Wednesday Apr 08, 2015

IEEE Presents Prestigious SPARC Milestone Plaque in Front of SRO Crowd

On February 13, a standing room only crowd approaching 200 attendees at Oracle’s Santa Clara Auditorium watched as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) presented the prestigious Milestone plaque recognizing the technological achievements of the SPARC RISC Architecture for innovation and excellence. After being introduced by Uday Kapoor, Director of Hardware Development for Oracle and IEEE member, John Fowler, Oracle’s Executive Vice President Systems, thanked IEEE for recognizing SPARC “as an accomplishment which belongs on the same list as the CD player and the light bulb.”

IEEE 2015 President, Howard Michel presented the award and talked about the significance of the SPARC architecture and its impact on the future, “Built upon the work of UC Berkeley in creating the RISC microprocessor, the SPARC architecture proved readily adaptable in meeting evolving needs. They demonstrated how engineers, scientists and technologists have contributed to our global community, helping to build today’s advanced world.”

Professor David Patterson, who led the early design and implementation of what eventually became known as the SPARC architecture, reminisced from the stage about its magical beginnings, “There was just a buzz in the room, everyone was talking and at that remarkable moment in time it was clear that a dozen Berkeley graduate students could build a better microprocessor than Intel could build.”

Co-founder and CEO of Sun Microsystems which successfully commercialized the SPARC architecture, Scott McNealy, could not attend in person but his prerecorded statement reminded the audience that by leveraging the SPARC processor, Sun became the fastest tech company (at the time) to grow from $0 to $1B.

Andy Bechtolsheim, Sun co-founder (left), and John Fowler, Executive Vice President Systems at Oracle standing next to the IEEE Milestone plaque recognizing the SPARC RISC architecture for excellence and innovation.

While most of the dedication ceremony focused on past accomplishments, John Fowler made it clear that the SPARC architecture is still a leading technology which continues to advance and improve, "Fast forward to now and M7 (Oracle newest SPARC processor) is in volume production: 20 nanometer technology, 700 (square) millimeters."

Immediately following the dedication ceremony, the IEEE Milestone plaque was unveiled in the Clock Tower on the Oracle campus where it now resides. Most of the attendees waited patiently in a long line to view the plaque up close and get pictures of themselves standing next to it.

View the video of ceremony:

Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvb1WZzrmBM

Full ceremony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkoZtOtwnQ0

To learn about the most recent SPARC processor breakthrough, please visit Oracle Innovation Spotlight.

Friday Feb 27, 2015

Introducing Oracle's Netra Modular System (NMS)

Introducing Oracle's Netra Modular System (NMS), a new systems architecture which merges bladed system concepts with rack mount server architectures, to create a new innovative next generation platform. We are really excited to finally announce this product which has been under development for several years. Where to begin? One of the driving design objectives has been to realize all the benefits that people like with bladed systems, like ease of scale with plug and play bladed servers; but to eliminate the constraints and issues that people have with bladed systems, such as limited blade area, cooling issues and technology evolution challenges. I'm happy to say that we've achieved that goal and then some. 


We also wanted to create a new architecture which addresses the new challenges in today's modern data center. Rapid scale, both physically and virtually is required. In Netra's traditional market, communications network data centers, an extension to commercial data center virtualization called Network Functions Virtualization is the hot topic for new infrastructure roll out. Using this approach to implementing traditional communications network functions holds the promise of providing much greater flexibility and rapid scale of network services while reducing hardware device costs as some functions become software based on general purpose servers. We believe Netra Modular System is a very attractive foundation platform for Network Function Virtualization Infrastructure.


You can see a demonstration of Netra Modular System at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona, Spain, Hall 3, Stand 3B20 - between March 2-5, 2015.

Monday Feb 09, 2015

Oracle to Receive IEEE Milestone Award for SPARC RISC Architecture

The SPARC Architecture IEEE Milestone Plaque unveiling recognizing the technological achievements of the SPARC RISC Architecture for innovation and excellence will be held on February 13, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. in the lobby of the Clock Tower on Oracle’s Santa Clara Campus. The plaque unveiling will be preceded by a dedication ceremony in the Oracle Auditorium beginning at 10:00 a.m. Speakers will include IEEE 2015 President Howard Michel, John Fowler, Executive Vice President, Systems, Oracle, and Professor David Patterson along with others instrumental in shaping the success of this highly impactful technology.


