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Thursday 12 April 2012

Séminaire Oracle SPARC SuperCluster

I had the great opportunity to assist to the french event Séminaire Oracle SPARC SuperCluster: Le premier système intégré Oracle multi-fonctions, which took place in Paris last Tuesday, April 5, 2012.

Follow the slides corresponding to this event.

Title: Introduction Harry Zarrouk

Speaker: Harry Zarrouk, Managing Director, Oracle Systems France

URL: http://www.ndclients.com/oracle/downloads/00_intro_ssc_harry_zarrouk.pdf (fr) (1.4 MB)

Title: Présentation Oracle SPARC SuperCluster

Speaker: Jean-Yves Migeon, Business Development Manager

URL: http://www.ndclients.com/oracle/downloads/01_ssc_overview.pdf (fr) (1.5 MB)

Title: Solutions optimisées Oracle sur SPARC SuperCluster

Speaker: Eric Bezille, CTO Oracle Hardware France

URL: http://www.ndclients.com/oracle/downloads/02_rapid_appli_reduced_risk_oos.pdf (fr) (1.4 MB)

Title: Illustration avec Oracle PeopleSoft HCM/Scenarii d'intégration

Speaker: Nathalie Sabatte, Principal Sales Consultant Applications

Speaker: Eric Bezille, CTO Oracle Hardware France

URL: http://www.ndclients.com/oracle/downloads/03_peoplesoft_on_ssc.pdf (fr) (1.2 MB)

Title: SPARC SuperCluster, un système "Production Ready"

Speaker: Pascal Guy, Solution Architect, EMEA Expert Server Group

URL: http://www.ndclients.com/oracle/downloads/04_ssc_production_ready.pdf (fr) (2.4 MB)

Title: SPARC SuperCluster: retour d'expérience clients

Speaker: Dario Wiser, Sr.Manager, SuperCluster Business Development

URL: http://www.ndclients.com/oracle/downloads/05_supercluster_ref_usecases.pdf (fr) (0.4 MB)

Saturday 19 November 2011

Forum Oracle : Transformation du Data Center, l'innovation par l'intégration

I had the great opportunity to assist to the french event Forum Oracle : Transformation du Data Center, l'innovation par l'intégration, which took place in Paris last Tuesday, November 8, 2011.

Follow the slides corresponding to this event.

Title: Changing the Game by Simplifying I.T.

Speaker: Olivier Brot, Senior Sales Director Hardware BU Country Leader

URL: http://www.oracle.com/us/dm/h2fy11/1-olivier-brot-intro-1368628.pdf (fr) (1,5 MB)

Title: The Oracle Story

Speaker: John Abel, Chief Technology Architect; EMEA Server and Storage

URL: http://www.oracle.com/us/dm/h2fy11/2-john-abel-oraclestory-1368637.pdf (en) (5,8 MB)

Title: Datacenter Transformation with Oracle Engineered Systems

Speaker: Dario Wiser, Head of Datacenters & Servers, HW Business Development EMEA

URL: http://www.oracle.com/us/dm/h2fy11/3-dct-keynote-1368643.pdf (en) (2,7 MB)

Title: Comment construire votre Cloud avec Oracle ?

Speaker: Eric Bezille, CTO Oracle HW Business Unit France

URL: http://www.oracle.com/us/dm/h2fy11/4-eric-bezille-dct-pvt-cloud-key-1368654.pdf (fr) (1,3 MB)

Title: Oracle Exadata Database Machine & Oracle Exalogic

Speaker: Denis Martin, Exadata Business Development Manager; Antonio Ferreira, Architect Software

URL: http://www.oracle.com/us/dm/h2fy11/5-denismartin-ant-fer-exa-exalogic-1368666.pdf (en) (3,5 MB)

Title: New Engineered Solutions : BigData et Exalytics pour anticiper l’explosion de nos données

Speaker: Pascal Guy, Architecte groupe EMEA Expert Server

URL: http://www.oracle.com/us/dm/h2fy11/6-pascal-guy-new-eng-sol-1368670.pdf (en) (1,5 MB)

Title: Déploiements rapides, performants et sécurisés des applications avec la nouvelle génération des systèmes SPARC

Speaker: Jean-Yves Migeon; EMEA Oracle HW Business Development; Eric Bezille

URL: http://www.oracle.com/us/dm/h2fy11/7-ericbezille-jym-supercluster-1368680.pdf (fr) (2,6 MB)

Title: Transformative Oracle Storage Solutions For Datacenter Consolidation, Virtualization and Cloud

Speaker: Jacques Villain, Principal Sales Consultant, EMEA Long Term Storage TEAM

