Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Oracle to take on IBM with SPARC clusters

High performance clustered database system for big data crunching

Article comments

Oracle has stepped up its efforts to rebuild Sun's hardware business, announcing a high performance clustered database system that could turn up the competitive pressure on rivals IBM and HP.

Called the Sparc Supercluster, the system can include dozens of rack mount servers based on Oracle's recently released 16-core Sparc T3 processor, linked in a cluster with high-performance InfiniBand connections, Oracle's Real Application Clusters software and Sun's FlashFire solid state storage acceleration technology.

CEO Larry Ellison will launch the system Thursday afternoon. Mark Hurd, the former HP boss Ellison hired to help run his systems business, will be on hand to talk up that and other new hardware.

The product is for customers who want to deploy a very large, high performance database on a scale-out Unix cluster. "You can start with a single server and scale to essentially as many servers as you want, as many as you would ever need," said Bob Shimp, Oracle's group vice president for product marketing.

Ellison will also announce a new version of the Exalogic Elastic Cloud, a collection of servers and middleware that it markets as a "cloud in a box." A version based on Intel Xeon processors was launched at OpenWorld in September, and the new model will be the first to use Oracle's own Sparc T3 chips.

Hardware updates

Oracle will also release a faster processor for customers of Oracle's M series Unix servers, which are built by Fujitsu. The upgraded Sparc64 VII+ chip doubles the Level 2 cache from the existing part to 12MB and pushes the clock speed to 3GHz, giving a 20 percent performance boost overall, according to Shimp.

Oracle isn't giving a price or a ship date for any of the products yet, but it's boasting that the Sparc Supercluster will give Oracle the top spot on the TPC-C clustered performance benchmark, dislodging IBM's Power 780 system.

A configuration with 108 servers and 3TB of storage was clocked at more than 30 million transactions per minute, or three times that of the IBM system, Shimp said. Oracle's benchmark wasn't listed on the TPC-C website, however, so it was unclear if the result had been audited.

IBM played down the achievement. "Oracle's benchmark was driven by linking together an incredible 27 systems, a highly inefficient approach that is not practical in the real world, but lumped together simply to win a benchmark," an IBM spokesman said.

Oracle will provide pricing and shipping details for the new products "very soon," Shimp said.

Oracle is working hard to build up Sun's hardware business, which suffered during Oracle's long wait to get its Sun acquisition approved by regulators. Despite initial doubts about Oracle's commitment to selling hardware, it has spelled out a five year road map for Sparc and now seems committed to the platform.

Long term strategy

Oracle's strategy is to sell large, pre-configured systems, like the Exalogic Elastic Cloud and its Exadata Database Machine, which it says perform better and are easier to set up than when customers choose their own hardware and software.

Oracle's approach is a valid one but it's unclear yet how many customers will buy into the model, said industry analyst Dan Olds of Gabriel Consulting. A trade-off is that customers have less flexibility to use "best of breed" products, he noted.

The Exalogic cloud system, the Exadata database and the new Supercluster have plenty of overlapping components, which could create challenges for Oracle's sales and marketing teams. But IDC analyst Jean Bozman said they're configured for different types of work.

"The Exalogic system is positioned as a 'cloud in a box.' The idea is that you can support different tiers of computing, so for the web-enablement tier you can have an application server and some kind of hand-off to a database or an application."

"Exadata is meant to do very large database processing, the OLTP and business intelligence type of workloads, so that would be more of a back-end server," she said.

Bozman said it's a good time for Unix customers. There's a lot of price competition, because the vendors are battling for a declining portion of the overall server market, and each of the big vendors has now refreshed its Unix system lineups.

Unix server revenue declined 9 percent year over year in the third quarter, even though server sales overall were up a healthy 13 percent according to new figures from IDC. While the high and low ends of the Unix market contracted, systems in the middle, priced from $25,000 to $250,000, saw some growth, Bozman said.

"If you're replacing older Unix systems you can get a lot for your money, there's intense competition right now," she said.



Share:

More from Techworld

More relevant IT news

Comments



Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *