Friday, July 2, 2010

Oracle Unveils New High-Performance Sun Fire Clusters

Oracle SunFire x86
Holding true to CEO Larry Ellison's promise that Oracle would primarily focus on the high-performance server market, last Monday Oracle expanded its line of x86 Sun servers with new rackmount, blade and network clustering servers. The newly released Sun Fire x86 Clustered Systems are intended for massive server configurations and will deliver a smaller footprint than previous generations of Sun File Server hardware. The servers themselves will come equipped with Xeon 5600 and 7500 processors, the latter is aimed at mission-critical systems which must always run and never go down. In doing so Oracle is competing against Intels Itanium processor line and even Sun's own SPARC line which has raised a few eyebrows.

The Sun Fire x86 Clustered Systems are designed for customers that run a mix of Oracle and non-Oracle enterprise workloads across a variety of systems. The cluster servers themselves consist of five rackmounted and two bladed servers that can hold two to eight processors and have been tightly integrated with Oracle software, middleware and management applications. Oracle has assured their customers that all Oracle software and middleware has been certified to run on these systems which have been optimized for Oracle Solaris, Oracle Enterprise Linux, and Oracle VM which supports Red Hat, Suse Linux, and even the KVM hypervisor.

In addition to optimizing their software and operating systems, Oracle has integrated Sun's Ops Center with its own Enterprise Manager providing a dynamic work flow for a single "lights-out" point of management. Blades, servers, storage, networking, virtualization and even powering the systems on and off can be handled all from a single web browser. Oracle has even included an Integration Assistant so you can configure and boot the systems straight out of the box within minutes. Even with no OS installed, the systems can reach out across the Internet to Oracle servers to check for firmware and BIOS updates and then download and install them.

"We claim we can manage a full blade ecosystem without requiring any network skills, because network virtualization is done in the silicon and through Oracle middleware technology," - Dimitris Dovas, director of product management for Sun hardware at Oracle

Oracle claims that this hardware will be able to deliver up to a 45 percent improvement in energy efficiency over previous generation systems and also the ability to run 70 percent more workload. They also claim that their new hardware can deliver the same performance in one-tenth the space with one-tenth the devices and one-fifth the number of network cables. The simpler cabling on the Sun Fire systems come through oracles Sun Blade 6000 10 GbE switches which are embedded within the blade itself or inserted through the top of the rack to connect the clusters. This improvement allows the server clusters to communicate to a network without having to connect though a networking cable and a switch.

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