back to article Fujitsu launches 'Athena' Sparc64-X servers in Japan

Japanese IT giant and long-time Sparc partner with Sun Microsystems and now Oracle has let slip the details on its "Athena" line servers based on its own sixteen-core Sparc64-X processors, which bear the same code-name inside Fujitsu. And it looks like Oracle is going to be reselling them, too. It is not clear if this is an …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On no M10-2 server

    If they’re not releasing one, they may have determined there not being enough of a market. As well as they may offer selling a M10-4 server with 2-sockets at about the price point of what a M10-2 server. I found this to be true for the M4000 vs the M5000 and opted for a M5000 to allow for growth. Having less base chassis and motherboards is also a cost savings on their end which I know at least Oracle has been working towards. This is one way they’re offering longer maintenance contracts if you decide to keep a server for an extended period of time.

    As for all the hush between Fujitsu and Oracle, the lawyers must have been renegotiating the partnership that was in place when Sun was at the helm. It’s good news that it appears they’ll continue to work together even if you don’t use SPARC as competition across the various vendors is always a good thing.

  2. P. Lee Silver badge

    Go On!

    Just add LibreOffice for the Mother Of All VDI Servers.


  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    investment protection

    The "we're walking away from Fujitsu processors" / "here's our new shiny Fujitsu processor based Sparc box" plays might make a lot of sense when Oracle wants to negotiate commercial terms with Fujitsu, but isn't there a consequence in the real world?

    Am I the only person to think that if I invested in this, I might need to change at some point from a "small" number of "big" cores to "big" number of "small" cores, depending on Oracle's whim, rather than the suiting my applications.

    Fujitsu's processors (and track record) aren't bad, especially compared to what Sun did previously, so it would be a pity to sign up for one thing, but end up being locked into something else in the future.

    It reminds me of a line I heard on a Radio 1 trail years ago ..... "Go home with Sara Cox, wake up with Chris Moyles".

    1. Mad Mike

      Re: investment protection

      My thoughts exactly. Whilst we have a reasonable amount of Solaris/Sparc servers at the moment, it is not our first Unix choice. The reason? Simple. For many years, Sun could not tell us what's coming out next month, let alone what they intend in 6-12 months, let alone years. Oracle came along and told us they had a proper roadmap. It wasn't the best in the world, but showed T5 and then T6 coming along etc. The T- range going up market a lot into bigger boxes with more processors etc. They said the M series would be relaunched with what were effectively T processors with more cache and a few other changes. That was why clock speed increased a lot on T4 and core count decreased in readiness for this. All seemed to make reasonable sense and sounded plausible and certainly the best story we'd heard for years.

      Did they mention a new M series (or whatever they want to call it) from Fujitsu? Sold through Oracle? Nope. Did they mention anything about what's in this article? Nope. Did they in fact imply that Fujitsu wasn't going to play such a bit part in their plans? Yes. In fact, they even went as far as to imply Fujitsu would resell Oracle T based servers. In fact, everything said Oracle would be performing all future Sparc processor work.

      So, looks like we're back to Oracle not having a roadmap they are prepared to share and work to. And their salesmen get upset when I say their lack of credible roadmap is a major impediment to us!!

      1. Phil 4

        Re: investment protection

        You're blaming Oracle for not having a non Oracle product on the Oracle roadmap? As far as I know, Oracles SPARC roadmap is for Oracle developed products.

        Fujitsu has their own development plans and roadmap for SPARC and so maybe you should have the discussion with Fujitsu? Sure, Oracle and Fujitsu cross-sell each others SPARC products, and that SPARC M10 is another SPARC based architecture, but that’s whats great about all of this. Its called choice. Choice of vendors, choice of SPARC technology, yet they remain 100% binary compatible as long as you're running Solaris 10/11. You cant get that with Power nor Xeon for that matter. Unless you consider AMD as reasonable Xeon alternative.

