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Oracle Releases SPARC T5 Servers; Too Late? 175

First time accepted submitter bobthesungeek76036 writes "On March 26th, Larry Ellison and always with fashionable haircut John Fowler announced the new line of SPARC servers from Oracle. Touted as the fastest microprocessor in the world, they put up some impressive SPEC numbers against much more expensive (and older) IBM hardware. Is the industry still interested in SPARC or is it too late for Larry to regain the server market that Sun Microsystems had many moons ago?" El Reg has a pretty good overview of the new hardware; the T5 certainly looks interesting for highly threaded work loads (there's some massive SMT going on with 16 threads per core), but with Intel dominating for single-threaded performance and ARM-based servers becoming available squeezing them for massive multi-threading, is there really any hope in Oracle's efforts to stay in the hardware game?
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Oracle Releases SPARC T5 Servers; Too Late?

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  • Re:Who cares? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sique ( 173459 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @11:50AM (#43292851) Homepage
    That's something you can do today with FPGAs anyway. No need to wait a few years.
  • Probably not. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tnk1 ( 899206 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @11:50AM (#43292853)

    Oracle is going to need to come up with a new game to make waves with the new processor. Simply improving a processor isn't going to change the fact that what people want are low cost processors without vendor lock in.

    Sun made a name for itself with interesting hardware, but that was before processing power was a commodity. There are definitely organizations that still run SPARC, and some others who need top of the line performance that will at least give it a shot, but everyone who has a brain and a little industry experience knows that you can't just "try out" the new SPARC with Oracle in charge. If you walk any distance down that road, you start paying premium prices for every little feature you want going forward.

    I used to work in exclusively Sun shops, and I've dealt with Oracle for years. There's little that the hardware and their database can do that can't be replicated by x64 and something like Postgres with some thought behind your architecture. For certain, the features they do have are not cost effective against the hundreds of thousands of dollars you pay for Oracle DB licensing, and the premium you pay for SPARC hardware and support.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @12:13PM (#43293157)

    "We are indeed evil" is the best phrase I've ever heard to describe Oracle. Their mafia-style "well, how much you got?" pricing schemes are insane. Much like the mafia they pretty much force you to give up financial statements and sensitive proprietary business info, then they charge you a percentage of your gross based on how much they think you can afford and how much they think you depend on their software. (Granted they don't admit to this, but this is the net effect of their practices)

    I shudder to think what strings they put on hardware they sell to you.

  • Re:Probably not. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @12:19PM (#43293237) Homepage

    Oracle is going to need to come up with a new game to make waves with the new processor. Simply improving a processor isn't going to change the fact that what people want are low cost processors without vendor lock in.

    "People" are not Oracle's target market. Their target are are huge 24x7x365 enterprise clusters that are not about to change databases unless they absolutely have to so for most of them the question isn't whether they'll run Oracle it's what they'll run Oracle on. Whether it's SPARC, POWER or Intel's E7 Xeons with RAS features they'll be paying blood for the hardware, ARM and Postgres isn't even on the radar. If you run a tiny, non-performance or non-uptime critical Oracle DB it's because you're an Oracle shop and have standardized on it, not because you need it or you have a PHB who insists on Oracle because it's enterprisy. I'm feeling pretty they'll sell if Oracle just spins it right that they take full top-to-bottom responsibility (just not liability) for the stack working at optimal performance.

  • Missing the Point (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @12:20PM (#43293251)

    The posts so far are missing the point. The point is that Oracle certifies their products to run on their hardware. They have a captive audience.

  • by Score Whore ( 32328 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @01:14PM (#43293823)

    You seem somewhat ignorant of the platform you are criticizing. Yes, we know it's not x86 so the fact that it doesn't run Windows isn't a surprise. You can run Linux on SPARC, don't know why you would want to though, Solaris is very good. No, it's not Linux, but it's still very good.

    As far as virtualization goes, they've had hardware support for longer than the x86 line. The Niagara line of processes have had hypervisors as an integral part of the system since the first generation T-1 processors in the T-1000 servers.

    Don't even know wtf you are talking about as far as "architectural design does not simplify operations and make IT more agile." Solaris supports all modern technologies commonly found in a data center.

  • by phocutus ( 670853 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @01:30PM (#43293949) Homepage
    I learned on Linux and Solaris (x86/SPARC) when I was 15, and I'm now 32 still using both (do the math).

    A saying was told me to growing up, "Use the Proper Tool for the Job" which varies person to person, BUT for me SPARC and Solaris is the right tool. I see the OpenSource community as a great community. My WHOLE stack runs on OpenSource software. I beta-test/develop MUCH of my stuff on either Linux or OSX.

    But when it comes to the production OS, I'm not some blanketed Linux bigot. I'm an *NIX Admin and an Architect at heart.

    Professionally I'm a CTO (I do everything from programming php / data-center / network / DBA / UNIX / security / etc.) for an internet-based start-up that runs Solaris 10 and used SPARC CoolThread hardware in production. Baffled why? For a few reasons:

    When I did a cost analysis of my time & the company's money vs Intel offerings and SPARC I eventually came away with these main points.

    1.) SPARC hardware is still WAY superior with remote management than any x86 POS I've ever managed. The ALOM on a SPARC and a serial cable from my Mac works EVERY time. When I worked in past shops managing thousands of Linux Dells and HP's we had nothing but issues with ILOs from the hardware and OS side. Just pure donkey shit.

    When you're a start-up buying used hardware it is a great way to cut cost where investors/owners LOVE. Frankly SPARC hardware in my experience can keep on chugging where those HPs and Dells are falling apart right and left. I don't have time to be fucking with hardware when I'm running the show of a million hats.

