"This is a really fast computer, ladies and gentlemen," said Larry Ellison, Oracle's CEO, at a launch event held at the company's headquarters in Redwood Shores, Calif., in an auditorium filled with Oracle partners, customers, employees and others. The event was preceded by one week the opening of the annual Oracle OpenWorld convention in nearby San Francisco.
The SuperCluster combines the latest versions of Oracle components, including the Solaris 11 operating system and new T-4 SPARC processors, both of which Oracle obtained in the acquisition of Sun Microsystems (completed in 2010). Among the boasts Oracle makes about SuperCluster: The T-4 processor has a five times faster single-thread performance than its predecessor, the T-3; four sockets per machine of eight processors each and eight threads per processor each, for a total of 64 threads per socket; performance of as many as 1.2 million input-output instructions per second (IOPS); and a 10-fold data compression rate in storage.
The Exadata, introduced in 2008, is designed to run Oracle database software in a single unit, and Exalogic, launched in 2010, is designed to run Oracle Fusion middleware and Java applications. SuperCluster, Ellison said, is designed to combine those two capabilities into a third machine.
"That's important because we have a huge SPARC/Solaris installed base, and those customers want to upgrade their system to something compatible. We wanted to give them a very, very smooth upgrade path, and that's what the SPARC SuperCluster is," he said.
Ellison frequently compared the Oracle products to the IBM P-series system. He said the Exadata is 10 to 50 times faster than the P-Series and four to 10 times faster at doing online transaction processing (OLTP), and that a cluster of eight Exadata machines costs just $3.3 million while just one IBM P-Series can cost $18.8 million.