Oracle announced their new line of Sun SPARC T3 powered servers at Oracle Openworld 2010. The SPARC T3 processor includes several improvements on T2 and T2+ processors including:
|T2 / T2+||T3|
|65 nm manufacturing process||40 nm manufacturing process|
|4MB L2 Cache||6MB L2 Cache|
|8 Cores (8 threads/core)||16 Cores (8 threads/core)|
|8 Crypto Accelerators (1/core)||16 Crypto Accelerators (1/core)|
|1 On Board PCIe x8 v1 Port||2 On Board PCIe x8 v2 Ports|
It is interesting to note that the T2 processor was only used in single socket systems. The T2+ processor removed the T2’s on board 10 GbE ports and other components to make room for the SMP glue. With the T3 processors, the 10 GbE ports have returned and the chip has built in glueless support for 4 way servers.
All in all they have packed more T-Series goodness in a smaller package but I’m not making goo-goo eyes yet.
For one, the smallest T3 based server, the T3-1, has the same number of threads as the T5140 but takes twice as many rack units. Although the T3-1 supports more PCIe cards and more internal hard disks, I would rather have a 1RU server or else have it support twice as much RAM.
The T3-2 server supports 256 threads. Compared to the T5440, it is actually smaller at 3RU and uses less power which sounds like a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, the T3-2 is also light on RAM supporting a maximum of 256GB compared to the T5440’s 512GB.
In short, The T3 series is a little off course for me at the moment. As a platform for consolidating tens of smaller applications, the thread to RAM ratio is too low making it hard to get 100% utilization out of these servers. With the T3-4 servers loading even more processing power into a single machine, the thread to machine ratio high as well. This is good if you are running a few really huge applications but if you are consolidating many smaller applications, you will not want to put this many eggs in one basket.
I was recently discussing load balancers with someone. I said I was much happier with F5 than I was with Cisco and he countered that although he preferred F5 head to head, going with Cisco for all the network was better for them in the long run.
The situation with storage is similar. EMC makes a great SAN but a pretty bad NAS. Is it worth getting EMC”s NAS for the One Stop Shop factor?
Since Oracle’s acquisition of Sun, I’ve been looking forward to the success of their “One Stop Shop” philosophy. Successfully bringing all their offerings under one roof promises better and faster support all around.
Unfortunately, it has been almost a year and Oracle is still not sure how they are to unify the customer support systems. New support contracts don’t work in either system. To make things a little less clear, Oracle recently announced that everything will be migrated to “My Oracle Support” but they don’t know when- very reassuring.
A simple pattern emerges. One Stop Shop is a dream for IT people. Support is hard enough to get when you’ve isolated a problem to a specific vendor. It is even harder when your problems are between two vendors and each points the finger at the other.
When does the One Stop Shop strategy become a rationalization for Vendor Lock-In? It is a delicate balance around how much better your IT could be with Best of Breed vs. how much worse they will be integrating all the different pieces of the puzzle.
Regarding Cisco vs. F5, I’m also pretty happy letting Cisco handle everything Layer 3 and under and I don’t worry too much about the integration. I’m also optimistic regarding Sun and Oracle. I think they’ll have the wrinkles ironed out by the second half of 2011. If they don’t, it will be a serious let down.
Oracle just announced a new line of Nehalem based x86 servers and they are beasts:
Interesting to note: the x4450, my previous favorite due to being the only 2RU 4 socket Xeon I’m aware of has a new big brother- the Sun x4470. It seems they couldn’t get 4 7500 series Nehalems in 2RUs or else they realized that no one could compete with them in 3 RUs so why bother.
Also interesting is the 5 rack unit Sun x4800 which supports 8 Nehalem 7500 series processors, up to 64 cores, hot-swappable IO cards, 1TB of RAM and has built in NEMs (borrowing from blade tech it seems). A fully loaded server runs about 3KW at 100% utilization according to the power calculator which is more than a similarly configured (much more reliable) M5000 but in half the rack space:
Also interesting is widespread support for all types of SSD and Flash memory modules in this line, and the additional RAS capabilities coming to the x86 line with the new Nehalem processors.
The long and short of it for me seems to be that the machines are beasts but power hungry beasts. None of the lower power Nehalems really seem to be on the table. Until we see prices, it will be hard to tell if these are worth the pdf’s their printed on.
Last night I watched almost the entire 5 hour live webcast announcing Oracle’s strategies regarding the Sun Microsystems acquisition. As a near-evangelist for Sun and Solaris, I’m very happy with the deal finally going through and even happier that most of what Oracle said makes sense to me as a customer.
What I liked:
- The clear commitment to the SPARC roadmap especially the T series. I honestly don’t know what I would have done if the T series servers disappeared. I’m very happy that they put raising the clock speed into the roadmap because some applications just can’t be deployed on these servers.
- The clear commitment to making waves in Enterprise Storage. NetApp was specifically mentioned and obviously the 7000 series arrays are best suited to compete with the NetApp arrays but I hope they will draw some EMC blood as well. I like the plans for integrating backup capabilities.
- The plans to integrate really great Solaris tech into Oracle applications like DTrace, and RBAC
- The plans to offer direct support. Honestly this was one of the most annoying parts of working with Sun was having to work with different support providers in every location.
- The plans to change the supply chain and ship direct- no more out of stock excuses.
- The plans to integrate Ops Center with Oracle Enterprise Manager.
- Larry Ellison’s stand up comedy
- And completely unrelated- the flashing disk lights on the Exadata V2 🙂
I didn’t like:
One thing I’m not sure about is the integration of Sun virtualization technologies into Oracle VM. On one hand it sounds good, on the other hand, I think this was the only part of the presentation where I noticed there were no due dates. Virtualization is super important to me so I really want to know where things stand.
Obviously, it is easy to get up and say everything will integrate but doing it is much harder. Just getting past the internal politics of this will be a major issue. Now we can only wait and see if Oracle can pull it off.
I used to get upset with “Oracle people” for always thinking that Oracle was the solution to every problem. If they pull off this acquisition, I much just become an “Oracle person” myself.
Reporting projects are the kind of projects which never seem to end. After a couple iterations I’ve come to the following conclusions:
- Absolutely no reports should run on a production database.
- Moving/aggregating data from a production database to a reporting database using ETL tools prone to synchronization issues and pretty unreliable.
- The best option is to set up real time replication of the data and build additional views on that.
Unfortunately, if you need to get data from heterogeneous databases, ie. Oracle, MySQL, SQL Server, etc. into a single reporting database, replication is not a simple solution. If you are running expensive database software in production, it may not be cost effective to run the same database for reporting.
Of course there are cross database replication solutions like Golden Gate or SharePlex but they are very expensive. I had already given up on getting data from Oracle into MySQL for reports when I stumbled across Tungsten Replicator.
According to the website, Tungsten Replicator provides open source database-neutral master/slave replication. Master/slave replication is a highly flexible technology that can solve a wide variety of problems including Cross DBMS Integration, ie. replication from Oracle to MySQL.
I’m looking forward to testing this product in the near future and I’d be happy to get anyone’s input if they’ve used it.