Monday May 02, 2016

FIS Payment Card Products on Oracle Solaris and SPARC

FIS™ is one of the world's largest global providers dedicated to banking and payments technologies. FIS empowers the financial world with payment processing and banking solutions, including software, services and technology outsourcing. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, FIS serves more than 20,000 clients in over 130 countries. It is a Fortune 500 company and is a member of Standard & Poor’s 500® Index. 

Advanced Security, Extreme Performance and Unmatched Value with Oracle SPARC.

FIS supports its payment card products IST/Switch, IST/Clearing, IST/MAS, Fraud Navigator and Data Navigator on the latest SPARC platforms running Oracle Solaris 11. FIS Fraud Navigator and Data Navigator have also achieved Oracle Solaris Ready and Oracle SuperCluster Ready status. 

Oracle SPARC servers offer the best computing platform for running FIS applications. Customers can benefit from large number of high performance cores along with TBs of memory to run their mission critical environments with greater scalability, performance and security. If you have any questions about running FIS applications on Oracle Solaris SPARC, you can contact us at isvsupport_ww@oracle.com

Monday Apr 25, 2016

Unbeatable Scalability of SAP ASE on Oracle M7

The Oracle SPARC M7 platform has incredible performance and some examples of it can be found in this blog. One very interesting customer example is with SAP ASE performance and scalability. SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise (Sybase) database is used by University hospitals Leuven (UZ Leuven). UZ Leuven is one of the largest healthcare providers in Europe and provides cloud services to 16 other Belgian hospitals, sharing patient records supported by the same IT infrastructure and systems. 

UZ Leuven was looking to increase the scale capacity of its SAP ASE platform to accommodate an anticipated 50% business growth in user transactions, along with added functionality of the application as more hospitals join the network. Their current load was about 80 million transactions per day for a 5 TB database.

420 vs 48 on Intel

The SPARC M7 platform proved to be the only platform that could linearly scale up to 420 SAP ASE clients, while their Intel E7-8857v2 platform scaled to only 48 clients.

The SPARC M7 platform also delivered better performance and response times while ensuring data availability and information security, critical needs for UZ Leuven’s patients. 

“Today, SPARC is the only suitable platform that meets our application needs. We selected SPARC servers over IBM and x86-based solutions because scalability and performance are essential for our mission-critical SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise database infrastructure. With the SPARC M7 servers, we can expand our business and grow at the speed of our customers,” said Jan Demey, Team Leader for IT Infrastructure, University Hospitals Leuven.

You can read the full story here.

In the next blog, we will discuss best practices for using Oracle Solaris ZFS file system for your SAP ASE database.

Wednesday Apr 20, 2016

Oracle OpenWorld and JavaOne 2016 Call for Proposals

The 2016 Oracle OpenWorld and JavaOne call for proposals are open and the deadline for submissions is Friday, May 9. We encourage you to submit proposals to present at this year's conference, which will be held September 18 - 22, 2016 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. 

See here who from ISV Engineering and partners attended last year and the joint projects they presented. 

Submit your abstracts for Oracle OpenWorld and JavaOne now and take advantage of the opportunity to present at the most important Oracle technology and business conference of the year.


Tuesday Apr 19, 2016

Oracle Solaris 11.3 Preflight Checker - Come Fly With Me!

Announcing the latest update to: Oracle Solaris Preflight Applications Checker 11.3

Consider a pilot deciding to fly a new airplane without knowing that it had been 100% tested to fly.

If you are a Solaris developer who is looking to leverage the security, speed and simplicity of Oracle Solaris 11.3, you need to make sure your application will perform well BEFORE lifting off the ground on that migration. 
At Oracle we call that  preserving application compatibility between releases.  We believe that’s pretty important to the success of your flight, and getting you back onto the ground safely.

Solaris was the first operating system to literally guarantee application compatibility between releases and architectures.  Of course, any good developer knows there are always ways to accidentally break compatibility when you're developing an app, and maybe even get away with it for a while...

That's where the Oracle Solaris Preflight Applications Checker 11.3 (PFC 11.3) tool comes in. 
Think of it as a flight simulator, designed to give the pilot (aka - developer) confidence in the plane they are about to fly.

With PFC 11.3,  it is now quite simple to check an existing Solaris 8, 9, or 10 application for its readiness to be executed on Oracle Solaris 11.3, whether its on SPARC or x86 systems.  A successful check with this tool will be a strong indicator that an application will run unmodified on Oracle Solaris 11.3. 
In other words, start up the engines, lets fly!

A little bit about how PFC 11.3 can do this.
PFC 11.3 includes two modules:

1. The Application Checker - which scans applications for usage of specific Solaris features, interfaces, and libraries and recommends improved methods of implementation in Oracle Solaris 11.3.  It can also alert you to the usage of undocumented or private data structures and interfaces, as well as planned discontinuance of Solaris features.  

2. The Kernel Checker - checks the kernel modules and device drivers and their source code and reports potential compatibility issues with Oracle Solaris 11.3.   It can analyze the source code or binaries of the device driver and report any potential "compliance" issues found against the published Solaris Device Driver Interface (DDI) and the Driver-Kernel Interface (DKI).

These two modules scan and analyze your application in three areas to serve up the pre-flight information for running it on Solaris 11.3:

 1) Analysis of the application binaries for usage of libraries as well as for usage of Solaris data structures and functions.
 2) Static analysis of the C/C++ sources and Shell scripts  for the usage of function or system calls that are deprecated, removed or unsupported on Oracle Solaris 11, as well as the usage of  commands and libraries which have been relocated, deprecated or removed.
 3) Dynamic analysis of the running application, for it's usage of dynamic libraries which have been removed, relocated or upgraded (example: openSSL).