URL: http://www.oracle.com/us/dm/h2fy11/8jacques-transformative-storage-1368634.pdf (en) (2,5 MB)

Title: Présentation ALTARES: Optimisation du Datacenter

Speaker: M. Christophe Le Caignec, Directeur Système et Sécurité Informatique, ALTARES

URL: http://www.oracle.com/us/dm/h2fy11/9altares-c-lecaignec-1368648.pdf (fr) (0,2 MB)

Title: Realize The Full Potential of Your Application Infrastructure with Oracle’s Virtualized Systems

Speaker: Christophe PAULIAT, Sales Consultant, Hardware BU

URL: http://www.oracle.com/us/dm/h2fy11/10-christophe-servervirtualization-1368683.pdf (en) (1,2 MB)

Title: Total Cloud Control with Oracle EM 12c

Speaker: Alain Scazzola, Business Development Manager

URL: http://www.oracle.com/us/dm/h2fy11/11alain-scazzola-em12c-1368695.pdf (en) (4,4 MB)

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Oracle Solaris 11 Launch Highlights

Here is a little press review around the launch of Oracle Solaris 11:

Oracle Solaris 11 How to Articles

  1. Installation
  2. System Configuration
  3. Network Management
  4. Software Management
  5. Virtualization
  6. Development

Oracle Solaris : 11 New Things You Need To Know (Flash Video)

Recent Benchmarks Using Oracle Solaris 11

The following is a list of links to recent benchmarks which used Oracle Solaris 11.

  1. SPARC T4-2 Delivers World Record SPECjvm2008 Result with Oracle Solaris 11
  2. SPARC T4-4 Produces World Record Oracle OLAP Capacity
  3. SPARC T4-2 Server Beats Intel (Westmere AES-NI) on ZFS Encryption Tests
  4. SPARC T4 Processor Beats Intel (Westmere AES-NI) on AES Encryption Tests
  5. SPARC T4 Processor Outperforms IBM POWER7 and Intel (Westmere AES-NI) on OpenSSL AES Encryption Test
  6. SPARC T4-1 Server Outperforms Intel (Westmere AES-NI) on IPsec Encryption Tests
  7. SPARC T4-2 Server Beats Intel (Westmere AES-NI) on SSL Network Tests
  8. SPARC T4-2 Server Beats Intel (Westmere AES-NI) on Oracle Database Tablespace Encryption Queries

UNIX 03 Product Standard Conformance

Oracle Solaris 11 is certified on SPARC and X86-based platforms as conforming to the UNIX 03 product standard, effective November 8, 2011, per The Open Group.

Oracle dubs Solaris 11 world's 'first cloud OS'

'Absolutely spanking' IBM and HP

More importantly, the delay is the result of Oracle's desire to fully leverage the Sparc processor, the Solaris operating system, and the Oracle stack of database, middleware, and application software as a highly tuned system with a better system for testing and patching software in the entire stack as it changes and thereby allowing Oracle to command a premium for Sparc-based systems because they are easier to operate and support.

This is, of course, the old AS/400 value proposition that IBM has been selling its midrange customers for more than two decades. The difference now is that Oracle actually believes it, and IBM, which makes a lot more money selling services to integrate piece parts and support them than selling its Power Systems running the integrated IBM i software stack, can't afford to.

Fowler opened up his technical review of Solaris 11 by reminding everyone that Solaris had more deployments than HP-UX and AIX combined, and added that "operating systems are something that only improve over time."

Fowler said that Solaris 10, which was launched in January 2005, would be getting its own updates soon and would, in fact, be supported on future Sparc T5 and M4 systems due next year.

On roadmaps for the past year and a half, Fowler has shown that Oracle's long-term goal is to deliver in late 2014 or early 2015 a machine that has 64 sockets with a total of 16,384 threads and supporting 64TB of main memory.

Oracle Solaris 11: The First Cloud OS

Oracle Solaris 11 is the first operating system engineered with cloud computing in mind. We believe you should expect more from your OS -- especially as you start considering public, private and hybrid clouds for enterprise-class workloads.

And what's most important: all of this is integrated, engineered and optimized to work together: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It's the power of this that makes Oracle Solaris unique.

S11 X11: ye olde window system in today's new operating system

Today's the big release for Oracle Solaris 11, after 7 years of development. For me, the Solaris 11 release comes a little more than 11 years after I joined the X11 engineering team at what was then Sun, and finishes off some projects that were started all the way back then.

