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back to article Oracle cranks up SuperCluster with Sparc T5 engines

Software giant and hardware playa Oracle has launched its high-end SuperCluster T5-8 "engineered system" based on its sixteen-core Sparc T5 processor. It seems that turning in a less-than-stellar quarter ending its fiscal 2013 year inspired Oracle to make as many announcements as possible in the hope of some positive press. …

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Trollface

hear those crickets

I guess the 5 Oracle customers that still buy SPARC boxes will be rejoicing. The rest of the world ported everything off SPARC a few years back and is amused to see Oracle still trying to pretend to be a hardware company.

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Trollface

Re: hear those crickets

Oh look based on the 10 downvotes I guess the entire Oracle SPARC sales staff didn't like what I had to say either.

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Re: hear those crickets

It is funny to see how IBMers try to tackle Oracles benchmark records.

When Oracle released the T5 SPARC servers, IBM said talking about performance is so 2000ish and no one cares about performance today.

http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2013/03/27/ibm-fires-back-at-oracle-after-server-attacks/

“This was a frozen-in-time discussion,” Parris said in an interview Wednesday. “It was like 2002–not at all in tune with the market today.” Companies today, Parris argued, have different priorities than the raw speed of chips."

I promise that if IBM succeeds with the POWER8 (which seems unlikely because new POWER cpu generations are not that faster, whereas SPARC is 100% faster every generation) and get some records, then IBM will boast about how important performance is. Something like "with high performance you can replace many servers with only one single server, therefore performance is very important". But now that Oracle has the performance crown, IBM is saying that performance is not important anymore. *chuckles*

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And IBM supporters such as "asdf" above, can not really attack the numbers, instead they attack pointless meaningless things. Such as "Oracle pretending to be a hardware company". I dont get it, why choose that attack? "asdf" makes it sound as: today Oracle has performance world records, even as they are not trying hard to get into hardware, imagine if Oracle tried hard. In other words, "asdf"'s attack is poorly chosen. Instead, I advice you, "asdf" to attack the colour of the SPARC servers or something better than this choice which is really bad. Because it makes Oracle's servers look really fast. Which, BTW, they are. Fastest in the world. So, 10x performance/price compared to IBM is real.

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Re: hear those crickets

"The rest of the world ported everything off SPARC a few years back and is amused to see Oracle still trying to pretend to be a hardware company."

And then in the real world things are not quite so simple. I suspect there are quite a few quite large companies that have in the past heavily invested in Solaris on SPARC who either are finding it hard or don't see a reason to migrate off that platform.

If you ignore the uncertainty a while back thanks to Oracle's mixed messages, the roadmap for SPARC has been public and Oracle has stuck to it. So for many companies there isn't a compelling need to move away from hardware/OS point of view. T5 actually is not a bad processor and now with two PCI root complexes actually makes for much better base for consolidation with LDOMs without single point of failure.

"Oh look based on the 10 downvotes I guess the entire Oracle SPARC sales staff didn't like what I had to say either."

Nah, obvious troll is obvious, but I suppose there are at least 11 people who actually work with the stuff and know that you pick the right tool for the job if you can, and otherwise you work with what you have.

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WTF?

Re: hear those crickets

"The rest of the world ported everything off SPARC a few years back"

I don't think you'd recognise the rest of the world if it came and threw a Solaris system administration manual in your face.

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Re: hear those crickets

>and threw a Solaris system administration manual in your face.

Solaris is not really the problem (although there is an argument to make for that as well) SPARC is. If Texas Instruments who are comfortable using a 1980's mainframe for control of their manufacturing systems are busy getting away from the bag of hurt that is SPARC you know not all is well in the kingdom.

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Re: hear those crickets

>It is funny to see how IBMers try to tackle Oracles benchmark records.

Have nothing to do with IBM and in the one shop I had to use their stuff was impressed with the boxes but not the prices and definitely not the support. Then again the end customer was IBM themselves and there is nobody they support less than their internal departments.

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Re: hear those crickets

People ported when they could off SPARC not just because they didn't trust Oracle's pricing going forward but because the platform is truly burning (how much are SPARC sales down even from its dying days at SUN?). Even now you will find the vast majority of SPARC boxes out in the wild haven't been refreshed in quite some time and are now slower than the commodity x86 box you have sitting under your desk.

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Anonymous Coward

DS8850?

