Is the Oracle Model Right for the Cloud?

Arthur Cole
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Give Oracle credit for at least one thing: It at least has a clear idea of where it wants to go. The question is whether the rest of the enterprise industry wants to follow.

The company pulled the wraps off its new SPARC T4 processors this week, showing eight-core devices capable of handling up to eight threads, and supported by two on-chip 10 GbE ports and a pair of 8x PCIe 2.0 ports. That may be a large data pipeline, but it's probably going to be busy considering that advancements in the S3 core architecture increases performance substantially for both high-integer and floating-point operations. Each core also comes with its own 16 kB L1 instruction and data caches, plus an additional L2 cache. A third level, 4 MB of L3, is shared.

I always take manufacturers' own benchmark results with a grain of salt, but if Oracle's numbers can be confirmed, the device packs quite a punch when immersed in an Oracle environment. Oracle claims world-record performance with T4-powered Solaris machines running WebLogic Server 11g and Database 11g R2. Reporting more than 40,000 SPECjEnterprise 2010 EjOPS (jEnterprise Operations per Second), the company says the combo is 2.4 times better than a Power7 configuration running WebSphere and DB2.

This is only the beginning, however. The company is also accelerating development of the next-generation T5 chip, expecting to begin testing the device as early as next month. Consensus is that it will be built on a 28 nm process and, true to form, will include special-purpose hardware acceleration designed to kick up Oracle software.

Clearly, what's happening is that Oracle is looking to shed the confusion following the Sun Microsystems acquisition and refocus on producing powerful, integrated platforms, according to Computerworld's Patrick Thibodeau. Rather than attempt to segment the market with multiple high-, middle- and low-end designs, the company wants to solidify around the T-Series to deliver consistency across all platforms. And by publishing a clear roadmap, and sticking to it, Oracle users at least have the luxury of foresight when making today's infrastructure decisions.

The question in all this is an old one for Oracle. Will the industry bail on x86/Linux in favor of a higher-cost SPARC/Solaris platform? In the past, the answer was clearly no. Distributed architectures and scale-out provisioning clearly won the last round.

But the rub today is that we have this new thing called the cloud, and it provides IT service that is even cheaper and more flexible than in-house x86 platforms. If more and more enterprises, particularly small ones, shed their own IT infrastructures in favor of the cloud - a big if, mind you - than all those newly formed regional cloud centers, plus the large private clouds of the Fortune 5000, will drive up demand for top-performing platforms.

If Oracle can convince the industry that running Oracle software on Oracle hardware is the best way to maintain a top-flight cloud environment, the company could be at the heart of the next wave of enterprise architecture.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Sep 30, 2011 9:03 AM Nantha Kumar R Nantha Kumar R  says:

Good info yaar. Lookinfg forward Oracle to dominate the Enterprise Architecture even more.


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