In total, we recorded 1512 change request id's during Solaris 11 development, from the time we forked the “Nevada” gate from the Solaris 10 release until the final code freeze for todays release - some were one line bug fixes, some were man page updates, some were minor RFE's and some were major projects, but in the end, the result is both very different (and hopefully much better) than what we started with, and yet, still contains the core X11 code base with 24 years of backwards compatibility in the core protocols and APIs.

The most inviting Solaris 11 features - Part I, Boot Environments

"Having been involved in various projects around the upcoming Solaris 11 release, we had the possibility to compile a list of features we assume UNIX Engineers will find to be cornerstones of Solaris 11 based platforms. It wasn't easy to keep the list short, due to the sheer amount of innovation and the tight integration of the new- or updated technologies in this Solaris release.

We have planned a series of blog posts with a short preview of each Solaris 11 technologies in the list, in a Question and Answer form."

This is the first post, featuring Boot Environments.

Solaris 11 Released As Cloud Virtualisation OS

The delayed release has been much-anticipated because Solaris still matches the combined user base for HP-UX and AIX, Oracle executive vice president of systems John Fowler claimed. However the transition from Sun to Oracle has hit the server division quite hard and Oracle is no doubt hoping that the new OS release will help turn the tide.

Oracle Solaris Goes to 11

Solaris, a Unix implementation, was originally developed by Sun Microsystems, which Oracle acquired last year. While not as widely known for its cloud software, Oracle has been marketing Solaris as a cloud-friendly OS. In Oracle's architecture, users can set up different partitions, called Zones, inside a Solaris implementation, which would allow different workloads to run simultaneously, each within their own environment, on a single machine.

First impressions of Solaris 11 11/11

I have had a few hours to try the final Solaris 11 release, overall I think it is far more stable and polished than the previous "Early Adaptors" release. Besides the fact that I am unable to use semi-old SPARC gear to test the release since only the latest generations of hardware are supported I have found few real problem so far.

Watch the Oracle Solaris 11 Launch

Watch as Oracle executives Mark Hurd and John Fowler announce the launch of Oracle Solaris 11, which brings proven enterprise capabilities to private, public, and hybrid clouds. Oracle Solaris 11 is the industry's best UNIX operating system with unique features including advanced file system technologies, advanced security, and built-in virtualization in every dimension.

Learn how Oracle Solaris 11 has been engineered, tested, and supported to get the most of SPARC and x86 systems including Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud, Oracle Exadata Database Machine, and SPARC SuperCluster engineered systems.

Solaris 11: Oracle Launches Cloud OS

Full highlights of the launch of Oracle Solaris 11.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Quick Review Of OOW 2011

Here is a quick review on the Oracle OpenWorld 2011:

OOW Oracle San Fransisco 2011

OpenWorld Content Catalog

If you missed the show or want to review content you saw during the sessions, you can now download many of the presentations from the OpenWorld site here. This site is open to the public, not just OpenWorld attendees. So even if you weren't able to join us in San Francisco, you can go download PDFs of the content that was presented.

First days of OOW

More news from OOW 2011

A new dawn for SPARC

SPARC presentations from OOW

Oracle Previews Oracle Solaris 11 at Oracle OpenWorld

Prepares for Planned Release of Oracle Solaris 11, the #1 Enterprise OS – Built for Clouds, Later This Year

solaris11.5.png

Solaris 11 is the operating system for Oracle’s recently announced SPARC SuperCluster T4-4 engineered system and Oracle’s SPARC T4 server line. It also powers the Oracle Exadata Database Machine X2-2 and X2-8 systems, as well as Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud.

Oracle Solaris is developed, tested and supported as an integrated component of Oracle's "applications-to-disk" technology stack, which includes the Oracle Certification Environment, representing over 50,000 test use cases for every Oracle Solaris patch and platform released.

Oracle Solaris provides customers with the most choice in supported enterprise applications with over 11,000 third-party applications on a wide range of SPARC and x86 systems.

solaris11.6.png

Oracle Solaris 11 guarantees binary compatibility with previous Oracle Solaris versions, through the Oracle Solaris Binary Application Guarantee Program and development compatibility between SPARC and x86 platforms, providing customers with a seamless upgrade path and the industry’s best investment protection.

Oracle's Larry Ellison unveils 'Exalytics' in-memory machine

"We're determined to deliver best-of-breed in every aspect of our computing architecture," Ellison said. "We're in the business of catching up [with IBM] in the microprocessor business. If we don't pass them we'll be very, very close. If our microprocessor is the same speed and we move data a hundred times faster than they do, I like our chances in the marketplace."

From the beginning, Oracle's design goals for its systems were the highest performance for the lowest cost, Ellison said. "For a given task, it will cost you less on an Exadata than it would on a plain old commodity server."

