Wednesday Nov 18, 2015

Amazing Results on SPARC T7 by MSC Software

Leo Kilfoy, General Manager at MSC Software, spoke to us on video at Oracle OpenWorld 2015 about the "amazing results" his company is seeing in recent tests on the Oracle SPARC T7 processor.  MSC is seeing SPARC T7 throughput peaking out at over a 2x improvement over some of the SPARC and Intel processors they have used in the past. 

In recent tests with Oracle engineers, MSC Software was able to perform a remarkable 60,000 simulations in a single day by consolidating 12 instances of SimManager onto a single core of the SPARC T7 processor, which was also supporting the Oracle Database.  SimManager is MSC Software’s engineering simulation technology, and is a very database intensive application, which made these results even more compelling.

Watch this 5-minute video to learn more about how MSC Software found SPARC T7 to be extremely scalable and able to deliver better core-to-core throughput than an Intel Xeon X5 v3 server running a SimManager workload.

[Read More]

Friday Nov 06, 2015

Webinar: Why Software In Silicon?

Oracle Academy is offering an exciting opportunity to learn about the design principals behind the revolutionary Software in Silicon technology which is at the core of Oracle's SPARC M7 microprocessor chip design.  In this LIVE panel discussion with senior executives from the software and hardware side of Oracle's systems business, you will gain insights into the strategy and thinking behind Oracle’s dramatic re-design of computer chip architecture, as well as be able to ask questions to be addressed live by the panel members.

Course Title:    What Happens When Software Moves Into Silicon (Webinar Replay)
Target Audience:  University students, Oracle customers & partners
Event Date:    November 11, 2015
Event Time:    9:00-10:00am (Pacific Time)

Putting software onto the computer chip (Software in Silicon) is a revolutionary new technology which will fundamentally change the way computer systems are built in the future.  For over five years now Oracle has been investing in improving the Oracle software applications by embedding software technology into the microprocessor -- for better performance, lower cost, higher system availability, and most important of all -- securing the cloud from intruders. Oracle processor engineers have worked closely with their software engineers, in particular the database experts, in hard-wiring capabilities specific to application processes and performance onto the processor—hence the “Software in Silicon” moniker. This webinar will explore what happens when software moves into silicon, as well as providing practical examples of innovative features this new technology brings to the market.

Here are a couple of pre-webinar viewings to wet your appetite:

Forbes: The Breakthrough Technology That Will Turbocharge Big Data And Cloud Computing
Forbes: 10 Reasons Software On Silicon Redefines Enterprise Computing
Youtube (start at 0:00): M7 - Breakthrough Processor and System Design with SPARC M7

Tuesday Nov 03, 2015

OpenWorld 2015 Recap - Secure Cloud

Even if you attended all 5 days of Oracle OpenWorld (OOW) 2015 this past week, there was WAY more content and goings on over the span of 5 days than one could possibly hope to keep track of. 

But if I had to sum it all up in two words for our partners, it would be "Secure Cloud".

"We are in the middle of a generational shift in computing that is no less important than our shift to personal computing..."  Larry Ellison, Oracle OpenWorld Keynote

Looking like he was nearing his 40th birthday, a vibrant Larry Ellison kicked things off on Sunday night with a theme around Cloud, which pretty much set the tone for the week to come, and followed with more than a dozen announcements around Oracle Cloud services and capabilities.  The cloud drum beat continued throughout the week with pretty much all of the executive keynote presentations.  Here are just a couple of quotes I captured in the few I was able to catch:

- “cloud is the biggest change happening to infrastructure in 25 or so years...”  Dave Donatelli
 - “having a public cloud is a requirement for future success...”  Dave Donatelli
 - "we now have virtually 100% of our portfolio rewritten, rebuilt, and modernized for the cloud…” Mark Hurd

Mark Hurd's Monday morning keynote (Vision 2025: Digital Transformation in the Cloud) included a series of IT predictions for 2025:

 - 80 percent of all production apps will be in the cloud. (Today, Hurd noted, it's about 25 percent.)
 - 100 percent of dev tests will be in the cloud.
 - Virtually all enterprise data will be in the cloud.
 - Enterprise clouds will be the most secure IT environments.