        Whats clear is that since the Sun acquisition, Oracle has been *very* transparent in its SPARC developments (making the roadmap public with dates and expected performance increases) and has been very consistent to the plans they laid out back in 2010, delivering almost like clock-work-already 3 new CPU generations delivered and two on the way *very* soon. Not something that IBM or even Intel can claim with their latest slips (i.e.: Power7+ and Sandy-Bridge).

        And finally, if you look at the replays of Oracle OpenWorld 2010, 2011, 2012 and especially the latest keynote presentation with Larry Ellison and president of Fujitsu, it was made quite clear that the partnership is as strong as ever and that the two companies are working on many new technologies together like software on silicon. Stay tuned. This is just the beginning and I expect things will get clearer very soon.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: investment protection

          "Its called choice. Choice of vendors, choice of SPARC technology, yet they remain 100% binary compatible as long as you're running Solaris 10/11."

          There are so many caveats in that statement as to make it functionally untrue. Oracle's "end of features" notice between 10 and 11 is below. Tons of interfaces are EOL or not binary compatible.

          OpenSSL is not binary compatible.... so as long as you are not using a modern SSL application, you are good.

        2. Jesper Frimann

          Re: investment protection

          Come on Phil 4.

          The whole SPARC server roadmap have been frustrating for us customers for years.

          First it's UltraSPARC wait for Rock, then it's APL Mseries machines with T series for lowend, with a roadmap for APL2 for M-series. Then all of a sudden APL2 is out and is replaced by M4 a modified T core. But Fujitsu will still sell APL2.

          One of the most important things in Highend is continuity, and that haven't really been the case with Highend SPARC UNIX servers.

          At least for HP and IBM Unix servers you've had a steady upgrade path for years.

          // Jesper

          1. Phil 4

            Re: investment protection

            SPARC roadmap has been frustrating for years? Have you been living in a box these last 3 years? The SPARC roadmap hasn’t changed since 2010 when Oracle took over and has been consistent ever since-delivering to the roadmap like clockwork. I think IBM's bewildering choice of 22 different Power7/Power7+ CPU GHZ and core counts that aren't available in same system is frustrating! How do you choose? Which is best? So much complexity.

            Continuity? Upgrade Path? The same M-Series has been shipping the *longest* since 2006 and has received 4 in-chassis CPU upgrades (that can be done without powering down system) over its lifecycle of more than 6 years. In the same timeframe, IBM's p5 595 required pretty much an entire overhaul with downtime to "upgrade" to Power6 and then to Power 795, again, another major "overhaul" upgrade to Power7. Do you really believe that Power8 is going to be an easy-in chassis upgrade? It certainly won't be without incurring costly downtime. And we wont talk about Itanium...Poulson is still MIA and Kittson is DOA. So Fujitsu's (and Oracles) SPARC M10 systems are the next generation M-Series (APL) systems. You did notice the Fujitsu/Oracle logos on the chassis? And whats nice, unlike Superdome2 or Power795, you aren't locked-in to this massive chassis. SPARC M10-4s is totally modular 4RU building blocks plugging into standard 40RU rack just like the Power 770/780 CEC's but with 4 times the scalability to 64-sockets and 8x the memory capacity and with Gen3 PCIe. SPARC M10-4S surpasses the Power795 in every respect including 2x more performance. And with SPARC M10 sharing same sun4v architecture as T-Series and soon SPARC M4, you'll be able to do live migration (and do it securely using built in encryption accelerators) between all 3 platforms. Plus they all run the same Solaris 10 or Solaris 11. Binary compatibility assured.

            1. Jesper Frimann
              Big Brother

              Re: investment protection

              Weeehh... easy... you sure have been drinking the Oracle Cool aid.

              Sure for example going from POWER 595 -> POWER 795 is a major overhaul, and requires that you move the workload off the machine, which doesn't require downtime, if you exploit powervm. Again live partition mobility is something that is BAU on POWER. But again you still save a shitload of money on upgrading rather than forklifting.

              And I must admit that I can hardly see it's a problem that I can choose lower clocked processors for a cheaper price as a problem, or chips with fewer cores but much higher frequency for optimizing cost on expensive software. Like Oracle's for example.

