Suite application module on SPARC T4 systems or an engineered system such as SPARC SuperCluster, please contact Oracle Solution Center.

Thursday Oct 04, 2012

Bring 2 GB Large Pages to Solaris 10

Few facts:

  • 8 KB is the default page size on Oracle Solaris 10 and 11 as of this writing
  • Both hardware and software must have support for 2 GB large pages
  • SPARC T4 processors are capable of supporting 2 GB pages
  • Oracle Solaris 11 kernel has in-built support for 2 GB pages
  • Oracle Solaris 10 has no default support for 2 GB pages
  • Memory intensive 64-bit applications may benefit the most from using 2 GB pages

Prerequisites:

Steps to enable 2 GB large pages on Oracle Solaris 10:

  1. Install the latest kernel patch or ensure that 147440-04 or later was installed

  2. Add the following line to /etc/system and reboot
    • set max_uheap_lpsize=0x80000000

  3. Finally check the output of the following command when the system is back online
    • pagesize -a

    eg.,
    % pagesize -a
    8192		<-- 8K
    65536		<-- 64K
    4194304		<-- 4M
    268435456	<-- 256M
    2147483648	<-- 2G
    
    % uname -a
    SunOS jar-jar 5.10 Generic_147440-21 sun4v sparc sun4v
    

Also See:

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

Conclusion

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.

Friday Aug 24, 2012

Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure for Dummies eBook

Are you considering "going to the cloud" as a way to cut IT costs and maximize your virtualization investments? Then Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure for Dummies is a no-nonsense guide to help you navigate this hot topic. This user friendly guide explains how to cut through the noise and take advantage of integrated virtualization and management tools to implement a cloud infrastructure that not only lowers operational costs but that can easily adapt and scale to run a broad range of application services safely and securely.

This e-book will serve as a valuable Cloud computing guide covering important topics such as:

p_dlg_id=11847803&src=7618000&Act=8" title="DOWNLOAD">Download your exclusive copy of Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Oracle Special Edition today.

Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Oracle Special Edition

About

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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