The main idea was a "parallel everything" architecture, with various set of components working in unison for more power and reliability, he said. "These machines should never, ever fail," he said. "Hardware breaks. Software breaks too. But if you have a parallel architecture you should be tolerant of those failures."

Meanwhile, faster chips aren't the best way to make software run faster, because the real bottleneck is storage, according to Ellison. Database performance is "about moving data, and not doing arithmetic on a microprocessor," he said.

Overall, "we move data around a hundred times faster than anyone else in this business," Ellison claimed. Ellison cited a series of companies such as Proctor & Gamble, BNP Paribas and AFG, which experienced vast performance and cost savings through Exadata. Some 1,000 Exadata machines have been installed and 3,000 more will be sold this year, Ellison said.

Oracle enters BI with Exalytics appliance

The Exalytics appliance, revealed by Oracle chief Larry Ellison on Sunday, is designed to run business intelligence analytics at high speeds via a terabyte of DRAM for in-memory computing.

"[Exalytics is] hardware and software engineered together to deliver data analysis at the speed of thought," Ellison said in a keynote speech at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco. "Everything runs faster if you keep it in DRAM, if you keep it in main memory."

Although storage costs are notably volatile, DRAM costs around $10 (£6.40) a gigabyte, compared with flash at around $1 a gigabyte and hard disk at 4 cents. However, DRAM has the advantage of allowing data to be processed and the results sent to the consumer at speeds that are orders of magnitude faster than data stored in other technologies.

Fast, Safe, Cheap : Pick 3

Today, we're making performance headlines with Oracle's ZFS Storage Appliance:

  1. SPC-1 : Twice the performance of NetApp at the same latency; Half the $/IOPS.
  2. 2X the absolute performance, 2.5X cheaper per SPC-1 IOPS, almost 3X lower latency, 30% cheaper per user GB with room to grow... So, If you have a storage decision coming and you need, FAST, SAFE, CHEAP : pick 3, take a fresh look at the ZFS Storage appliance.

ZFSSA.1.png
ZFSSA.2.png

We are announcing that Oracle's 7420C cluster acheived 137000 SPC-1 IOPS with an average latency of less than 10 ms. That is double the results of NetApp's 3270A while delivering the same latency. As compared to the NetApp 3270 result, this is a 2.5x improvement in $/SPC-1-IOPS (2.99$/IOPS vs $7.48/IOPS). We're also showing that when the ZFS Storage Appliance runs at the rate posted by the 3270A (68034 SPC-1 IOPS), our latency of 3.26ms is almost 3X lower than theirs (9.16ms). Moreover, our result was obtained with 23700 GB of user level capacity (internally mirrored) for 17.3 $/GB while NetApp's , even using a space saving raid scheme, can only deliver 23.5$/GB. This is the price per GB of application data actually used in the benchmark. On top of that the 7420C still had 40% of space headroom whereas the 3270A was left with only 10% of free blocks.

Sunday 23 October 2011

Focus On Oracle OpenWorld 2011

Here is a brief overview of the OOW 2011:

OOW Oracle San Fransisco 2011

OpenWorld Content Catalog

If you missed the show or want to review content you saw during the sessions, you can now download many of the presentations from the OpenWorld site here. This site is open to the public, not just OpenWorld attendees. So even if you weren't able to join us in San Francisco, you can go download PDFs of the content that was presented.

First days of OOW

More news from OOW 2011

A new dawn for SPARC

SPARC presentations from OOW

Oracle Previews Oracle Solaris 11 at Oracle OpenWorld

Prepares for Planned Release of Oracle Solaris 11, the #1 Enterprise OS – Built for Clouds, Later This Year

solaris11.5.png

Solaris 11 is the operating system for Oracle’s recently announced SPARC SuperCluster T4-4 engineered system and Oracle’s SPARC T4 server line. It also powers the Oracle Exadata Database Machine X2-2 and X2-8 systems, as well as Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud.

Oracle Solaris is developed, tested and supported as an integrated component of Oracle's "applications-to-disk" technology stack, which includes the Oracle Certification Environment, representing over 50,000 test use cases for every Oracle Solaris patch and platform released.

Oracle Solaris provides customers with the most choice in supported enterprise applications with over 11,000 third-party applications on a wide range of SPARC and x86 systems.

solaris11.6.png

Oracle Solaris 11 guarantees binary compatibility with previous Oracle Solaris versions, through the Oracle Solaris Binary Application Guarantee Program and development compatibility between SPARC and x86 platforms, providing customers with a seamless upgrade path and the industry’s best investment protection.