A History of Record Performance and Mission Critical Enterprise Capabilities
Sun Microsystems first introduced SPARC (Scalable Processor Architecture) RISC (Reduced Instruction-Set Computing) in 1987. Over the course of its life, the SPARC processor architecture has powered millions of servers and workstations, and is still a leading and highly valued technology today.
Closely integrated with the Oracle Solaris operating system, Oracle's SPARC-based systems provide customers extreme performance to maximize the up-time and ROI of mission-critical enterprise applications and cloud services—at a fraction of the cost of mainframe computers. With a long history of record-breaking performance, SPARC-based systems have achieved over 450 record benchmarks, with 32 currently standing. Today, the SPARC processor family is used in Oracle's enterprise servers to create architectures that are optimized for a powerful mix of applications, from CRM systems and Java/Web middleware infrastructure applications to mission-critical ERP and backend OLTP/data warehousing enterprise applications that depend on high availability and scalability.

SPARC Innovations Continue
Building on over 27 years of innovations and a long list of "firsts," Oracle continues to engineer record-breaking SPARC-based systems running Oracle Solaris. As first announced at Hot Chips 2014, Oracle’s new and revolutionary Software in Silicon technology hardwires key software processes directly onto the processor. Software in Silicon accelerates functions running on special engines on the processor's silicon, separate from its cores, and speeds up application performance while retaining the overall functionality of the processor.  

To attend the SPARC Architecture IEEE Milestone Plaque unveiling please register here.

Monday Dec 08, 2014

The Best Infrastructure for Your Private Cloud

There is still a Conventional Wisdom in IT that the way to architect private clouds is to use generic X86 servers, with open source software such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and virtualization software such as VMware. Oracle's technology creates a New Wisdom, in which a better infrastructure for building private clouds provides higher efficiency, more agility and flexibility, and ultimately better value.

Oracle's winning technology acts on three areas:

  • decreases the overhead on creating and running Virtual Machines (VMs), through a layered virtualization model
  • increases the number of VMs supported per server, while eliminating oversubscription, through processors with high hardware thread density
  • increases the agility and flexibility of managing Virtual Machine life cycle, while allowing for compliance guarantees

This blog entry describes in more detail how this is accomplished.

Tuesday Nov 25, 2014

The Best Virtualization and Life Cycle Management for Private Clouds

Virtualization started as a means for server consolidation in order to obtain better efficiency in IT infrastructure. Cost savings came from increased system utilization and reduced server hardware needed to support multiple workloads. However, as private clouds were increasingly deployed in modern data centers, there has been a sharp increase in the number of Virtual Machines that are managed. Many of these clouds have been architected with a hypervisor model supporting many operating system copies. This model actually creates issues of poor efficiency and high management overhead. In other words, IT managers are back again looking at the issue of how to improve the efficiency in their clouds. 

This blog entry describes how Oracle's layered virtualization model, and state-of-the-art life-cycle management, provides the ideal foundation for building efficient private clouds.


Thursday Oct 23, 2014

Game Changing Innovation with Power8?

On Monday, October 12, IBM announced their first Power8-based enterprise class systems and yet still did not deliver the full realization of its 12-core Power8 processor, previewed by IBM in August 2013. Potential customers should also really consider IBM's lack of deep-level optimization, as compared to Oracle and SPARC.

By opening Power to partner co-development, IBM has lost much of its ability to retain control of deep-level optimizations. Consider that IBM agreed to pay Globalfoundries Inc. $1.5 billion to take an unprofitable chip-manufacturing unit off its hands. It now makes much more sense as to why IBM is investing in partner add-on capabilities through CAPI (Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface), such as chips from NVIDIA, instead of investing in its own software in silicon enhancements like Oracle. And while Oracle was busy acquiring Sun, Pillar, Xsigo and more, IBM was divesting its networking, hard disk, x86 server business and most recently their chip manufacturing unit. 


From a product feature standpoint, consider that CAPI lacks the true software in silicon (as Oracle is doing with SPARC/Solaris) approach and co-engineered Hardware + Software solutions (such as Oracle ECI Solution for SPARC), from a workload optimization and total business solution standpoint. Customers increasingly state that they want and need optimized solutions for their data centers to reduce complexity and simplify data center management, as well as resource utilization. They need this to drive their time to value; Oracle delivers. With CAPI, who is going to test, support, and optimize for key customer workload environments – IBM? NVIDIA?

Why Invest with Oracle?  