So, lets pause here for a minute and look at just how dramatically this is changing business today.
I saw a presentation recently at an industry conference which underscored this perspective. 

4 simple examples -- think about this:

- the largest car rental company in the world has no cars (Uber)
- the largest retailer in the world has no stores (Amazon)
- the largest hotel chain in the world has no hotels (Airbnb)
- the world's most popular media owner creates no content (Facebook)

Clearly a significant power shift is taking place, and disruptors like Airbnb and Uber are leveraging IT to achieve incredible market caps and growth multiples previously unheard of!  This begs the question --- who is going to be around to supply the infrastructure for these clouds and how will they do it!?

Dave Donatelli even played into this point by highlighting key events in the IT industry that are happening because of this shift to the cloud:

- IBM sells its x86 server business to Lenova for $2.3B and pays GlobalFoundries $1.5B to take chip unit
- Dell, Riverbed, Veritas  — all go private
- HP splits in two in a sign of changing times for hardware giants
- Dell buys EMC for $67B (the largest tech deal EVER)

Larry Ellison's 2nd keynote on Tuesday afternoon delivered a compelling argument that Oracle is uniquely positioned to steal this show by focusing on the cloud and shifting the focus of infrastructure to security.   "The biggest concern we have as an industry is security", said Ellison, as he unveiled the new SPARC M7 software in silicon offering.  I would recommend watching the positioning Larry used in the first 30 minutes of this keynote to understand the importance of this theme around secure infrastructure:  The Secure Cloud by Larry Ellison

Wednesday morning then featured 2 keynote presentations which dug into the meat of this infrastructure strategy by Oracle.   John Fowler (EVP for Systems) and Juan Loiza (SVP for Oracle Systems Technology) reviewed this security strategy around Oracle's all-new family of SPARC systems built on the revolutionary 32-core, 256-thread SPARC M7 microprocessor with "Always On" Security in Silicon.  Don't miss the replay on this presentation (below), which provides a detailed overview of how the new SPARC M7 processor-based systems, including the Oracle SuperCluster M7 engineered system, SPARC T7 and M7 servers, and Oracle Solaris 11.3, are designed to seamlessly integrate with existing infrastructure and include Always On security for the cloud.  Here is a ~1 minute segment of John Fowler's representation of the Heartbleed and Venom threats and how SPARC M7's Silicon Secured Memory protection can prevent them.

- The New Era of Secure Computing and Convergence with Oracle Systems by John Fowler and Juan Loiza

Oracle has plenty of customer and partner testimonies on these new systems, 20 new world record benchmarks, and videos from partners and customers which demonstrate why these new servers are such a very big deal to the infrastructure needs of the secure cloud (see summary here).  But returning to Ellison's comments on Tuesday afternoon, the powerful message is around the dramatic innovations Oracle has made with software in silicon on the SPARC M7 processor, especially around the topic of Security.

At Oracle, we think the strategy of pushing software features into silicon is how to get ahead of the bad guys, and new features like Silicon Secured Memory (always on memory protection in hardware) is something our customers see as a clear differentiator for infrastructure in the cloud.  Security has become a #1 concern of our customers.  "We think that going forward, customers are going to be more interested in how a system and application runs encrypted, than you are going to want to know how it runs in the clear, because that's how you are going to be running your datacenter."   John Fowler, EVP, Systems

Why not try it out and see for yourself?
Oracle now offers partners, customers and university researchers access to a Software in Silicon Cloud, which provides developers a secure and ready-to-run virtual machine environment to install, test, and improve their code in a SPARC M7/T7 system running Oracle Solaris.