PFC 11.3 not only helps you migrate to the latest release of Solaris,  but also makes recommendations on getting the most out of your Oracle systems hardware. PFC 11.3 even generates an HTLM report which provides pointers to various migration services offered by Oracle.

Oracle Solaris is designed and tested to protect customer investments in software.  PFC 11.3 and The Oracle Solaris Binary Application Guarantee are a powerful combination which reflect Oracle's confidence in the compatibility of applications from one release of Oracle Solaris to the next.

Any technical questions with PFC 11.3 should be directed to the ISV Engineering team:  isvsupport_ww@oracle.com

 Now, sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight!

Monday Apr 18, 2016

IBM Software Products and SPARC Hardware Encryption: Update

Last December, we told you about IBM's GSKit and how it now allows several popular IBM products seamless access to Oracle SPARC hardware encryption capabilities. We thought we'd create a quick Springtime update of that information for our partners and customers.

Obtaining The Proper Version of GSKit

GSKit is bundled with each product that makes use of it; over time, new product releases will incorporate GSKit v8 by default. Until then, the latest GSKit v8 for SPARC/Solaris is available on IBM Fix Central, for download and upgrade into existing products. Installation instructions can be found here.

The support described above is available in GSKit v8.0.50.52 and later. As of April, 2016, the latest GSKit v8.0.50.59 is available for download from Fix Central.

IBM Products that currently make use of GSKit v8 on Solaris (and therefore could take advantage of SPARC on-chip data encryption automatically) include (but are not limited to):

 Product Versions w/bundled GSKit v8.0.50.52 or later Versions requiring manual update of GSKit
DB2 v9.7 FP11, v10.1 FP5, v10.5 FP7
HTTP Server iFix available for v8.0 and v8.5
Security Directory Server (fka Tivoli Directory Server)
v6.3 and later certified with GSKit 8.0.50.59
Informix IDS v11.70 and v12.10 fix available which updates to GSKit 8.0.50.57
Cognos BI Server v10.2.2 IF008 and later
Spectrum Protect (fka Tivoli Storage Manager) v7.1.5 and later
WebSphere MQ v8 Fix Pack 8.0.0.4 and later

Determining Current GSKit Version

  • $ /opt/ibm/gsk8/bin/gsk8ver # 32-bit version
  • $ /opt/ibm/gsk8_64/bin/gsk8ver_64 # 64-bit version

Wednesday Mar 30, 2016

The UNIX® Standard Makes ISV Engineering’s Job Easier

Here at Oracle® ISV Engineering, we deal with hundreds of applications on a daily basis. Most of them need to support multiple operating systems (OS) environments including Oracle Solaris. These applications are from all types of diverse industries – banking, communications, healthcare, gaming, and more. Each application varies in size from dozens to hundreds of millions of lines of code. A sample list of applications supporting Oracle Solaris 11 can be found here.

As we help Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) support Oracle Solaris, we understand the real value of standards. Oracle Solaris is UNIX certified and conforms to the UNIX standard providing assurance of stable interfaces and APIs. (NOTE: The UNIX standard is also inclusive of POSIX interface/API standard).  ISVs and application developers leverage these stable interfaces/APIs to make it easier to port, maintain and support their applications. The stable interfaces and APIs also reduce the overhead costs for ISVs as well as for Oracle’s support of the ISVs – a win-win for all involved. ISVs can be confident that the UNIX operating system, the robust foundation below their application, won't change from release to release.

Oracle Solaris is unique in which it goes the extra mile by providing a binary application guarantee since its 2.6 release. The Oracle Solaris Binary Application Guarantee reflects the confidence in the compatibility of applications from one release of Oracle Solaris to the next and is designed to make re-qualification a thing of the past. If a binary application runs on a release of Oracle Solaris 2.6 or later, including their initial release and all updates, it will run on the later releases of Oracle Solaris, including their initial releases, and all updates, even if the application has not been recompiled for those latest releases. Binary compatibility between releases of Oracle Solaris helps protect your long-term investment in the development, training and maintenance of your applications.

It is important to note that the UNIX Standard does not restrict the underlying implementation. This is key particularly because it allows Oracle Solaris engineers to innovate "under the hood". Keeping the semantics and behavior of system calls intact, Oracle Solaris software engineers deliver the benefits of improved features, security performance, scalability, stability, etc. while not having a negative impact on application developers using Oracle Solaris.

Learn more about Oracle Solaris, a UNIX OS, through the links below:

· Oracle Solaris 11

· The UNIX Evolution: An Innovative History

· Oracle, UNIX, and Innovation

· The Open Group UNIX Landing Page

Oracle Copyright 2016. UNIX® is a registered trademark owned and managed by The Open Group. POSIX® is a registered Trademark of The IEEE. All rights reserved.



Sunday Mar 13, 2016

Increasing Security for SAP Installations with Immutable Zones

In recent blogs we have talked about various aspects of end-to-end application security with Oracle Solaris 11, SPARC M7 and the ISV Ecosystem. We also talked about a white paper that provides best practices for using the Oracle Solaris compliance tool for SAP installations. Another way to increase the security of an SAP installation is to use Oracle Solaris Immutable Zones. 

A Solaris zone is a virtualized operating system environment created within a single instance of the Solaris OS. Within a zone, the operating system is represented to the applications as virtual operating system environments that are isolated and secure. Immutable Zones are Solaris zones with read-only roots. Both global and non-global zones can be Immutable Zones.

Using Immutable Zones is one technique that can protect applications and the system from malicious attacks by applying read-only protection to the host global zone, kernel zones and non-global zones. Oracle Solaris Zones technology is the recommended approach for deploying application workloads in an isolated environment—no process in one zone can monitor or affect processes running in another zone. Immutable Zones extend this level of isolation and protection by enabling a read-only file system, preventing any modification to the system or system configuration.

