Oracle CEO Larry Ellison Unveils New Midrange and High-End SPARC Servers

Oracle announced a complete refresh of its midrange and high-end SPARC server lines with new SPARC T5 and M5 servers running Oracle Solaris. Oracle’s SPARC T5 and M5 servers join the SPARC T4 servers to complete Oracle’s SPARC family, spanning entry-level, midrange and high-end.

Unveiled by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison in a live webcast, the new SPARC T5 midrange servers are based on the SPARC T5 microprocessor. The new SPARC T5 servers have set 17 world records, said Ellison. “The T5-8 running your applications is faster than the largest T4 computer we ever made,” said Ellison. In addition to the eight-socket T5-8, the SPARC T5 family consists of the two-socket T5-2, and the four-socket T5-4.

In addition, at the high end, there is the new SPARC M5-32 and the M5-16. According to Ellison, the M5-32 is 10 times faster than the M9000, and it is the first M series that Oracle has ever delivered. “It is the first new machine at the high end of the Sun line,” he observed. In addition, he added, it is “chock full” of the high availability and scalability, fault tolerant features that customers would expect to find in a mainframe computer. The chassis is the same for both but Oracle just doesn’t populate the entire machine for the M5-16.

When Oracle bought Sun almost four years ago in April 2009, some said the SPARC microprocessor was “a real laggard,” and “a lot of people believed we would never catch up,” said Ellison. “Well we have done better than catch up,” he said, “and we did it through consistent performance improvements every year. Every year we doubled the performance.”

But after a company catches up, the big question is whether it can keep it up, he noted.  “What we plan to do to sustain and increase that leadership is start moving a lot of features of our software, features of our database, features of Java out of the software and into silicon - out of software and into hardware,” said Ellison. For “the ultimate optimization,” said Ellison, “We are going to put database and Java accelerators right on the chip and we think that is going to let us gain a greater and greater advantage going forward.”  As databases move off of disk drives and into flash and then into main memory, significant improvements have to be made in the processor to keep up with that migration of data into faster and faster storage devices, and this is a natural evolution as the move is made into the next generation of computing and its associated storage, said Ellison.

“We think this is going to give us the ability to double performance again and again and again. And, not only maintain our lead in microprocessors but extend it beyond the competition because we are a software company that also does silicon. We are a silicon company that also does software,” said Ellison. Quoting the Oracle mantra, he added, “Engineering hardware and software to work together yields up huge benefits in performance, reliability, lower cost, lower power consumption - all of those things.”