  • Oracle has proven massive investments in its hardware and software portfolios
  • Oracle Servers, OS, and Storage's publicly committed forward-looking roadmap
  • Oracle's full stack, including industry-leading software solutions, enabling deep integration with software in silicon that customers can leverage
  • Oracle enables your business transformation

What do you think? Are these game changing innovations from IBM?

Thursday Oct 16, 2014

SPARC and Solaris Leadership in Security

Oracle’s SPARC systems and Oracle Solaris OS are co-engineered to provide efficient secure technology. SPARC security uses hardware accelerators to deliver leading performance.

Oracle leads in providing encryption and policy-based key management that ensure data protection for cloud and virtual environments. Oracle has proved its dramatic security performance advantages through rigorous testing. In the cloud a huge amount data needs to be encrypted. For data at rest, AES block-level encryption is FIPS 140-2 certified to support U.S. government agencies. The end-to-end performance of all system components that make up a virtualized environment.

AES Security Performance (per chip)

Figure 1. SPARC T5-2 is 2.5x faster on AES-128-CBC versus the best x86 E5 v2 result (with AES-NI) and 4.6x faster versus the IBM POWER8 result.

This result demonstrates the superiority of Oracle’s SPARC T5 processors with Oracle Solaris for security and demonstrates the leadership SPARC servers provide in large-scale secure cloud environments. With Solaris 11.2 command compliance provides system assessments against security/compliance benchmarks and generates actionable reports.

SPARC Customer Successes
Large Mobile TeleCommunications Provider
utilizing the SPARC T5-2 server, Oracle Solaris 11 and Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center realized the benefits of the feature functionality of Oracle core technology and the RAS capabilities of SPARC/Solaris.

Global Investment Management Firm needed to provide a platform to meet business needs during spikes and growth and encryption to meet 2016 requirements. The customer consolidated from 60 servers to just a few racks of SPARC T5-2, T5-4 and T5-8’s to provide Infrastructure as a service.

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.

Conclusion
The SPARC T5 server running Oracle Solaris 11 automatically utilizes hardware accelerators for security. Combined with the Oracle virtualization technologies such as the Oracle VM Server for SPARC and Oracle Solaris Zones, which provide a low overhead, flexible, scalable, manageable and secure 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) SPARC, x86 and POWER8 security performance: https://blogs.oracle.com/BestPerf/entry/20130925_crypto_t5_2_x4 and www.ibm.com/developerworks/ibmi/library/i-ibmi-7_2-and-ibm-power8 (fig 2)
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.

Thursday Oct 09, 2014

SPARC It Up! M7 Promises Once in a Generation Innovation

Oracle's microprocessor received a lot of coverage at Oracle OpenWorld 2014. The extreme performance, efficiency and optimization gains will rewrite the rules for price and performance value, plus speed the time it takes to deploy technology. Masood Heydari, SVP of Hardware Development at Oracle, provided an update to the SPARC M7 roadmap, first revealed at the Hot Chips conference in August 2014.

Click here to view Masood's "SPARC Server Strategy and Roadmap" presentation.

Software in Silicon
Heydari explained, "The goal of our strategy is to make Oracle engineered systems running on SPARC the best systems on which to run Oracle applications, period. That means optimizing around the best execution environment, best reliability, best management, etc." He emphasized Oracle has innovated on this strategy by placing software functions directly into the processor, calling them "software in silicon," an Oracle phrase that’ll be repeated as products featuring M7 near release. This design approach is where specific software functions are performed in hardware, enabling applications and operations to run faster. For example;

SPARC will incorporate in-memory query acceleration engines that take over certain database search functions so that database queries "speed up query performance by 10x and spit out results at the speed of memory," according to Larry Ellison.

Ellison made his first public appearance as Oracle's CTO and executive chairman of the board. He talked about the importance of doing things differently when running a database in memory. "Within the acceleration engine is decompression. When you compress and decompress data, the ratio of reading the data is 10 to 20 times more frequent than loading the data in memory. The magic to speeding things up isn’t compression, but decompression. We're processing data that runs at 120GB/second. That's a shocking number," and equivalent to 64 CPU cores.  

The most important innovation in the M7 is its new memory protection features. The computer will notify the developer when an application is tampering with another application. This "always on" memory protection is hard-wired in the silicon to defend against memory violations, speeding up software development and resulting in more secure and available applications. 