As an SAP system requires write access to some directories, it is not possible to install SAP inside an Immutable Zone without further configuration. A new paper provides instructions and best practices on how to create and manage an SAP installation on an Oracle Solaris Immutable Zone. Read the white paper for details or see SAP Note 2260420 (requires SAP login).

Thursday Jan 28, 2016

More Free/Open-Source Software Now Available for Solaris 11.3

Building on the program established last year to provide evaluation copies of popular FOSS components to Solaris users, the Solaris team has announced the immediate availability of additional and newer software, ahead of official Solaris releases:

Today Oracle released a set of Selected FOSS Component packages that can be used with/on Solaris 11.3. These packages provide customers with evaluation copies of new and updated versions of FOSS ahead of officially supported Oracle Solaris product releases.

These packages are available at the Oracle Solaris product release repository for customers running Oracle Solaris 11.3 GA. The source code used to build the components is available at the Solaris Userland Project on Java.net. The packages are not supported through any Oracle support channels. Customers can use the software at their own risk.

detailed how-to guide outlines how to access the selected FOSS evaluation packages, configure IPS publishers, determine what FOSS components are new or updated, and identify available packages and download/install them. The guide also contains recommendations for customers with support contracts.

The table of components below contains the available selected FOSS components that are new or updated since the release of Oracle Solaris 11.3 GA:

New Components

asciidoc 8.6.8 aspell 0.60.6.1 cppunit 1.13.2 daq 2.0.2
dejagnu 1.5.3 libotr 4.1.0 pidgin-otr 4.0.1 isl 0.12.2
jjv 1.0.2 qunit 1.18.0 libdnet 1.12 libssh2 1.4.2
nettle 3.1.1 cx_Oracle 5.2 R 3.2.0 re2c 0.14.2
nanliu-staging 1.0.3 puppetlabs-apache 1.4.0 puppetlabs-concat 1.2.1 puppetlabs-inifile 1.4.1
puppetlabs-mysql 3.6.1 puppetlabs-ntp 3.3.0 puppetlabs-rabbitmq 3.1.0 puppetlabs-rsync 0.4.0
puppetlabs-stdlib 4.7.0 saz-memcached 2.7.1 scons 2.3.4 wdiff 1.2.2
yasm 1.3.0

Updated Components

ant 1.9.4 (was 1.9.3) mod_jk 1.2.41 (was 1.2.40) mod_perl 2.0.9 (was 2.0.4)
apache2 2.4.16 (was 2.2.29, 2.4.12) autoconf 2.69 (was 2.68) autogen 5.16.2 (was 5.9)
automake 1.15, 1.11.2, 1.10 (was 1.11.2, 1.10, 1.9.6) bash 4.2 (was 4.1) binutils 2.25.1 (was 2.23.1)
cmake 3.3.2 (was 2.8.6) conflict 20140723 (was 20100627) coreutils 8.24 (was 8.16)
libcurl 7.45.0 (was 7.40.0) diffstat 1.59 (was 1.51) diffutils 3.3 (was 2.8.7)
doxygen 1.8.9 (was 1.7.6.1) emacs 24.5 (was 24.3) findutils 4.5.14 (was 4.2.31)
getopt 1.1.6 (was 1.1.5) gettext 0.19.3 (was 0.16.1) grep 2.20 (was 2.14)
git 2.6.1 (was 1.7.9.2) gnutls 3.4.62.8.6 (was 2.8.6) gocr 0.50 (was 0.48)
tar 1.28 (was 1.27.1) hexedit 1.2.13 (was 1.2.12) hplip 3.15.7 (was 3.14.6)
httping 2.4 (was 1.4.4) iperf 2.0.5 (was 2.0.4) less 481 (was 458)
lftp 4.6.4 (was 4.3.1) libarchive 3.1.2 (was 3.0.4) libedit 20150325-3.1 (was 20110802-3.0)
libpcap 1.7.4 (was 1.5.1) libxml2 2.9.3 (was 2.9.2) lua 5.2.1 (was 5.1.4)
lynx 2.8.8 (was 2.8.7) m4 1.4.17 (was 1.4.12) make 4.1 (was 3.82)
meld 1.8.6 (was 1.4.0) mysql 5.6.25, 5.5.43 (was 5.6.21, 5.5.43, 5.1.37) ncftp 3.2.5 (was 3.2.3)
openscap 1.2.6 (was 1.2.3) openssh 7.1p1 (was 6.5p1) openssl 1.0.2e plain and fips-140 (was 1.0.1p of each)
pcre 8.38 (was 8.37) perl 5.20.1, 5.16.3 (was 5.12.5) DBI 1.623 (was 1.58)
gettext 1.0.5 (was 0.16.1) Net-SSLeay 1.52 (was 1.36) Tk 804.33 (was 804.31)
pmtools 1.30 (was 1.10) XML-Parser 2.41 (was 2.36) XML-Simple 2.20 (was 2.18)
pv 1.5.7 (was 1.2.0) astroid 1.3.6 (was 0.24.0) cffi 1.1.2 (was 0.8.2)
CherryPy 3.8.0 (was 3.1.2) coverage 4.0.1 (was 3.5) Django 1.4.22 (was 1.4.20)
jsonrpclib 0.2.6 (was 0.1.3) logilab-common 0.63.2 (was 0.58.2) Mako 1.0.0 (was 0.4.1)
nose 1.3.6 (was 1.2.1) pep8 1.6.2 (was 1.5.7) ply 3.7 (was 3.1)
pycurl 7.19.5.1 (was 7.19.0) pylint 1.4.3 (was 0.25.2) Python 3.5.1, 3.4.3, 2.7.11 (was 3.4.3, 2.7.9, 2.6.8)
quilt 0.64 (was 0.60) readline 6.3 (was 5.2) rrdtool 1.4.9
screen 4.3.1 (was 4.0.3) sed 4.2.2 (was 4.2.1) slrn 1.0.1 (was 0.9.9)
snort 2.9.6.2 (was 2.8.4.1) sox 14.4.2 (was 14.3.2) stunnel 5.18 (was 4.56)
swig 3.0.5 (was 1.3.35) text-utilities 2.25.2 (was 2.24.2) timezone 2015g (was 2015e)
tomcat 8.0.30 (was 8.0.21, 6.0.43) vim 7.4 (was 7.3) w3m 0.5.3 (was 0.5.2)
wget 1.16.3 (was 1.16) wireshark 1.12.8 (was 1.12.5) xmlto 0.0.26 (was 0.0.25)
xz 5.2.1 (was 5.0.1)