Oracle's Larry Ellison unveils 'Exalytics' in-memory machine

"We're determined to deliver best-of-breed in every aspect of our computing architecture," Ellison said. "We're in the business of catching up [with IBM] in the microprocessor business. If we don't pass them we'll be very, very close. If our microprocessor is the same speed and we move data a hundred times faster than they do, I like our chances in the marketplace."

From the beginning, Oracle's design goals for its systems were the highest performance for the lowest cost, Ellison said. "For a given task, it will cost you less on an Exadata than it would on a plain old commodity server."

The main idea was a "parallel everything" architecture, with various set of components working in unison for more power and reliability, he said. "These machines should never, ever fail," he said. "Hardware breaks. Software breaks too. But if you have a parallel architecture you should be tolerant of those failures."

Meanwhile, faster chips aren't the best way to make software run faster, because the real bottleneck is storage, according to Ellison. Database performance is "about moving data, and not doing arithmetic on a microprocessor," he said.

Overall, "we move data around a hundred times faster than anyone else in this business," Ellison claimed. Ellison cited a series of companies such as Proctor & Gamble, BNP Paribas and AFG, which experienced vast performance and cost savings through Exadata. Some 1,000 Exadata machines have been installed and 3,000 more will be sold this year, Ellison said.

Oracle enters BI with Exalytics appliance

The Exalytics appliance, revealed by Oracle chief Larry Ellison on Sunday, is designed to run business intelligence analytics at high speeds via a terabyte of DRAM for in-memory computing.

"[Exalytics is] hardware and software engineered together to deliver data analysis at the speed of thought," Ellison said in a keynote speech at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco. "Everything runs faster if you keep it in DRAM, if you keep it in main memory."

Although storage costs are notably volatile, DRAM costs around $10 (£6.40) a gigabyte, compared with flash at around $1 a gigabyte and hard disk at 4 cents. However, DRAM has the advantage of allowing data to be processed and the results sent to the consumer at speeds that are orders of magnitude faster than data stored in other technologies.

Fast, Safe, Cheap : Pick 3

Today, we're making performance headlines with Oracle's ZFS Storage Appliance:

  1. SPC-1 : Twice the performance of NetApp at the same latency; Half the $/IOPS.
  2. 2X the absolute performance, 2.5X cheaper per SPC-1 IOPS, almost 3X lower latency, 30% cheaper per user GB with room to grow... So, If you have a storage decision coming and you need, FAST, SAFE, CHEAP : pick 3, take a fresh look at the ZFS Storage appliance.

ZFSSA.1.png
ZFSSA.2.png

We are announcing that Oracle's 7420C cluster acheived 137000 SPC-1 IOPS with an average latency of less than 10 ms. That is double the results of NetApp's 3270A while delivering the same latency. As compared to the NetApp 3270 result, this is a 2.5x improvement in $/SPC-1-IOPS (2.99$/IOPS vs $7.48/IOPS). We're also showing that when the ZFS Storage Appliance runs at the rate posted by the 3270A (68034 SPC-1 IOPS), our latency of 3.26ms is almost 3X lower than theirs (9.16ms). Moreover, our result was obtained with 23700 GB of user level capacity (internally mirrored) for 17.3 $/GB while NetApp's , even using a space saving raid scheme, can only deliver 23.5$/GB. This is the price per GB of application data actually used in the benchmark. On top of that the 7420C still had 40% of space headroom whereas the 3270A was left with only 10% of free blocks.

Sunday 16 October 2011

Focus On The Solaris 11 OS

Here is a brief overview on a Oracle OpenWorld 2011presentation on the Solaris 11 operating system:

SPARC Strategy

solaris11.1.png
solaris11.2.png
solaris11.3.png
solaris11.4.png

Saturday 15 October 2011

Focus On The SPARC Architecture

Here is a brief overview on a Oracle OpenWorld 2011presentation on the SPARC architecture:

Next Generation SPARC Processor

An In-Depth Technical Review

Some slides about the SPARC T4 performance:

sparc.1.png
sparc.2.png
sparc.3.png
sparc.4.png
sparc.5.png

SPARC Strategy

Public roadmap updated:

sparc.6.png

About the new SPARC SuperCluster:

sparc.7.png
sparc.8.png
sparc.9.png

Some slides about the T-Series and SuperCluster performance:

sparc.10.png
sparc.11.png
sparc.12.png
sparc.13.png

Sunday 9 October 2011

Oracle Unveils The World’s Fastest General Purpose Engineered System, The SPARC SuperCluster T4-4

Here is a little press review around Oracle technologies:

The world’s fastest general-purpose engineered system

Overview

The Oracle SPARC SuperCluster T4-4 is a general purpose engineered solution for running a wide range of enterprise applications with the highest levels of performance and mission critical reliability. The SPARC SuperCluster T4-4 utilizes high performance software from Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic combined with new SPARC T4-4 servers, Oracle Exadata Storage Servers, ZFS Storage Appliance, and InfiniBand technology, and Oracle Solaris 11. With the addition of the SPARC SuperCluster, Oracle continues to set the standard for engineered systems: maximizing customer value with leading performance in a complete and tested package.

