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.
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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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