Oracle Claims Benchmark Record With SPARC Supercluster Servers

Oracle has introduced a new line of SPARC-powered servers that, when assembled into a server cluster, deliver transaction processing speeds three times faster than IBM systems and more than 7 times faster than HP systems. The new processor, server, storage, networking and operating system announcements continue Oracle's strategy of engineering hardware and software to work together to optimize performance and efficiency.

December 6, 2010

3 Min Read
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Oracle has introduced a new line of SPARC-powered servers that, when assembled into a server cluster, deliver transaction processing speeds three times faster than IBM systems and more than 7 times faster than HP systems. The new processor, server, storage, networking and operating system announcements continue Oracle's strategy of engineering hardware and software to work together to optimize performance and efficiency.

Oracle SPARC Supercluster systems comprise a group of SPARC T3 servers running SPARC processors, flash storage and InfiniBand networking equipment. The SPARC server and processor lines were developed by Sun Microsystems, which Oracle acquired earlier this year. The independent Transaction Processing Performance Council's TPC-C benchmark reported that the Oracle system topped 30 million transactions per minute doing online transaction processing on an Oracle 11g database. That tops the 10 million transactions-per-minute performance of an IBM Power 780 system and the 4 million transactions-per-minute performance of an HP Superdome high-performance computer.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison took particular aim at HP in his remarks at an event Thursday in Santa Clara, Calif.: "We think the HP machines are vulnerable, we think they're slow, we think they're expensive. They are vulnerable in the marketplace and we're going to go after them," Ellison said at the event.

HP responds that Oracle is comparing two different server platforms that are not the same--that is, a cluster of new Oracle servers versus one instance of an older HP server. HP also notes that it is the top-selling server brand, based on industry reports. "Larry Ellison bought a money-losing business that had steady market share declines for years, and which still ranks at the bottom of the market. Customers aren't fooled by outdated benchmarks, no matter what Oracle says," HP said in a statement.

Oracle also announced a refreshed line of SPARC T-Series and Enterprise M-Series servers, as well as a SPARC T3 server processor that the company says is the industry's first 16-core processor. In addition, Oracle introduced a SPARC-powered version of the Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud engineered system optimized for running Java applications. This follows the introduction of an x86-based Elastic Cloud system at the Oracle Open World convention in September. Oracle is also preparing to release a new version of Sun's Solaris operating system sometime next year. By combining the operating system, software, processor, server and other components together, you get a highly optimized system, says John Fowler, executive vice president of systems at Oracle. "More than any single piece, what we're doing here is engineering core technology like SPARC and Solaris and doing it with an understanding of the entire environment," Fowler says. "We're engineering all of this technology to work together."

It makes sense that a company would want its customers to buy all of their system components from the company, notes Nathan Brookwood of the research firm Insight 64. "It's an easy claim to make, but you need some proof points, and what's interesting about today's event is that they actually have that proof point," Brookwood says of the benchmark. "The 30 million, that is an awesome number." Fujitsu also announced the introduction of a new line of its servers also running the SPARC processors. Fujitsu and Sun Microsystems co-developed the SPARC processor. 

There has been a notable rivalry between Oracle and HP of late after Oracle hired Mark Hurd as a co-president after Hurd had been forced to resign as HP CEO in August. HP hired as Hurd's replacement Léo Apotheker, a former CEO of software company SAP. Oracle in November won a $1.3 billion federal lawsuit against SAP for stealing Oracle software code.

Brookwood also says the rivalry stems from efforts by HP, as well as other tech companies, to woo away Sun Microsystems' customers during the long period from April 2009 to January 2010 when Oracle's acquisition of Sun was pending.

The various Oracle products introduced Thursday will be available within the next calendar year, says an Oracle spokeswoman.

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