News Facts

In a preview of Oracle OpenWorld 2011, Oracle announced the SPARC SuperCluster T4-4, the first general purpose engineered system that combines the computing power of the new SPARC T4 processor, the performance and scalability of Oracle Solaris 11, the optimized database performance of Oracle Exadata storage, and the accelerated middleware processing of the Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud.

SPARC SuperCluster T4-4 server is an integrated apps-to-disk solution that delivers the highest performance, security, and manageability with the lowest TCO. Based on Oracle's next-generation SPARC T4 servers, these systems can deploy multiple databases and applications, and multiple tiers of applications while providing lightning-fast improvements on data compression, queries, OLTP response times, and Java middleware performance. Applications can run on a mix of Oracle Solaris 10 and Oracle Solaris 11 via Oracle VM Server for SPARC and Oracle Solaris Containers.

Oracle's SPARC SuperCluster is ideal for the consolidation of mission-critical enterprise applications or for the deployment of Oracle Optimized Solutions, which provide fully documented best practices and ongoing full-stack and patch testing. Today Oracle announced two new Oracle Optimized Solutions for the SPARC SuperCluster T4-4 that will support PeopleSoft Human Capital Management and Oracle WebCenter Content. Delivered tested and ready to run, these systems can be deployed in days, not months. Oracle continues to set the standard for engineered systems that deliver record-breaking performance in a complete and tested package.

Oracle rises for Unix server push

SPARC T4 systems: Same skins, new brains

Oracle is taking the fight to Unix market leader IBM with its eight-core SPARC T4 processor and systems with rack, blade, and clustered systems – a full data center press.

The SPARC T4 processors, with an S3 core, were developed under the code-name "Yosemite Falls" and offer better performance than Oracle expected. They will be included in standalone rack and blade servers as well as in SPARC SuperCluster configurations that mimic the Exadata parallel database and Exalogic parallel application serving system, built on Intel x86 processors and running Linux.

The clock speeds of the processors were not divulged, but Oracle has been able to rev them up to 2.85GHz and 3GHz in the SPARC T4 systems, 73 and 82 per cent faster respectively than the previous 16-core SPARC T3 processors, which ran at a much slower 1.65GHz.

While those SPARC T3 chips had eight threads per core (using the older S2 cores) and did a reasonable amount of work on some applications (like database, Java, and application serving), single-threaded code did not perform particularly well. So with the S3 cores, Oracle's chipheads added dynamic threading (in contrast to the static threading in the S1 and S2 cores) and also added something called the critical thread API. This allows applications to hog all the resources on an S3 core to boost the performance of a single-threaded application. The SPARC T4 can switch between the thread-hog and normal modes on the fly.

Ellison rides SPARC T4 SuperCluster into data centers

Four star general purpose, sir!

Oracle resells Fujitsu's SPARC64-VII+ machines, badged the SPARC Enterprise M machines, for customers who have big jobs that require a shared memory system. But over the past two decades, Oracle co-founder and CEO Larry Ellison has made no secret of the fact that he believes that computing in future will be parallel, spreading data and database crunching across multiple compute nodes, instead of trying to create ever-larger shared memory systems to hold databases.

Ellison lectured considerably on the benefits of parallelism and data compression for database processing, and talked quite a bit about the Exadata machines, of which Oracle has sold 1,000 machines thus far – Oracle's "most successful product ever," he claimed – and plans to sell an additional 3,000 machines before the end of the year. (It is not clear if Oracle meant calendar or fiscal year there.)

"We're a lot faster than IBM's biggest pSeries machine," Ellison proclaimed, comparing a cluster of x86 servers running the 11g database and the Exadata storage software on an InfiniBand backbone to a wonking 256-core Power 795 SMP server. Here's how he stacked the two machines up, fully loaded:

exadata.extreme.png
Eight Exadata X2-2 racks versus one IBM Power 795 and four DS8700 arrays

This is the "engineered systems" game that Oracle will be playing. Ellison said that two racks of Exadata could do queries anywhere from 10 to 50 times faster than the Power 795/DS8700 combo, with 4 to 10 times the OLTP throughput and with 10 times the amount of storage (with compression turned on) – and do so for a cost of $3.3m, compared to $18.86m for the IBM hardware. "The Exadata system costs way less than a memory upgrade on the IBM pSeries, and you have to be willing to run a lot faster," Ellison quipped. "The P795 is one big, expensive single point of failure," he added, pointing out that Oracle RAC was inherently fault-tolerant.

