Friday, 01 July 2016 11:27

Oracle puts SPARC S7 in the cloud and in customers' hands


Oracle has announced a range of products and services built around its new SPARC S7 processor.

The new SPARC S7 family includes servers, an engineered system, and cloud infrastructure.

The S7 processor itself features the 'Software in Silicon' features found in the M7.

This includes silicon-secured memory (to prevent buffer overflow and related exploits), data analytics accelerators (to speed SQL operations), and encryption.

Oracle vice-president of product management Marshall Choy told iTWire that the S7 family extends the company's product line and provides "x86 commodity economics" with the advantages of SPARC.

"It's not a pricing exercise," he stressed, but rather cost savings achieved through engineering.

The S7 contains eight cores (fewer than the M7) but runs at a faster clock speed (4.27GHz) and has the I/O and memory controllers built into the chip, resulting in lower cost and performance efficiencies.

The two-socket S7 servers are aimed at scale-out and cloud workloads, smaller databases, and Java applications. Compared with x86 servers, they deliver 1.7x better per core Java performance efficiency, 1.6x per core database OLTP performance efficiency, and 2-3x more bandwidth for high-traffic analysis and cloud apps, according to Oracle.

The combination of price and analytics capability make them good choices for running Hadoop and Spark, Choy said.

The Oracle MiniCluster S7-2 is an engineered system aimed at the midmarket. While it has full application and software compatibility with the SuperCluster M7, it is suited to remote and branch offices, and test/development purposes, among others.

In addition, the MiniCluster "dramatically reduces administrator skill requirements", Choy said. More than 200 security controls are available at the click of a button, along with a range of compliance and audit rules. Real Application Cluster and Oracle database deployments can be carried out with a few mouse clicks, and around 90% of admin tasks can be carried out without resorting to the command line.

And there are the usual engineered system features, including proactive system health checks and full system patching.

SPARC S7 systems have been added to the Oracle Cloud. Prices are the same as for x86, despite SPARC's advantages, Choy observed.

The same hardware is used in the cloud and on premises, giving customers "a unique choice", he said. Oracle designs its products with the scalability, security and other characteristics needed for cloud use, and "these benefits trickle down to on-prem".

All these new products are available immediately, he said.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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