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.
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.
I’ve been working with Unix for a fairly long time now- about 13 years.
I’ll admit that I started with Linux and thought it was light years ahead of SunOS 4.x running on those old SPARC machines- I mean who had heard of SPARC processors? I remember my boss trying to explain to me that even an older SPARC processor was more powerful than a newer Intel Pentium processor. I didn’t really believe him. In time, I convinced them to get rid of most of their SPARC/Solaris in favor of the hip, free, and cheap Intel/Linux combination.
Now I see that I couldn’t have been more wrong. I realize that SunOS 4.x probably still has features which I don’t know how to use properly. When I look at Solaris 10, ZFS, Zones, LDOMS, DTrace, etc. I not really sure you could pay me to work with Linux (that would be soo depressing). That isn’t even mentioning the SPARC hardware it runs on- Can any Intel server compare to a T5140???
That’s why the current situation with Sun absolutely SUCKS (pardon my french)! I’m sure there are a lot of admins out there who feel the same way. If this Oracle deal doesn’t go through and Sun disappears because of it, it will be our loss. We’ll be stuck with mediocre operating systems and commodity hardware and I really hope it doesn’t happen.
That said, I’d like to say thanks to all the people at Sun who are still turning out crazy cool technologies despite the problems.