Does IBM even still sell the DS8850? The current generation is DS8870. Regardless, the highest performing IBM storage array is FlashSystem. Why would you not just use internal SSD inside the Power 780 if you were going for raw performance... as Oracle does with the SuperCluster?

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Re: DS8850?

Does not really matter, it is not like Oracle would really like to make an apple (HA!) for apple comparison. The question is: can IBM be bothered? They have been quite busy gutting themselves for the past years.

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Mushroom

Re: DS8850?

Also, why does the Power 780 need a DS8000 enterprise level storage system and the Oracle system doesn't?

So that they can put the price of the IBM system up to make their comparison impressive?

You have a good point about internal SSDs, and you'd only NEED a DS8870 if you need over two petabytes of storage. Or to provide storage for a few systems, which is one of the functions of the DS8870. And if the Oracle system needed that, you'd be looking at more than one $600k rack. So Oracle's comparison is a bit misleading...

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Anonymous Coward

Nothing has changed the way Sun/Oracle designing servers for past 13+ years. Still use management SW (ILOM), fans and throw in few extra disks and bump the speed a bit or increase the core and proclaim as fastest system on the planet.

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"...proclaim as fastest system on the planet...." Not really. Oracle only claims they are 10x faster/price than IBM POWER7+ systems. But it is true that the previous generation SPARC T4 servers are much faster than IBM POWER7 systems on certain benchmarks. And these T5-8 servers have double the nr of cpus, and double the nr of cores, ergo four times faster than the fastest T4 servers.

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Holmes

One small problem Keb' people aren't really buying these systems. Check out the latest Q1 marked share numbers:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/05/30/idc_q1_2013_server_numbers/

Where as both HP and IBM are loosing market share, then Oracle is in a catastrophic downwards spiral, and is soon to be overtaken by Cisco.

// Jesper

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HCL

Bussiness Head

No data on if it can be used for compute intensive applications of HPC. Data like how many TF each rack can generate will also be useful.

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Bussiness head

No view on if these servers can be used for compute intensive applciations of HPC. Also data on how many TF it can cranck up will be useful

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Re: Bussiness head

Of course you can use SPARC T5 cpus for HPC, because they are the fastest cpus on earth, regarding SPECint and SPECfloat benchmarks:

https://blogs.oracle.com/BestPerf/entry/20130326_sparc_t5_speccpu2006_rate

But, it is probably better to use cheap Intel x86 servers in a large cluster such as the SGI Altix Linux servers. x86 servers are cheap and fast so you will get most bang for the buck using x86. If you study my link, you will see that x86 are faster than IBM POWER7 cpus on these cpu benches too. And cheaper.

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Re: Bussiness head

>But, it is probably better to use cheap Intel x86 servers in a large cluster

Or soon ARM but yeah the world has largely moved to commodity boxes where it can. Big iron UNIX is now a very niche market. IBM will probably continue to put out their own chips due to them also being used for the gaming consoles and just plain ego and tradition but one has to wonder how long Oracle will stay committed to SPARC.

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WTF?

LIES!!!!!

Any thing Big Blue can do, Bid Red can do, and deliver a fraction of the options, unless you spend 100's of thousands in additional licensing fees.

Oracle is WORTHLESS!!!!!

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Silver badge

Why are there no Sparc desktops anymore?

How is a small unix house supposed to develop for Solaris now without forking out $$$$ for a server?

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Re: Why are there no Sparc desktops anymore?

Correctly written Solaris software should only require a recompile between x86 and SPARC.

You can develop on x86 and recompile for SPARC. There are numerous open source Solaris distros out there, for isntance SmartOS, OmniOS, OpenIndiana, etc.

Of these, SmartOS and OmniOS seem most compelling. SmartOS is developed by Joyent, the company behind nodejs and the newly released Manta, which is similar to hadoop but with a unique twist, so it is much easier to analyse Big Data than ever before:

http://www.joyent.com/blog/hello-manta-bringing-unix-to-big-data

SmartOS also has several defected Solaris kernel devs from Sun, such as creator of ZFS, creator of DTrace, etc. They have probably the best Solaris knowledge outside Oracle. The CloudOS SmartOS uses KVM so you can run different Zones for higher security (all these zones can now analyse big data, see above)

http://www.joyent.com/technology/smartos

OmniOS seems to be very popular too.

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