Tuesday Jan 26, 2016

Preparing for the Upcoming Removal of UCB Utilities from the Next Version of Solaris

(Note: Edited after errata noted and suggestions made by the Solaris team)

For those of you who are holding on to the /usr/ucb commands as a last vestige of Solaris's origins in the UC Berkeley UNIX distribution, it's time to act. The long-anticipated demise of the /usr/ucb and /usr/ucblib directories is planned for the next major version of Solaris. If you are building software that uses these components, now's the time to switch to alternatives.  Shell scripts are often used during software installation and configuration, so dependency on /usr/ucb commands could stop your app from installing properly.

If you don't know if your software package depends on the commands or libraries in these directories, here's a simple heuristic:  if you're not requiring Solaris 11 users to run "pkg install ucb" that means you're not using ucb command or libraries, and you can skip the rest of this writeup.

If you're still reading, perform these checks:

  • Do you explicitly add /usr/ucb in the PATH for your shell commands, so that you get the /usr/ucb versions of commands instead of the /usr/bin?
  • Do any shell scripts use /usr/ucb in PATH variables or explicit command paths?
  • Do any system() or exec*() calls in your application use /usr/ucb?

You can go to the top level directory of your software, either your build tree or your distribution and run:

    # find ./ \( -type f -a -print -a -exec strings '{}' \; \) | \
    nawk '/^\.\// {file =  $0; first = 1}; /usr\/ucb/ {if (first) {print "FILE:", file; first = 0}; print "\t" $0}'


This shell code will print out any files with strings containing "usr/ucb", so it catches /usr/ucb and /usr/ucblib. Here's the output from running it in a test directory:

FILE:  ./mywd/Makefile
                  INSTALL = /usr/ucb/install
FILE:  ./d.ksh
            /usr/ucb/date -r $seconds $format
FILE:  ./DragAndDrop/core.1
        /usr/ucblib
FILE:  ./%s
        PATH=/usr/openwin/bin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/etc:/usr/sbin:/usr/ucb:.
FILE:  ./uid.c
        printf( "/usr/ucb/whoami: " );
        system( "exec /usr/ucb/whoami" );
FILE:  ./SUNWvsdks/reloc/SUNWvsdk/examples/docs/README.makefiles
        Please make sure the "ld" used is /usr/ccs/bin/ld rather than /usr/ucb/ld.

Note: The command sees lines that start with "./" as file names, so the command mistook the "./%s" it found in ./DragAndDrop/core.1 as a file name. The next line was really found in the file  DragAndDrop/core.1. If you see a file name in the output that doesn't exist, then the script was was confused in just this way. Ignore the FILE: line for the non-existent file, and the rest of the output will make sense.

Commands most likely to come from /usr/ucb:

  • ps -- now the /usr/bin version also accepts the /usr/ucb/ps arguments
  • echo -- "-n" for no newline vs. "\r"
  • whereis -- No direct replacement.
  • whoami  -- Replacement in /usr/bin
  • sum -- /usr/ucb and /usr/bin versions return different checksums, see manpage sum(1B)
  • touch -- /usr/ucb/touch has a -f option not in /usr/bin/touch

The good news is that of the 76 commands in /usr/ucb as of Solaris 11.3, 45 of them are links back to /usr/bin, and only 31 are unique to /usr/ucb.  This means that many of the commands in /usr/ucb are available in /usr/bin by default now and in some cases, /usr/ucb may not be required at all.  "ls -la /usr/ucb" shows the commands that are linked to /usr/bin.

The man pages for a /usr/ucb command can be displayed with "man -s1b <cmd>", e.g.

# man -s1b echo

Now check for libraries. Look back at the find output, or peruse your own build files. Do you see /usr/ucblib in any makefiles, or any LD_LIBRARY_PATH / LD_PRELOAD variables?

Libraries in /usr/ucblib and /usr/ucblib/sparcv9:

  • libcurses.so
  • libbdbm.so
  • librpcsoc.so
  • libtermcap.so
  • libucb.so

So get ready for the changes in Solaris, and clear out the last remnants of UCB, along with your SunOS 4.x documentation and your Joy of UNIX button. Fix up your software before Oracle releases the  version of Solaris without /usr/ucb and /usr/ucblib.

Tuesday Jan 12, 2016

Best Practices Using Oracle Solaris Compliance Tool for SAP

In a recent blogs we talked about end-to-end security with Oracle Solaris 11, SPARC M7 and the ISV Ecosystem  and one of the main elements: the built-in Solaris 11 compliance tools.

Organizations such as banks, hospitals, and governments have specialized compliance requirements. Auditors, who are unfamiliar with an operating system, can struggle to match security controls with requirements. Therefore, tools that map security controls to requirements can reduce time and costs by assisting auditors.