"It means applications can only access the memory they're supposed to access. Otherwise, the hardware will stop them" Ellison said. "Even smart programmers make mistakes and those mistakes can be really hard to find. Those are some of the hardest bugs to find. The failures are intermittent; they're extremely hard to trap. They're extremely hard to trace. With memory protection, you can discover those bugs really early, so it saves you a fortune in finding really difficult bugs. But the cool thing about it is because it's in hardware, you can leave this memory protection on without paying any performance price."  

The upcoming SPARC M7 will be available across the Oracle server product line in 2015. Tell us, which M7 features or applications do you look forward to?  

To learn more about SPARC technology, click here.


Rick O'Herron is the director of content strategy in Oracle's brand communications team.   

Sunday Sep 07, 2014

Oracle’s Software in Silicon


Earlier this month at the Hot Chips Symposium on High Performance Chips, Oracle announced its next generation M7 processor designed to supercharge in-memory computing. The 32-core M7, ‘the biggest and baddest SPARC processor that either Sun Microsystems or Oracle has ever created’, as referred to by Timothy Prickett Morgan of Enterprise Tech, will offer huge performance advantages and includes Software in Silicon features for Application Acceleration Support on each core.

Learn more about Oracle’s Software in Silicon strategy at Oracle OpenWorld 2014 in San Francisco (September 28-October 2) when Rick Hetherington, VP Hardware Development, discusses the latest advancements being made in SPARC to dramatically increase application performance, availability, and security. Rick’s session, ‘Oracle Software in Silicon Technical Deep Dive’ reveals the details on the next generation chip as told by one of Oracle’s most seasoned and respected processor architects. This is a ‘must see’ session for those companies interested in being the first to master and fully take advantage of these next generation technologies.

For details on all of the Oracle OpenWorld Server sessions, demos and labs see Focus On Oracle Servers.

Two Ways IBM Has Over-promised and Under-delivered with POWER8 to Date

IBM launched its first POWER8 systems in April 2014. So now that the dust has settled and the first systems have started shipping, let’s take stock of what IBM actually delivered with POWER8.

POWER8 Is More Than a Year Late
IBM has shown on previous roadmaps that it has a 3-year release cycle for new POWER generations. Following that cadence, IBM clearly missed its POWER8 release by more than a year, given that POWER7 systems started shipping the Spring of 2010 and the first POWER8 systems started shipping June 2014. 

Where Is AIX8?
We give IBM marketing credit for trying to re-spin a patched AIX7.1 (TL3 released November 2013) as their next generation OS, but the fact of the matter is that all IBM has added to the latest patch is basic enablement for the new hardware and rejigger their feature packaging a bit (e.g., more is now included in the higher cost enterprise edition of the OS).  

Further, there are few if any incremental functional improvements and no major new features planned even for its next impending patch release (TL4), which according to IBM’s AIX release history is still not yet available as of July 2014. However, the really critical point for anyone considering POWER8 is that AIX8 isn’t even on IBM’s public roadmap yet. Where is AIX8 and what exactly will IBM deliver?


FACT: AIX 7 TL3 last November just released “WPAR alt-disk install and rollback”. Solaris has provided similar technology, called Live Upgrade, since Solaris 10 was released in 2005.

FACT: Apparently per IBM’s roadmaps, AIX does not yet support SR-IOV, as it is shown as a future still, while Solaris has supported SR-IOV since 2010.

FACT: Consider all of the advantages Oracle just released in Solaris 11.2. Click here to see what’s new in 11.2. Just to give some examples…

  • Centralized cloud management with Oracle's OpenStack distribution. Integrated at the core of Oracle Solaris 11.2, deploy a private cloud instance in minutes instead of weeks.
  • Secure and agile application provisioning in the cloud with Unified Archives, a new archive format that allows total portability between bare metal and virtualized systems. Instant cloning in the cloud when you need it, to scale out or for reliable disaster recovery in emergencies.
  • No compromise virtualization with Oracle Solaris Zones enhanced. Oracle Solaris 11.2 brings an even greater level of flexibility with independent and isolated Kernel Zones.
  • Maintain SLAs with application driven Software Defined Networking, extending the network virtualization capabilities of Oracle Solaris. Elastic Virtual Switching ensures dynamic networks across your cloud environment with unprecedented agility.
  • Lower the effort of meeting compliance with an integrated and automated checking and report generation tool, reducing the time needed for compliance review by as much as 10x.