IBM opens Power8 kimono (a little bit more)

Wafer baked in 22 nanometers

Data was a little thin, and intentionally so on the part of Big Blue. But with Oracle kicking up a big fuss over Intel's Itanium processor roadmap - which the software giant says is a dead end - it looks like IBM has decided it was time to be more specific.

Only a little bit more specific, mind you. Server makers and chip makers don't like to make promises because business conditions change and issues crop up in reality that can cause a processor or server design and its schedule to diverge from the roadmap.

A case in point is one of the earlier schedules for the Power processor lineup, which had Power6 coming out in 2006, Power6+ in 2007, Power7 in 2008, and Power7+ in 2009. That was a two-year cadence for a new processor design and a two-year cadence for a chip manufacturing process shrink interwoven.

For reasons that IBM never explained, and which no doubt had to do with its wafer baking plant in East Fishkill, New York, and maybe its 65 nanometer processes as well as reduced competition from Intel and Sun Microsystems (now part of Oracle) in the high-end server racket, Big Blue lengthened the cadence by 50 per cent ahead of the Power6 launch. Also the Power6+ was not whatever it was supposed to be.

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Quick Notes About Oracle Solaris 11 Early Adopter

The Oracle Solaris 11 Early Adopter release is available for some days by now. This EA release provides access to the final (complete) functionality which will be delivered in Oracle Solaris 11 GA. Although I only played with it for a few days, here are my very, very first notes about things I found interesting to mention, in no particular order.

  • I noticed that the Oracle Solaris 11/11 release (and not EA) was mentioned in one of the subsections of the provided draft for the documentation. Was this inadvertently forgotten... on purpose? ;)
  • The support for Flash Archives seems to have finally disappeared. I know about the Distribution Constructor argument, but a flar(1M) (as an mksysb(1) for AIX) definitely has a special place in the Solaris ecosystem (particularly for crash recovery scenario).
  • The -x option has been removed from the vi(1) command (among others), and is now replaced by the use of the encrypt(1) command. I know a place where she will be missed: you know who you are :)
  • It seems that the network-boot-arguments command is now supported to be able to set IP configuration directly from the OBP, just in case a DHCP server is not an option to get this information at installation time (as we can do on IBM AIX using the IPL configuration from the SMS menu).
  • Automated Installer is now able to install Zones along with the main system.
  • New utilities are provided to help migrating JumpStart configuration files to AI manifests (I did not use them yet though).
  • RBAC things have changed a little, for example the provided profiles are now defined under different files under the /etc/security/prof_attr.d directory instead of a single file (/etc/security/prof_attr) before that (even in Solaris 11 Express). More, there is no Primary Administrator profile anymore, but a new System Administrator profile which doesn't have some security privileges the old profile has (can not read the /etc/shadow file for example).
  • The useradd(1m) command has well evolved. This utility is now able to automatically create a dedicated ZFS dataset as the home directory (which is not a directory anymore :)) if the -d flag is given, to populate the /etc/auto_home file, and to enable to autofs service to serve the /home content automatically as needed.
  • Although the default shell is now bash(1) (why not the newly integrated ksh93(1)?), the default PATH seen in OpenSolaris releases and Solaris 11 Express, which used to set GNU tools in front of SYSV commands, is reverted back to a more classical and fully functional paths: /usr/bin:/usr/sbin. At least the ls -v is OK again by default. Nonetheless, the path /usr/gnu/bin is here for whoever is interested.
  • An interesting change is the motivation to put out some old and well known configuration file. For better or for worse, the /etc/nodename is dead in Solaris 11. It is replaced by a property of a new SMF. So in order to change the nodename of a host, you must now do:
    # svccfg -s node setprop config/nodename = "mynewnodename"
    # svcadm refresh node
    
  • In the same vein, the /etc/default/init is replaced by a SMF too. The SMF is named system/environment:init, and the corresponding environment properties are environment/LANG, environment/LC_*, and environment/TZ.
  • If you want to be able to manually configure the network, you have to disable NWAM, to change the active Network Configuration Profiles (NCP) and enable traditional configuration:
    # netadm enable -p ncp DefaultFixed
    
