The big SPARC launch took place earlier this week. As usual with these events, it was a lot of fun to attend, even if no gimongous tents were involved. I was standing in the back, next to the control booth; as the music went up and the lights went down, next to me, the technical director quietly says into her mike, "Go." And this happens:
And that was pretty cool. But was that the "boom!" I'm referring to? Nope. That looked more like this:
So that's quite a "boom." With the launch of the new SPARC T5 and M5 series of servers, we've set over a dozen new performance records, and shown that back in 2010 Oracle did indeed establish a SPARC roadmap that it could execute on.
Needless to say, IBM has kicked up quite a fuss about this. I would too, if I were them; they thought they had this thing licked. And a pretty funny tweet related to that:
— Daniel Bowers (@Daniel_Bowers) March 28, 2013
But--the thing I noticed was that as much as IBM tried to talk down the performance specs we demonstrated, they were noticeably silent about what, if any, advantage they might have in the software space. And of course, that includes the OS. When I talk to customers, the truism is almost always that when they use IBM systems, they don't do so because of AIX, but despite AIX. (Remember "Watson"? Do you know what IBM operating system IBM doesn't run on it?)
Meanwhile, Oracle Solaris remains the gold standard for enterprise OSes. "If it has to run, it runs on Solaris" is the catchphrase in data centers all over the world. We were flattered when IBM embarked on what some called "Project Copy Solaris," a few years after Solaris 10 came out, but couldn't help but notice they didn't quite hit the mark. And now Oracle Solaris 11.1 is the current release, and we've done a lot more that no one else seems to be finding the recipe for.
And of course, we've got a big advantage, that we've encapsulated as: Hardware and Software, Engineered to Work Together. Over the last few years, we've been able to demonstrate more and more what that means: at Sun, obviously we did a lot of work to make sure SPARC and Solaris were in sync, but meetings with the Oracle software teams were special events, held only a few times a year, and preceded by phalanxes of lawyers engaging to make sure everyone knew just what could and couldn't be discussed.
That's been replaced by something called: "going to work together every day." And it's paying off. And we can prove it.
We've got some new pages that go into more detail about what's new with Oracle Solaris. Maybe this will be a handy "cheat sheet" for OS developers at other companies. The first site talks about how we've optimized Oracle Solaris to get the most out of this new generation of SPARC processors; the other talks about how the continuous co-engineering process between Oracle Solaris and Oracle database works to the benefit of both.