Oracle Solaris 11 lowers the cost and effort of compliance management by designing security features to easily meet worldwide compliance obligations; documenting and mapping technical security controls for common requirements like PCI-DSS to Oracle Solaris technologies. The simple-to-use tool Oracle Solaris compliance tool provides users with not only reporting but also simple instructions on how to mitigate any compliance test failure. It also provides compliance report templates.

Available since release 11.2, Oracle Solaris provides scripts that assess and report the compliance of Oracle Solaris to two security benchmarks:

  • Oracle Solaris Security Benchmark and
  • Payment Card Industry-Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS).

The new command, compliance (1M), is used to run system assessments against security/compliance benchmarks and to generate HTML reports from those assessments. The reports indicate which system tests failed and which passed, and they provide any corresponding remediation steps.

A new whitepaper introduces the compliance report on Oracle Solaris and provides information and best practices on how to assess and report the compliance of an Oracle Solaris system to security standards for SAP Installations. The procedure in this whitepaper was tested on an Oracle Solaris global zone, non-global zone, kernel zone, Oracle SuperCluster, Oracle Solaris Cluster, as well as various SAP Advanced Business Application Programming (ABAP) and Java releases with Oracle Database 11g and 12g. The document concludes with information on an additional new SAP benchmark for SAP applications with special security requirements. Read the whitepaper for details. There is also a related SAP note 2114056  "Solaris compliance tool for SAP installation" published (requires SAP login).

Friday Jan 08, 2016

Informatica Analytics on Oracle SPARC: Up-to 9X Faster with In-Memory DB

Oracle and Informatica have a very close working relationship and one of the recent results of this collaboration is the joint project done by Informatica and our Oracle ISV Engineering team to test the performance of Informatica software with Oracle Database 12c In-memory on Oracle SPARC systems. 

Informatica previously optimized their PowerCenter and Data Quality applications on Oracle Engineered Systems, achieving up-to five times faster performance with Oracle Exadata Database Machine and the SPARC-based Oracle SuperCluster (see announcement). They have been Oracle SuperCluster Optimized as well as Oracle Exadata and Exalytics Optimized since 2014. Now they have taken a step further by successfully testing PowerCenter with the Oracle Database 12c In-memory feature achieving extreme performance on SPARC.

A significant number of Informatica customers use Oracle as their main database platform. With the introduction of the Oracle Database 12c In-Memory Option, it is now possible to run real-time, ad-hoc, analytic queries on your business data as it exists right at this moment and receive results in sub-seconds. True real-time analytics! The Oracle SPARC big memory machines with up to 32 terabytes of memory are the perfect match, delivering extreme performance for in-memory databases and business analytics applications. 

Informatica PowerCenter and Oracle Database 12c were both installed on the same machine and Informatica leveraged the In-memory feature really well and was able to scale very well on the Oracle SPARC machine.

The following are some of the test results showing the Oracle Database 12c in-memory advantage on SPARC for Informatica:

  • TPC-H Q6 Performance: 9x in-memory over buffer cache for the workload tested
  • TPC-H Q10 Performance: 1.5x in-memory over buffer cache for the workload tested
  • Oracle Writer Throughput Performance: 2.5x performance improvement in Ram Disk to Ram Disk over Disk to Disk
  • PDO Performance:  Aggregator Tx Throughput: 1.5x in-memory over buffer cache for the workload tested

The tests were run with the following software/hardware stack: 

  • Informatica 9.6.1
  • Oracle SPARC, 8 PROCESSOR, 12 core , 2TB RAM, 4.3 TB Disk
  • Oracle Solaris 11.2
  • Oracle DB 12c
  • Network 10GBps
  • Setup: Domain and DB on same machine

Oracle SPARC servers and Oracle SuperCluster with Oracle Database 12c In-memory prove to be a great platform for Informatica customers to run their analytic queries. 

For more details you can contact isvsupport_ww@oracle.com.


Thursday Dec 24, 2015

The Advantage of Running Temenos on Oracle Engineered Systems

Temenos, a market leader in banking applications, recently won the prestigious Oracle Excellence Award for Exastack ISV Partner of the Year for EMEA.

In the following video Simon Henman and Martin Bailey from Temenos discuss their banking applications and the main challenges their customers face.  They also discuss how Oracle Engineered Systems address these challenges and allow their customers to focus on their banking task itself and not on the infrastructure. That is why they recommend them to their customers and have become Oracle SuperCluster, Exadata and Exalogic Optimized.

In previous blogs we discussed how their main application T24 is SuperCluster Optimized as well as their WealthManager application.

Watch the Video.

Monday Dec 21, 2015

Scaling Intellect MH on Oracle SPARC to 25,000 TPS


Intellect Design Arena Ltd, a Polaris Group company, is a global leader in Financial Technology for Banking, Insurance and other Financial Services.

A joint performance and scalability testing exercise was conducted by Intellect Design and Oracle Engineering teams to study the performance and scalability of Intellect MH on Oracle SPARC systems. The activity was aimed at scaling up the application load in terms of Transactions Per Second (TPS) with a workload that consisted of a mix of 10 OLTP scenarios with audit logging enabled, as well as some related batch scenarios. 

Intellect FT Message Hub (MH) is a lightweight Java based integration platform that facilitates seamless and transparent integration of business applications. It reduces the complexity of integrating disparate applications by leveraging the principles of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).   

MH provides a function to exchange data online and in batch mode, and enables various interfaces, integration of customer access channels like PCs connected to the Internet and mobile phones, and connection with external financial intelligence institutions and settlement networks.