  • The old sys-unconfig(1m) command is now replaced by a more powerful sysconfig(1m) utility which can unconfigure or reconfigure a Solaris instance, and generate a configuration profile which can be used to configure a system, or a Zone (exit the sysidcfg file).
  • Shares (NFS, SMB) are now supported inside a non-global zone.
  • The default networking mode is switched to exclusive-IP.
  • Similarly as can be found for SRM and privileges configuration settings with automatic Resources Pools, a VNIC can now be automatically instantiated for the time the Zone is booted, and automatically removed when she shuts down.
  • A new mode for the Zone known as Read-Only permits to create some instance which may be more or less writable, i.e. some parts may not be changed (configuration, file systems, etc.).
  • The IPS packages are now automagically updated in each Zones using Boot Environments.
  • Last point in this quick entry, the default locale positioned is en_US.UTF-8, and not just the old C. Well, not a big deal, but I found some tools which have issued some warnings against this locale such as expect for example.

So, I think that Solaris 11 is getting better, even from a Solaris 11 Express experience standpoint. Some choices are surprising, but the overall seems coherent and works as expected. A more longer experience in real user cases will be necessary to judge of this (very big) release, but I am mostly pleased with the direction taken by Solaris, and I am exited to put all of this new stuff in production!

Saturday 1 October 2011

Oracle Launches Next Generation SPARC T4 Servers

Here is a little press review around Oracle technologies:

New SPARC T4 Servers Deliver World Record Performance, Trump the Competition on Multiple Business-Critical Workloads

Overview

The SPARC T4-4 is a high performing two or four-socket server based on the SPARC T4 processor and optimized for data-intensive and enterprise workloads. The SPARC T4-4 is the most powerful server in the T-Series product family delivering unsurpassed single and multi-thread throughput performance. With several world record benchmarks, the SPARC T4-4 has set yet another milestone for the SPARC based industry leading server platforms. The SPARC T4-4 server boasts speed, security, and unmatched availability to data in a modular and compact 5 RU design. It is an optimal server platform for Oracle database with enterprise reliability, availability and security along with outstanding single thread performance. SPARC T4-4 server nodes are the high performance system building blocks for fault tolerant SPARC Supercluster servers supporting business critical and performance sensitive workloads on Oracle Solaris.

News Facts

Oracle today announced its new SPARC T4 server line, delivering the biggest generational performance increase in the history of Oracle’s SPARC processors. Oracle’s SPARC T4 servers with Oracle Solaris deliver unparalleled performance with impressive economics and are designed for every tier in the enterprise. Oracle’s new SPARC systems excel on mission-critical single threaded and highly concurrent workloads, and enable customers to consolidate multiple application tiers onto a single server, reducing system complexity and improving utilization. Oracle’s SPARC T4 servers are engineered to provide both Oracle and third- party applications with high performance, security, availability and scalability, and are the foundation for Oracle’s SPARC SuperCluster T4-4, also announced today. Additional information on Oracle’s SPARC T4 servers will be available during Oracle OpenWorld 2011. Oracle’s SPARC T4 Servers Offer Built-In Virtualization, Security and Dynamic Threads.

Key features in Oracle’s SPARC T4 servers include

Built-in Virtualization with Live Migration – With both Oracle VM for SPARC and Solaris Zones, Oracle’s SPARC T4 servers provide the industry’s most robust framework for virtualizing both instances of Oracle Solaris, as well as lightweight virtualization for applications. The servers provision in seconds, and now come with live, secure migration. On-chip Cryptographic Acceleration – New crypto units support over a dozen industry standard ciphers, enabling security conscious organizations in industries including telecommunications, healthcare, financial services and the public sector to keep their data safe with up to 44 percent faster secure queries than the latest generation of x86 systems when encrypted with Oracle's Advanced Security Products(4), 3x faster Oracle Solaris ZFS file system encryption than the latest generation of x86 systems(5), and 4x faster single-thread OpenSSL security than IBM POWER7(6).

Dynamic Threads – The SPARC T4 processor includes automatic continuous adjustment of core resources to balance between per thread and many thread workloads. Integrated with Oracle Database 11g, Oracle WebLogic Server 11g, and Java, the SPARC T4 processor presents no performance compromise against any customer workload, in real time.

SPARC T4 Deep Dive With Rick Hetherington

Rick Hetherington, Oracle’s vice president of hardware development, manages a team of architects and performance analysts who design Oracle’s M- and T-series processors. In this interview, Hetherington describes the technical details of the new SPARC T4 processor and explains why he thinks it is going to be an eye-opener for the industry.

Oracle's SPARC T4-1, SPARC T4-2, SPARC T4-4, and SPARC T4-1B Server Architecture

Oracle Solaris and Oracle SPARC T4 Servers—Engineered Together for Enterprise Cloud Deployments

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