              No sure lets throw money after extra software licenses, that give no business value what so ever.

              Again if I buy a POWER 770 with 48 cores running at 4.42GHz I'll get roughly the same throughput as a POWER 779 with 64 cores running at 3.3 GHz. Now if I run something like an EE Oracle DB with some addon's that little move will basically pay for the Server over 4-5 years.

              So being able to tailor your server depending on workload is.. well.. surely a bad thing.

              And as for what Fujitsu/Oracle/SUN have been selling, then you if you go back 5-6 years, which is the expected lifetime of a server, then Fujitsu/Oracle/SUN have been selling servers based upon:

              UltraSPARC T1, UltraSPARC T2, UltraSPARC T2+,UltraSPARC T3,UltraSPARC T4, SPARC64 V+,SPARC64 VI,SPARC64 VII,SPARC64 VII+,SPARC64 X, UltraSPARC IV, UltraSPARC IV+,UltraSPARC IIIi and UltraSPARC-III Cu.

              Sure they are binary compatible, but ... tuning wise and planning wise and and and .. the servers are very different. This is why we have had a jungle of different SPARC systems, with very few models being the same, an administrative nightmare.

              As for the performance of the SPARC64 X in the M10-4S. Then it's funny to see you get all excited over a 1024 core machine that is barely released, being twice as fast as a 3 year old POWER sytem with 25% of the number of cores on an embarrassingly parallel CPU stressing only benchmark.

              Lets see how it does on more taxing benchmarks, and lets see what new POWER servers that according to TPM is just around the corner.

              Again take deep breath and try to look at reality.

              Now when that is said, the M10-4S looks like a great server.

              // Jesper

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: investment protection

              "SPARC M10-4S surpasses the Power795 in every respect including 2x more performance."

              Are you serious? Didn't Oracle just get fined by SPEC on their last rev of systems for making claims about SPARC outperforming Power which turned out to be, like your 100% binary claim, filled with caveats so as to make it completely untrue in any real world setting. Here is an Oracle benchmark contradiction. They claim that T4 is the highest performing Java CPU in the world, by a mile they say (SPEC thinks they are reading their own SPEC benchmarks incorrectly). Well, they have a server which does nothing but process Java, Exalogic. Why are they not using "the world best Java CPU" for their nothing but Java appliance? Either they just like not using their own SPARC technology and cutting checks to Intel... or their benchmark claims are less than accurate.

              "Plus they all run the same Solaris 10 or Solaris 11. Binary compatibility assured."

              You can keep writing it, but that doesn't make it true.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: investment protection

        It is pretty common knowledge at this point that what was called M Series, SPARC64, is not going to be around. They are going to try to make the T SPARC chips viable for single thread and have it take over what was the SPARC64 space. T SPARC will be the only SPARC.

        1. Phil 4

          Re: investment protection

          SPARC64 is not going to be around? Did you not read the article? Fujitsu=SPARC64=SPARC64VII+=SPARC64X=SPARC M10. SPARC64X is the latest Fujitsu developed SPARC, where the previous two versions were developed for supercomputers -noting that the K computer, based on SPARC64 VIIIfx was ranked #1 world's fastest supercomputer in 2011. The M is the classification of the systems, as in Mission Critical or Mainframe class. These new SPARC M10 servers *are* the true successor to the previous M-Series which were based on Fujitsus SPARC64VII+ in its latest version. Oracle is developing the SPARC M4 which is also Mission critical but as you mention, is based on the successful S3 core that’s also in latest SPARC T4 and SPARC T5 coming out. But SPARC M4 is not a T-Series CPU. Its designed for highest end mission critical workloads and will have different RAS, performance and scalability characteristics.

  4. SplitBrain

    Good News - however you want to spin it

    SPARC shops now have a choice of 2 variations on sparcv9, which power/Itanic shops do not. Good news either way you cut it, of course our resident trolls will say otherwise....

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019