    2.) LONG-term stability with Solaris 10 and maybe Solaris 11 (still evaluating) is a necessity to me. I work for a crazy ass mad-scientist type who does EVERYTHING custom. He's worse than the scientists that I worked with back at JPL-NASA. He has software that's been running for a decade, and the software/application I write with him now he wants to work years down the road as well. That means, I don't need to worry about a yum or apt get update that blows away some part that is critical to ONLY us and I gotta figure WTF happened. The OS is a critical back-bone element where I've seen "Linux dependency hell" fuck me so many times and cost me so many hours, that I PREFER building my own Solaris 10 packages and Solaris 11 (still in testing for me) packages (Yes, I'm a REAL UNIX admin no these lazy wanders) without worries that the OS will be compromised by something lame. In the long-run I have more freedom to enjoy time with my doggies.

    When you work for a company that builds custom crap that. Everything it talks to regarding the OS needs to work without question. I have always have had that with Solaris SPARC and with Support till 2018 or extended 2021 by then I should be retired from the gig! But I KNOW nothing funky will happen with the OS while I'm working here. For each new x86 hardware update for Linux, it's a whole new 'testing' to make sure it doesn't blow up the OS on the next reboot. Never had that with SPARC of maintained properly.

    With that long-term support and marriage to the hardware I know the relationship is TIGHT, that can be VERY useful when you're concerned with down the road support or integration. Dell or HP does a hardware update and the RedHat or Debian kernel or images haven't been added, then you gotta do a post image. FUCK THAT NIGHTMARE! SPARC WORKS end of story.

    3.) Threads! NOTHING compares to SPARC when it comes to multiple threads and what not. My T2000's running 32 cores make damn good web-servers. They also save space in the rack as well!

    4.) Virtualization is WAY superior than KVM or VMWare. I've used many of the OpenSource VM solutions and frankly non compare to the control that I can do with either LDOMs or Solaris Containers/zones.

    5.) ZFS yeah, Linux we hear your promises of a bad-ass filesystem, I'm still waiting.

    So, is Oracle and SPARC dead? Popularity may go down, that's normal, but it's not "dead" to anyone who has a reason/purpose to use the OS/hardware offered.

    The world isn't one big LAMP stack.

    Again, I'm not *against* Linux, I use it for development and personal shit all day. However, I'm not a blind follower either.
  • Re:Probably not. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Princeofcups ( 150855 ) <> on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @01:40PM (#43294049) Homepage

    Oracle is going to need to come up with a new game to make waves with the new processor. Simply improving a processor isn't going to change the fact that what people want are low cost processors without vendor lock in.

    What individual users want is low cost without vendor lock in. What ENTERPRISE wants, and the market for Oracle, is a rock solid platform with excellent support and maintenance. Sun provided that at a reasonable cost. Oracle is simply charging too much for the same product. For example, they've completely overhauled their support costs to ream their existing Sun customers, and they (read we) are looking for other solutions. The company I work for has probably bought its last Sun/Oracle server.

  • Re:Probably not. (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @02:25PM (#43294505)

    Oracle is going to need to come up with a new game plan? This is Oracles all a part of the new game plan! Make the fastest processors in the world to run the best software in the enterprise the fastest possible. After all, it’s the Enterprise that Oracle is focused on, and today, more than ever, Oracle has the focus on developing and innovating across the entire stack from applications, to middleware, database, OS, virtualization, hardware, CPU to storage. And the only way you can engineer out the complexity, engineer out the issues of compatibility, reduce/eliminate installation and configuration headaches, system optimization challenges, patching & maintenance nightmares, etc is to control all the elements of the stack. Why do you think so many datacenters are in such a mess today? Theres too much complexity, too many vendors, too many variables, and that’s what Oracle is focused on.

    SPARC no longer is at a price premium over x86 unless you include the white boxes and looking at 2-socket boxes. Anything 4-socket and above, SPARC T4 and now SPARC T5 will show competitive price/performance. Just look at the latest TCO disclosures on TPC-C, TPC-H or even performance on SPECjEnterprise2010 or SPECjbb2013 benchmarks. Xeon is falling behind, especially on 4-socket and above. Intel is clearly focused on beating ARM, but at the same time, I believe they're defocusing on the enterprise. The current fastest Xeon is still Westmere-EX for 4-socket and 8-socket system, over 2 years old now! What happened to Sandy Bridge EX or even Ivybridge 4-socket or 8-socket? Still MIA? But yes, Haswell is already coming (to go after ARM). You wont see Haswell going after the enterprise any time soon. So if you are seriously looking at Enterprise quality HW with extreme performance, it comes down to either SPARC or Power. And with the 17+ benchmarks Oracle just announced, IBM is looking to be a distant 2nd place..

  • Re:Probably not. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) * on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @02:35PM (#43294621)

    wonder why SUN got out of business..

    Sun failed because there are two types of people:

    1. People who say that good support is really important
    2. People that think good support is important enough to pay extra for it

    There are plenty of plenty of people in category 1, but few in category 2. Modern hardware is reliable enough and cheap enough that it usually more cost effective to forgo premium support.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @10:09PM (#43299081)

    i haven't seen such a well constructed troll post in years. Seriously, this is good shit.
    --The world isn't one big LAMP stack. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    Every 15 year old thinks he knows everything. At 32 you should at least realize you don't know 1/2 the shit you SHOULD know.
    but you gave yourself away with -and a serial cable from my Mac works EVERY time.
    Still, another 10 years or so you are probably gonna be pretty good.

Variables don't; constants aren't.