Ladies and gentlemen, it is an honour for us to announce: The SPARC T4 processors and the servers built around them are released.
Before we'd dive into the features, a short summary of our SPARC platform:
The M-Series are designed with Mainframe-class RAS features (Reliability, Availability, Serviceability). They are based on the Sparc64-VII+ CPUs, excelling at single threaded performance.
The T-Series are the CoolThread servers, with the CMT (chipmultithreading) design, they are designed to run heavily parallel workloads, concentrating on throughput, running up to 512 threads actively at the same time, if desired.
The latter category just got a brand new update, let's see, what makes the T4 special:
Just like Solaris 11 was greatly influenced by the community's requests, the T4 has been designed based on listening to customer feedback about previous (T2+, T3) processors:
Engineering has added:
Engineering has been working for a while on the new S3 cores, that have replaced previous generetion cores. The S3 core fulfills all the requirements, and more. It has a shared 4MB L3$, and a private L2$ on each core. It has out-of-order execution, which allows it to run non-dependent instructions parallelly out of call-order, proactively. With 8 next-gen S3 cores the T4 still matches the throughput of a T3 (which had 16 cores), and still brings a 5x higher single thread performance compared to T3. (By the way - a 3x higher single thread performance was planned, but engineering excelled themselves once again). These features make the T4 to a much more general purpose processor.
Now, where can one use single threaded performance at this levels? For example on databases. Or, LDOM live migration times have been significantly improved as well with the T4. Or at any other application that aren't designed with purely parallel workload in mind. Let's see a graphical representation:
A very important feature is what we call critical thread:
Allow us to mention some - in our opinion - very much undermarketed features of the T series:
An encryption performance comparison between T3 and T4:
The T4 is supported in Solaris 10 u10 (u8 and u9 with patches) and in Solaris 11. Oracle applications on the SuperCluster
will be able to benefit from the critical thread capability too. We think this is actually a prime example of Hardware and Software engineered to work together, or even Hardware-, OS- and even Applications engineered to work together.
Just like Solaris 11, the T4 CPU was designed very much with supporting Oracle software in mind, providing features those can benefit from. Oracle has the very unique situation of being able to not only to tune the software elements to the requirements, but also the operating system and the hardware it is running on. This is the key differentiator of the Oracle products. Integration throughout the whole stack.
Oracle has released 1-, 2- and 4 Socket servers, the T4-1, the T4-2 and the T4-4. These have been delivered as per the SPARC Roadmap, which Oracle has committed to not to deliver later than defined. This is another Oracle-specific feat - no other CPU vendor declares committment publicly 5 years in advance.
And now, the time for consolidation has arrived. One T4-2 can replace several old V-servers with UltraSparcIII or IV, not to mention the T1-T2 servers. Of course it makes also a lot of sense to bring your Oracle SW back from other HW and OS to the OS and the Systems they run best on - Oracle on Oracle. Ask your local HW presales representative for upgrade paths.