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Oracle Hardware

Oracle To Halve Core Count In Next Sparc Processor 200

angry tapir writes "Oracle will halve the number of cores in its next Sparc processor and instead improve its single-thread performance, a weak area for the chip but one that's important for running large databases and back-end applications. The next Sparc chip on Oracle's roadmap, the T4, will have eight cores on each chip, down from 16 in the current Sparc T3."
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Oracle To Halve Core Count In Next Sparc Processor

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  • Sparc (Score:5, Informative)

    by TopSpin ( 753 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @08:23PM (#34481742) Journal

    The reduction in cores from 16 to 8 was part of the Sparc road-map [] before Sun was acquired by Oracle. Despite a lot of speculation it appears Oracle is following through with the plans they bought from Sun.

    ... Sun was going to cut back the number of cores to eight and crank the clocks to 2.5 GHz ...

  • Re:and? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @08:26PM (#34481774) Homepage Journal

    No. Nobody's moving away from Oracle - that rhetorical question doesn't make you sound like a smartass, but rather its less intelligent opposite.

    What matters to Oracle's customers who buy Sun hardware is that their databases run as fast as possible, as that's the limiting factor on those customers' businesses. That's why Oracle bought Sun: to compete with IBM, which runs DB2 on IBM CPUs at the high end, the HW and SW tweaked to work best together for that operation.

    Reducing the number of cores isn't designed to help. It's designed to leave that amount of transistors on the CPU available for making Oracle DBs run as fast as possible in the few simultaneous threads that Oracle needs for DB performance.

    Oracle is not selling CPUs to the mass market that can't tell the difference among products, mostly because they don't have a benchmark that describes their use profile specifically. Oracle is selling to customers who pitch $:TPM to their bosses. And the $:TPM buzzword is not only not going out of style, it's what continues to drive $ to Oracle.

  • by bhtooefr ( 649901 ) <bhtooefr@bhtooefr. o r g> on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @08:27PM (#34481782) Homepage Journal

    ISTR benchmark after benchmark saying that they performed about as well as a Pentium Pro/II of the same clock speed, when running native code. Except they were doing 533 MHz when Pentium Pros were doing 200. Oh, and the benchmarks I remember showed that the Alpha could emulate x86 code as fast as the Pentium Pro 200 could run it natively, after DEC's emulation software had profiled the code.

    The problem is this... they were also, IIRC, more EXPENSIVE than said Pentium Pro machines, and they could (for the Windows market) only run NT, when everyone targeted 95. And the performance advantage was completely wasted if your code wasn't written for Alpha. (So, you could run Office 95 and such on them, but because Microsoft only compiled the OS and maybe some server software, for general desktop AND workstation duty if your business needed Windows, a PPro box was cheaper and may have been able to do the same job.)

    (Keep in mind that back then, Microsoft was ambivalent about x86, at least in the workstation and server market. Windows NT was written to run on quite a few popular processor families - MIPS, PPC, and Alpha, in addition to x86. And, Microsoft made what was essentially an AT Architecture MIPS system specification for running NT on MIPS.)

  • by matfud ( 464184 ) <> on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @08:52PM (#34481970) Homepage

    It really depended on what you wanted to do. Sparc machines where great at IO and memory access. Alphas just had the shear grunt to do work (and yes they were running at over 1GHz when most processors where running at half that)
    . SGI were crap but if you wanted to visualise it they could not be beat (hudge amounts of custom graphics hardware).

  • crypto (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @09:48PM (#34482364)

    At the very least, Oracle has introduced a great deal of uncertainty into Sun products, so you have to ask "What does Sun hardware offer than other hardware doesn't?". With all the bad press, they have an uphill battle converting people to Sun from other platforms, and for those who have a choice, what *exactly* is the big benefit that can't be purchased from someone else for less?

    Do you care about crypto at all? If so, the T-series CPUs have on-die MD5, SHA-1, SHA-2 family, DES, 3DES, AES (multiple modes of operation), RC4, RSA (up to 2Kb), and ECC acceleration, as well as RNG. The T3s can do almost 80 Kop/sec for RSA 1024. All you have to do is link against the Solaris-provided OpenSSL library and call the appropriate "engine" APIs to activate things (this is built-in to a lot of FLOSS software already (e.g., Apache)).

    The T5220 (T2 processor, the T3 just came out) has been benchmarked as doing 44 Gb/s AES128: and that's on the crypto co-processors, so the "real" processors are free to do "actual" work--like serving HTTP requests. At the same time as this, the T2 can also do 38 Kop/sec of RSA 1024. At the time this benchmark was published, a quad-core Xeon 3 GHz could do about 8 Gb/s AES1028 and 9 Kop/s of RSA1024 signing--with little to nothing left over to do anything else.

    So you ask, "what can these systems do?" Well, how about: instead of paying for a bunch layer of load balancers to do SSL and RSA, and a whole bunch more machines to do actual web requests, why not just buy a lot fewer T2s (now T3s), and save power, cooling, and rack space?

    The T-series is not good at everything, but for the mutl-threaded, multi-client workloads it was designed for it works very well.

  • Re:and? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @10:23PM (#34482552)

    When I was on the job hunt, I saw exactly this. People took two paths:

    1: An exodus from SPARC hardware to x86 servers or blades, and a software exodus from Solaris to RedHat Linux or even Windows.

    2: A retooling and a move to IBM POWER6/POWER7 hardware. This hardware has VM support built in from the hardware up. In fact, dedicating a hardware box to a machine is passe, as opposed to having two VIO servers and a LPAR. (LPARs reboot extremely fast because it doesn't have to configure real-life hardware devices, in under than a minute, while a hardware IPL can take half an hour.) Oracle works decently on this environment and DB/2 can work with some SQL+ commands.

    What happened to the Sun that was awe-inspiring in colleges? Sun made a lot of groundbreaking items, from NFS, to NIS (not used these days, but a directory server is better than none), ZFS, zones, LDoms, etc. Now, it seems that Sun isn't a torchbearer when it comes to enterprise innovation, but just trying to market stuff.

    Software that allows machines to share RAM so box "A" can fetch something in box "B"'s RAM? That's pointless. Sun's enterprise solutions are starting to just not be competitive compared to what IBM can do at the midrange (Power Systems) or high end (zSeries), and what Intel/AMD can do at the low end.

  • Re:and? (Score:4, Informative)

    by lanc ( 762334 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @07:15AM (#34484948)
    first of all, you can put 8 quadcore CPUs at 2.66GHz in an M5000.
    You can even create two domains on the box that act like two separate machines, if you need electrical separation or want to build HA in-a-box. You can replace HW on-the-fly in the M5000. You can put more than 256GB RAM into it, if you want to. You can set up RAM mirroring in case you needed it. We are talking here real enterprise features, not just raw mips.

    Anyways, we are comparing here apples to oranges, sparc to x86. If your platform decision goes towards x86, then go for it. In this case, however I would definitely consider the SF X4470 or the X4800 servers if you need raw power. Or an Exadata if you need pretuned, preconfigured RAC on X86 - there you will find the X4800s as well :)

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"