Tuesday Jun 10, 2014

The Ideal Platform for Oracle Database 12c In-Memory and in-memory Applications

Oracle SuperClusterOracle's SPARC M6 and T5 servers, Oracle Solaris, Oracle VM Server for SPARC, and Oracle Enterprise Manager have been co-engineered with Oracle Database and Oracle applications to provide maximum In-Memory performance, scalability, efficiency and reliability for the most critical and demanding enterprise deployments. The In-Memory option for the Oracle Database 12c, which has just been released, has been specifically optimized for SPARC servers running Oracle Solaris.


The unique combination of Oracle's M6 32 Terabytes Big Memory Machine and Oracle Database 12c In-Memory demonstrates 2X increase in OLTP performance and 100X increase in analytics response times, allowing complex analysis of incredibly large data sets at the speed of thought. Numerous unique enhancements, including the large cache on the SPARC M6 processor, massive 32 TB of memory, uniform memory access architecture, Oracle Solaris high-performance kernel, and Oracle Database SGA optimization, result in orders of magnitude better transaction processing speeds across a range of in-memory workloads.

[Read More]

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.

Friday Apr 25, 2014

Is IBM POWER8 a Smart(er) Choice?


On Wednesday, April 23, IBM announced new POWER8 systems at the OpenPower Forum. But IBM customers might be disappointed, as it appears that IBM is shifting its strategic R&D focus to Linux on POWER. IBM recently stated that they will “significantly reposition POWER8” and that they are trying to displace x86 with POWER8 in hyperscale/scale-out data center deployments. IBM seems to be re-aligning POWER8 to cover lost ground since it decided to de-invest in x86 entirely, while Oracle has instead adopted the strategy of adding/building value for enterprise environments and adding functionality to enhance customer experience (our software in silicon with SPARC processors, Oracle Solaris enhancements and Engineered Systems as examples). Ultimately IBM's strategy may lower the starting price, but IBM may not be able to sustain the model nor add significant net-new value longer term with POWER or AIX.

This represents a major shift in strategy and potentially a reduced investment in POWER AIX for the enterprise.

IBM’s hardware business is in a state of major transition. Is hardware even strategic to IBM? 

"They used to be a leader. Now they sell one business after the next. That is not a way to grow," said Fred Hickey, editor of The High-Tech Strategist newsletter who has followed IBM for 30 years. There is clear evidence that IBM is reducing investment in  hardware:

  • IBM sold their PC and Workstation business to Lenovo in 2005
  • IBM just closed their deal to sell off its x86 server business to Lenovo
  • IBM has retained Goldman Sachs to find a buyer for their chip fabrication facilities
  • IBM delivered only two POWER updates in the last four years
  • IBM doesn’t have a public POWER roadmap beyond POWER8 and AIX8

On the other hand, Oracle is doubling down on integrated hardware and software investments to support a long-term innovation roadmap and increased customer value:

  • Oracle increased investment in SPARC and Oracle Solaris delivering five generations of SPARC processors in four years, and doubling performance with each release
  • Oracle plans to release Solaris 11.2 next week, the world’s first cloud operating system coupled with the benefits of advanced virtualization, software-defined networking, and OpenStack integration
  • The SPARC roadmap now shows three future generations of SPARC processors through 2019
  • Oracle continues to invest heavily in a broad portfolio of Engineered Systems to simplify IT

Lots of Unanswered Questions
IBM leaves a lot of unanswered questions on what is going to happen next and whether its new strategy will add any real value:

  • IBM’s POWER strategy is complex and unclear with its new focus in the entry/scale-out market vs. the enterprise. What do current AIX/POWER customers do?
  • Can IBM and the OpenPOWER consortium deliver value with a complex multi-year effort to build a new ecosystem around design, manufacturing and software for the x86/scale out segment?
  • IBM is offering customers new hardware for Linux. What are the bottom line costs and benefits for migrating Linux applications running on x86 to POWER8? What is the value for Linux on POWER over x86? 
  • How does IBM plan on implementing future hardware/software optimization, i.e., PureSystems and PureFLEX, while at the same time pursuing a purely OpenStack model for POWER8? For that matter, what is IBM’s current strategy for PureSystems, given that it did not announce POWER8 Flex nodes and did not mention PureSystems at its recent earnings?

Given this radical new strategy and all the surrounding uncertainty and potential risk, do customers really want to continue to invest in POWER8 and AIX?

Stay tuned for more analysis, as IBM reveals more details about POWER8.


The following is intended to outline our general product direction. It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract. It is not a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions. The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described for Oracle’s products remains at the sole discretion of Oracle.

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.

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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