Message Hub serves as a pass-through station between business applications. It provides a common platform for the customer to do business transactions. The Listeners will be an entry point for front-end systems to perform straight through transaction processing. Transaction Rule Engine (TRE) communicates with the Communication Engine and the Message Engine for communication with the host and message formatting requirements respectively. These engines coordinate the operations based on configured rules. 

The following are the key features of Intellect FT Message Hub:

  • Routing
  • Message transformation
  • Message enhancement
  • Protocol transformation
  • Transaction workflow management
  • Synchronous/Asynchronous transaction
  • Pre/Post process transaction
  • Post dated/ scheduled transaction 
  • Fail-over
  • Support custom action 

MH supports all industry standard protocols including SOAP over HTTP, SOAP over JMS, RESTful, TCP/IP, MQ, JMS, HTTP/s, EJB, File, FTP, SFTP, SMTP, IMAP, POP3. The product also supports a wide range of messaging standards such as SWIFT, ISO 8583, XML, SOAP, JSON, Fixed Length, NVP, Delimited, EBCDIC, POJO, MAP.

The diagram below shows the technical architecture of Intellect FT Message Hub.


Test Details 

OLTP Tests:

The most common MH transactions were covered in the tests. Different transactions were tested with different listeners and communication engines. A mix of the following 10 OLTP Scenarios was tested:

Audit logging:

Audit records  that contain the request and message details are inserted into  the MH database, once at the point of receipt of the message in MH and a second time after the message has just been processed but before the transmission of the message to the external system using communication engines.

Batch Tests:

In batch processing, records are picked up by Intellect MH from a preconfigured location. The files are processed and records are submitted to external systems (stubs) using JMS communication engines.  Multiple files are processed by the managed servers in parallel. The following batch processes were tested:

Hardware Details:

The application was deployed on Oracle SPARC T5 systems, FS1 Flash storage and ZS3 storage. 

Software Details:

  • Oracle Solaris 11.2 
  • Oracle Database 12c RAC 
  • Oracle Weblogic 12c Cluster 
  • Oracle HTTP Server 12c 
  • Oracle JDK 8 
  • Apache JMeter  
  • IBM MQ 
  • Polaris FT Message Hub 15.1 


Test Results:

The systems near linearly scaled up to 25,000 TPS, with an average response time of 323 ms and about 52K concurrent users.  For the batch tests around 10 million records (1000 Files, each containing 10000 records) were processed in 21 minutes. 

These results are 6x better than results seen currently on typical large customer deployments.

More Information: 

For more information, details and system sizing help you can contact the team via isvsupport_ww@oracle.com.



Tuesday Dec 08, 2015

IBM GSKit Supports SPARC M7 Hardware Encryption

Oracle and IBM have a very close working relationship running IBM software on Oracle hardware. One of the recent results of this collaboration is the announcement by IBM that its GSKit v8 now supports SPARC M7 hardware encryption (as well as SPARC T4 and T5 processors). This, in turn, means that several IBM software products can now make use of on-chip SPARC hardware encryption today, automatically, without significant performance impact

What Is GSKit?

The IBM Global Security Kit (aka GSKit) is not a product offering in itself, but instead a security framework used by many IBM software products for its cryptographic and SSL/TLS capabilities. Example IBM products making use of GSKit today include DB2, Informix, IBM HTTP Server and WebSphere MQ. This latest version of GSKit ( aka "IBM Crypto for C" ), version 8, was validated as a FIPS 140-2 Cryptographic Module within the past earlier this year.

Obtaining The Proper Version of GSKit

GSKit is bundled with each product that makes use of it; over time, new product releases will incorporate GSKit v8 by default. Until then, the latest GSKit v8 for SPARC/Solaris is available on IBM Fix Central, for download and upgrade into existing products. Installation instructions can be found here.

The support described above is available in GSKit v8.0.50.52 and later. As of this writing, the latest GSKit v8.0.50.55 is available for download from Fix Central.

IBM Products that currently make use of GSKit v8 on Solaris (and therefore could take advantage of SPARC on-chip data encryption automatically) include (but are not limited to):

Determining Current GSKit Version

  • $ /opt/ibm/gsk8/bin/gsk8ver # 32-bit version
  • $ /opt/ibm/gsk8_64/bin/gsk8ver_64 # 64-bit version

What This Means

In many cases (such as SSL/TLS over-the-wire communication), products using the proper version of GSKit on Solaris/SPARC will automatically take advantage of hardware encryption. Situations with larger client-server packets will benefit more than those with small packet sizes.  

This will allow these products to make use of the increased security that encryption offers with extremely low performance overhead (something that is not possible with software-only crypto or hardware crypto on other platforms).

Because each of these IBM products has specific use cases, we'll cover more details for each in future blogs.

Monday Dec 07, 2015

End-to-End Security: Solaris 11, SPARC M7 and the ISV Ecosystem

You'll be seeing quite a bit on this blog about increasing security of your applications in the coming weeks and months. Before that, however, before we dive into the specs and numbers, the wonders of CPU features, the software technologies that protect -- it is worth setting some overall context.  

Security is more than just data encryption. Indeed, security is more than any single feature, technology or product. Security, as much as anything in the IT world, must be addressed, planned-for and administered both in the whole, as well as the details. Security must be considered from beginning to end or -- as we engineers like to say -- "end-to-end". Holistically. The Big Picture. Soup to Nuts. You get the idea.

Because, in truth, while any single component of a system can provide state-of-the-art security for its little realm, the entire system is only as secure as each and every component. Your on-disk encryption can be unbreakable, but if your system uses weak passwords on internet-facing portals, your company could be the next featured New York Times data breach story.

Within the Oracle Systems Group, we get that. We understand that it takes more than algorithms and firewalls. That's why we'll be talking about Best Practices. About Security Compliance. About Industry and Governmental Security Standards. About hardware encryption. About all the roles in the development, deployment and use of a system. About the pieces of a system which, in total, is 'end-to-end secure'.