Thursday Sep 17, 2015

Virtualization Monitoring in Solaris Zones

Much has been written about the built-in virtualization capabilities of Oracle Solaris Zones, which allow users to isolate software applications and services using flexible, software-defined boundaries in Solaris.  Unlike hypervisor-based virtualization, Oracle Solaris Zones technology provides a very low-overhead, low-latency environment, which gives the appearance of multiple OS instances rather than multiple physical machines. This makes it possible to create hundreds (or even thousands) of zones on a single system, without the performance penalty which is inherent in hypervisor-based virtualization technologies.

As these Solaris Zones proliferate, it often can be necessary to restrict and monitor resource utilization of the virtual machines.  A NEW white paper has now been published (Virtualization Monitoring in Solaris Zones) doing exactly that!

This technical white paper describes the opportunities for restricting resource usage of Oracle Solaris Zones, and for monitoring the different zone types from within the global zone. 

The technical content of this white paper is divided into 5 separate Solaris zones environments:

1) Resource Controlling of Oracle Solaris Zones
2) Monitoring Default Zones in Oracle Solaris 11
3) Monitoring Oracle Solaris 10 Zones
4) Monitoring Oracle Solaris Kernel Zones (technical article)
5) Using OpenStack for Monitoring Oracle Solaris Zones

Monday Jul 06, 2015

HELP!! Solaris Technical Support for Developers

Help!",  the 1965 song by the Beatles (click on the album) that served as the title for both the 1965 film and its soundtrack album was reportedly written by John Lennon, and was a direct reflection of the Beatles' astronomical rise to success in the mid-1960's.

 "The whole Beatles thing was just beyond comprehension. I was subconsciously crying out for help",

stated John Lennon in a 1980 interview.

Help, I need somebody
Help, not just anybody
Help, you know I need someone, HELP!!

Well, we'd better not go too far down that path to 1965... 

but, DID YOU KNOW that our Solaris developers get free technical HELP under the Oracle PartnerNetwork (Gold level members and above) for any questions regarding development of their applications on Oracle Solaris 11!? 

Yes, great news.  But most importantly, to coin a line from our theme song, its not just ANY body who is providing that help. 

Lets be clear that this is NOT a call center in the middle east.  At Oracle we have a team of senior ISV Engineers who respond directly to these questions from our OPN partners.  These engineers are trained professionals who support our ISV's on a daily basis for technical validation and support of the their application on Oracle Solaris.  In other words, this is their job.  And in doing this, they are involved in all kinds of technical support topics with Solaris developers and are extremely knowledgeable in the intricacies of making sure that the ISV application runs BEST on Oracle Solaris. 

Here are just a couple examples of the types of support they are trained to provide:

  • Checking application compatibility with Oracle Solaris
  • Certifying application with Oracle Solaris
  • Optimizing application performance
  • Ensuring application stability & reliability
  • Determining the Oracle Solaris readiness of your application
  • Helping you install Oracle VM Templates for Oracle Solaris
  • Utilizing Dynamic Tracing Facility (DTrace) to understand better how your system is operating
  • Providing migration assistance to Oracle Solaris from Red Hat Linux, IBM AIX, HPUX and others
  • Helping you get access to Oracle Solaris systems in a secure cloud-based environment

Want to try it out?  Its as simple as sending one email to this alias:

As long as you are an OPN member (Gold level and above), we guarantee you no longer than a 48 hour turnaround.   Check it out right off our OPN page for Solaris Developers:

Solaris Adoption Technical Assistance

Lennon wrote the lyrics of the song to express his stress after the Beatles' quick rise to success.

"I was fat and depressed and I was crying out for 'Help," said Lennon.

No need for our Solaris Developers to get fat and depressed -- get HELP now -- and you'll see that Oracle's ISV Engineering team is definitely not "just ANY body"!

About the photograph:  I ran across the "Help" album in the very cool Downtown Local coffee shop in Pescadero, California and photographed it on my trusty iPhone.


How open innovation and technology adoption translates to business value, with stories from our developer support work at Oracle's ISV Engineering.



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