The rumours of SPARC's death are greatly exaggerated... (or, more politely, suck on this, dummies!)
The RF chips were never listed as 16 core * 16 thread in any official slide deck shown to me. Way back when you lepers at El Reg reported it, I already knew it was wrong.
Nice to see you are humble in accepting your mistake.
Further to this - to the clowns saying the roadmap is not a roadmap at all with the rate of process shrink. Remember - Sun has been using others to do the semiconductor fabbing for ages. The T-series stuff is done by someone different to the M-series - and that special someone is in bed with IBM already making the next few processes smaller... And Sun will be able to leverage that.
It may be that Fujitsu will take a little longer to get the M-series chips to the smaller process node, but remember - with M-series, it's as much about scaling and correctness as it is about straight-line speed. What happens when an Intel CPU takes a parity error on a register? Pretty sure it won't even notice... I'll tell you what the M-series stuff will do. It'll see the parity error, it'll roll back the current instruction stream, reload and replay it...
And - saying there is no innovation - You are forgetting; There was tons of innovation in the Rock platform that's still available to them. And - they have learned the lessons in that they have actually built the systems. They just chose not to go full scale production.
If you are one of the many that look only at CPU straight line speed, you are overlooking all of the other features lacking in commodity platforms today...
- being able to scale from a single CPU to 64 sockets, with no recompile (or even a reboot...)
- being able to add and remove entire system boards from a running OS
- being able to add and remove not just PCI cards, but entire IO assemblies
- being able to have a single OS instance with a 2 or even 4 TB physical address space
- being able to physically hardware partition your large box into multiple physical systems *without* a hypervisor
- having OBP (And if you have not used it, you won't get this one...
- being able to dump the box externally if it stops (more than just an NMI and hoping...)
- being able to diagnose, the first time, if something fails
- having an extensive FMA database for that *specific* platform
- being able to take components offline whilst the system is up
- being able to configure the system with *mirrored* DIMMS, so you could potentially ride through the complete failure of a whole stick (ok - I'll grant some other platforms can do that...:)
- having on-ASIC history registers that allow the inspection of bus traffic to understand what's happening
- having all sorts of telemetry available for inspection (say, through busstat)
- having 256 and larger sized memory pages available to the system
- having 16 I/O assemblies, each with 8 * pci-E x8 slots, all available to the one OS image for Mega DB or other large workloads where you need to get bulk amounts of data into and out of the one system
I could go on and on - but I think you get the point.
Oh - And don't forget. Larry loves the idea of an appliance... They will own all of the Rock IP, and the FISHWorks group at the end of the acquisition... One of the (sadly never released) 8 socket Rock Boxes would make an ideal system for an appliance... Oracle could sell you one, and use the magic screw-driver to turn up and down the capability of the box based on the size of your requirement / checkbook. :)
Way more differentiated than just another x86 RAC environment, and you don't need to cross your fingers (and everything else) that people don't cobble queries up that cream the interconnect between nodes...
And - Remember that it's Linux, not Windows that's been eating away at SPARC marketshare, and a large part of that is due to Oracle supporting more on Linux recently than Solaris SPARC (Validating the Linux platform...). Do you think they will continue to do that when they have their *own* operating system, Solaris, which is more scalable, stable, diagnosable, etc than linux?
Let's not even *start* with the horrors presented to Oracle if they actually did kill off the SPARC platform. If someone wants a big box to run Big oracle, they only have a few choices these days... SPARC, POWER or ITANIUM.
Considering how few people buy Itanium, how little software support there is it's really SPARC and Power (Yes - I know this is simplifying, but it's close enough to illustrate the point), where will those customers be driven if SPARC goes away??? To IBM on POWER. Oracle's sworn enemy in the database space... Even Sun haters would have to concede that it would be dumb for oracle to push their biggest customers in to the arms of IBM for hardware when everyone knows that it would also drag in IBM GS, and present the opportunity for IBM's DB2 and other applications to get an airing.
In short - If you think SPARC can do *nothing* but die... you are wrong. Very wrong.