With the recent announcement of SPARC M7, Oracle now has the most compelling End-to-End Security platform for the Data Center. These new SPARC-based servers, with on-chip Security in Silicon, and running the Solaris 11 Operating System provide the following enhancements:

  • Silicon Secured Memory: For the first time, Silicon Secured Memory adds real-time checking of access to data in memory to help protect against malicious intrusion and flawed program code in production for greater security and reliability. This protection is available to third-party software developers via application programming interfaces.

  • Hardware-Assisted Encryption: Built into all 32 cores, this feature enables data encryption without performance penalty. This gives customers the ability to have secure runtime and data for all applications even when combined with wide key usage of AES, DES, SHA, and more. Existing applications that use encryption will be automatically accelerated by this new capability including Oracle, third party, and custom applications.

  • Built-in Solaris Compliance Tools: Oracle Solaris 11 lowers the cost and effort of compliance management by designing security features to easily meet worldwide compliance obligations; documenting and mapping technical security controls for common requirements like PCI-DSS to Oracle Solaris technologies with a simple-to-use tool that provides not only reporting but also simple instructions on how to mitigate any compliance test failures; and providing compliance report templates. The compliance system is standards based (XML) and built on the SCAP ecosystem (XCCDF, OVAL, and SCE), which easily integrates with enterprise wide compliance management programs. 

Tuesday Dec 01, 2015

Increasing Data Security with SPARC M7 'Always On' Cryptography

Oracle's new SPARC M7-based servers (released in late October) have numerous compelling hardware features, including the all new Software in Silicon feature set. What many still don't realize is that one of these features -- Hardware Assisted Cryptography -- has existed on SPARC CPUs for several generations. SPARC M7 provides the most powerful on-chip hardware encryption capabilities to date, and what many don't know is that it's Always On and it's available at No Extra Cost. It's also supported by a plethora of Oracle and third-party software offerings Right Now.

SPARC M7 provides 32 cryptographic engines per processor, delivering wide-key encryption of both 'data at rest' and 'data in-motion' with near zero performance impact. Most of today's most secure bulks encryption ciphers, message digests and public-key encryption algorithms are supported. Nothing to enable, no code to change.

SPARC M7 on-board encryption functionality (similar to that of previous-generation SPARC T5):

Accelerator Driver: Userland (no drivers required)
Public-Key Encryption: RSA, DSA, DH, ECC
Bulk Encryption: AES, DES, 3DES, R4, Camelia
Message Digest: CRC32c, MD5, SHA-1, SHA-224, SHA-256, SHA-384, SHA-512
APIs: PKCS#11 Standard, UCrypto APIs, Java Cryptography Extensions, OpenSSL

What about software support? Oracle 12c already takes advantage of M7 HW Crypto via its Oracle Advanced Security Transparent Data Encryption (TDE), out of the box. WebLogic? The same - it works out of the box. This is true for both native (C/C++-based) and Java Oracle "Red Stack" applications, all of which make seamless use of the underlying hardware encryption mechanisms. 

Okay, you say, we'd expect Oracle's Database and Middleware to support Oracle hardware features -- what about the rest of us? Well, as it turns out, much of the framework software in Solaris 11 is hardwired to take advantage on SPARC HW Crypto when it's detected. Third-party software that makes use of these will usually "get HW Crypto for free". This list includes:

  • openssl (5)
  • ssh (1)
  • Solaris VM for SPARC (aka LDoms)
  • Java runtime - configured via standard JCE/JSSE security mechanisms
The Systems ISV Engineering team is currently working with a number of Solaris ISVs to insure support and optimal usage of SPARC Hardware Crypto functionality. Look for future blog posts here (and technical articles on OTN) where we will cover this topic with ISVs such as IBM and Sybase.

"The future data center is completely encrypted, and this is the first processor that enables that."

— John Fowler, Oracle Executive Vice President for Systems

You can test your applications on SPARC M7-based systems today, to explore and leverage their breakthrough technologies using the Oracle Software in Silicon Cloud for developers and partners. Available now to all OPN members, enterprise developers with MOS accounts and university researchers (members of Oracle Academy), the Software in Silicon Cloud is a robust and secure cloud platform with ready-to-run virtual machine environments and offers easy access to Oracle SPARC M7 systems running Oracle Solaris 11.3. Try it today!

Additional Reading:

Tuesday Oct 13, 2015

Asseco def3000/CB Core Banking Systems Optimized on Oracle SuperCluster


 “Our biggest clients need highly performant and scalable systems to grow their business and consolidate data from other banks in the future.  With Oracle SuperCluster we can offer a platform that meets these requirements and offers our. Oracle Systems are now a preferred platform customers lower TCO for Asseco's def3000/CB solution.”- Robert Płociński, Technical Director, Commercial Banks Dept, Asseco

Asseco Poland is the largest IT company listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. It has developed technologically advanced software solutions for companies and institutions of all key sectors of the economy for more than 20 years. Today, Asseco is the number one IT powerhouse in Central Europe and the sixth largest software vendor in Europe.

Their def3000/CB (Core Banking) system constitutes the central point of their product offerings for a modern financial institution. It is a state-of-the-art, comprehensive tool, which allows to pursue an effective, efficient and competitive policy of the Bank.

Recently Asseco tested and tuned def3000/CG on Oracle SuperCluster and achieved Oracle Exastack SuperCluster Optimized Status.

