Oracle's New SPARC SuperCluster T5-8 Includes Intel Xeon

by Sean Michael Kerner

While most of Oracle's Engineered Systems run on Intel x86 with Linux, the new SuperCluster is the exception to that rule, running on Solaris and using both SPARC and Intel.

Oracle's hardware business typically builds systems with either Intel silicon or its own SPARC. For the most part, the Engineered Systems portfolio is made up of Exa-class systems running on Intel x86 with Oracle Linux.

Then there are the SPARC-based systems that run on Oracle's own silicon typically running Solaris UNIX. Now Oracle is debuting a new system that melds the best of both SPARC and the Intel-powered Exa-class systems.

Oracle is expanding its engineered systems portfolio this week with the launch of Oracle SuperCluster SPARC T5the new SPARC SuperCluster T5-8. The new SuperCluster is powered by the SPARC T5 processor that Oracle first announced in March of this year. The T5 has 16 SPARC v9 cores per processor and 8 MB of shared level 3 cache per core.

At the time of the SPARC T5 launch, Oracle also announced a SPARC T5-8 server. The SPARC T5-8 is an 8 socket system that can deliver up to 128 processor cores in total. The new SPARC SuperCluster T5-8 builds off that initial server base.

An Oracle spokesperson explained to ServerWatch that the Oracle SuperCluster T5-8 is an engineered system that delivers server, storage, networking and system software in an optimized and ready-to-run solution.   

The SuperCluster T5-8 integrates two SPARC T5-8 servers, Oracle Exadata database storage, a Sun ZFS Storage Appliance and InfiniBand network fabric with Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud, Oracle Solaris and Oracle Enterprise Manager software.  

In total, the system delivers 256 compute cores and 4 TB of memory from the two SPARC T5-8 compute nodes.

While the SPARC SuperCluster is powered by SPARC compute, the integrated Exadata database storage sever is powered by a pair of 6-core Intel Xeon E5-2630L chips for SQL processing. In terms of storage capacity a full rack configuration with high capacity disks can be configured with up to 288 TB of raw disk capacity.


The SPARC SuperCluster T5-8 also includes Oracle Solaris 11.1, which can be used to support a variety of applications including databases. According to Oracle, with the SuperCluster T5-8 companies can deploy an entire multi-tier enterprise application  with web, database, and application components on one highly efficient, highly available system.

While Oracle's overall hardware business has been slumping, its Engineered Systems business has been a bright spot. During Oracle most recent fiscal quarter, CEO Larry Ellison reported that the Exa-class systems all had their best quarters ever. Ellison did not specifically call out or mention the SPARC SuperCluster class of engineered systems during the earnings call.

The first generation of SPARC SuperCluster was announced in September of 2011 powered by the SPARC T4.

According to Oracle, the new SPARC SuperCluster T5-8 is now Oracle's fastest engineered system.

"SuperCluster is Oracle’s only engineered system that combines Exadata and Exalogic capabilities with zero overhead virtualization," Oracle's spokesperson said. "In addition, only SuperCluster supports running older software without modification using Oracle Solaris and connecting to legacy SAN storage allowing organizations to incrementally migrate their applications over time."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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This article was originally published on Friday Jun 28th 2013
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