Here's what they tested:

  • def3000/CB 10.05.000N
  • Oracle SuperCluster T5-8 Half Rack using Solaris Zones and 4 Exadata X5 HC storage nodes
  • Oracle WebLogic Server 11g
  • Oracle Database Enterprise Edition Release 12.1.0.2
  • Oracle Real Application Clusters
  • Oracle Partitioning

Oracle Solaris 11 Oracle SuperCluster accommodated the workload requirements and performance SLAs from their biggest customers as well as near linear scalability with RAC and Database partitioning.

It met business and technical requirements to be a preferred platform for def3000.

For more information about def3000 check here.



Wednesday Sep 16, 2015

Innovative Software Provider Moves to SPARC Solaris


Shanghai Baosight Software Company is the IT software business unit of Baosteel, recognized as the fourth-largest steel producer in the world.  Baosight Software is an innovative software provider in the manufacturing industry delivering a variety of enterprise modernization software solutions, such as manufacturing execution systems (MES), energy management systems (EMS), ERP, BI, and IT consulting services.

Recently Oracle and Baosight worked together to successfully port the iHyperDB and iCentroView Systems applications from Windows OS to Oracle Solaris 11.2 on SPARC T5 servers.  The primary drivers of this move to SPARC Solaris is improved performance and greater system stability.   Oracle Solaris 11.2 delivers an integrated cloud platform with industry-leading virtualization and a complete OpenStack distribution for Baosight.

Baosight's iCentroView is an integrated monitoring system which is widely used in  intelligent traffic, intelligent buildings, coal mine safety, water conservancy, and many other sectors.  iCentroView was utilized on the integrated monitoring system for the first cross-river tunnel under the Qiantang River, to intelligently observe the running state of equipment and traffic conditions inside the tunnel.

Baosight's iHyperDB is a high performance real-time database, which stores massive amounts of data while providing efficient data indexing, statistical analysis and visualization capabilities. Baosight is basing its future on the Internet of Things (IoT), and iHyperDB will enable large amounts of data storage for IoT solutions in enterprise modernization solutions for Baosight.

Baosight was rated among “The Ten Most Innovative Software Company in China” by China Software Industry Association in 2007and 2008.  Baosight owns 143 registered software products, 150 patents and 261 registered software copyrights. Shanghai Baosight Software Co., Ltd. is an Oracle PartnerNetwork Gold member.

Wednesday Aug 05, 2015

OpenWay Optimized on Oracle SuperCluster


OpenWay Group is a payment processing software vendor headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. OpenWay’s WAY4 Card Issuing and Merchant Acquiring, Financial Switching, Personalized Mobile Payments, Mobile Wallet and other payment solutions successfully operate at 130 banks, processing and telecom companies in Europe, Asia, North and Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. WAY4 is a customer-centric rule-driven environment for debit, credit, prepaid and commercial cards, deposits, loans, current accounts, mobile money and other financial products, for targeted marketing campaigns and personalized self-service via ATMs, kiosks, POS terminals, web, mobile banking and other channels.

Recently OpenWay completed Oracle SuperCluster Optimized testing and certification. They had the following goals:
  • Prove that the SuperCluster T5  solution performance meets and exceeds the results of a similarly scaled platform with traditional storage on volumes of up to 10 Million cards
  • Demonstrate a configuration as close as possible to real life conditions: a complex credit card configuration and a long transaction history, high availability for authorizations, PCI DSS, as well as simulation of long distance between two sites.
  • Measure the results in terms of TPS, response time and scalability

The tests were conducted on an Oracle T5 SuperCluster with:

  • WAY4 CMS and Switch v03.40
  • Oracle Database 11g, Release 2
  • Oracle Database, Real Application Clusters
  • Oracle Database, Advanced Security and Partitioning Options
  • Oracle Solaris 11

Results demonstrated a 2x shorter average response time compared to a similarly scaled platform with traditional storage and great scalability on TPS and response time when adding more CPUs. The data encryption as per PA-DSS standards also resulted in only 5% performance overhead.

“WAY4 CMS and Switch solutions by OpenWay have demonstrated a very high performance on the SuperCluster T5 while running in a high available configuration. This benchmark will create opportunities for OpenWay customers to benefit from the engineering solutions by Oracle on SuperCluster T5/Solaris platform while reaching another level of the service quality." - Dmitry Yatskaer, CTO OpenWay

More information about OpenWay Group can be found here and the Oracle Exastack Optimized program information is  here.

Tuesday Aug 04, 2015

Docker in the Zone with Oracle Solaris

After including a full distribution of OpenStack in Oracle Solaris 11.2 last year, Oracle recently announced plans to integrate Docker into Oracle Solaris. The integration will allow enterprise customers to use the Docker open platform to easily distribute applications built and deployed in Oracle Solaris Zones. Oracle also plans to make software including Oracle WebLogic Server available for development and testing as Docker images.

A majority of Oracle Solaris customers use Solaris Zones for its industry-leading scalability and efficiency, as well as comprehensive resource and security isolation, which is critical for enterprise class environments. Oracle Solaris Zones are also widely recognized as license boundaries for most enterprise applications, allowing customers to significantly lower costs.

“Docker welcomes Oracle Solaris to the Docker community. Integrating Docker with Oracle Solaris Zones will bring a mature and proven container technology to Docker environments running in enterprise class clouds,” said Nick Stinemates, vice president of Business Development & Technical Alliances for Docker.

“As enterprises have increasingly adopted cloud technologies over the last few years, collaboration between development and operations has become a business imperative,” said  Laurent Lachal, Senior Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions, Ovum.  “Oracle’s move to integrate Docker into Oracle Solaris is a win-win proposition. Cloud developers can take advantage of Oracle Solaris’ full OpenStack distribution, built-in security capabilities and easily migrate workloads across a broader choice of platforms.”

Read the full press release here.

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Application tuning, sizing, monitoring, porting on Solaris 11

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