SPARC Edition
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What's Inside the New SPARC T-Series Processors?

Since it was introduced 25 years ago, the SPARC platform has become synonymous with innovation in mission-critical, high-performance systems. But if Oracle’s current five-year roadmap is any indication, the innovations just keep coming.

"We're committing publicly to at least double application performance every other year," said John Fowler, executive vice president of systems at Oracle, when he revealed the roadmap at Oracle OpenWorld 2010.

To accomplish this ambitious goal, Oracle will quadruple the number of cores in SPARC processors by 2015, and deliver 32 times the number of threads, 16 times the memory capacity, 40 times the number of transactions per minute, and 10 times the number of Java operations per second.

Last December, Oracle announced an expanded SPARC portfolio with SPARC Supercluster, a combination of SPARC servers, Oracle Solaris operating system, Oracle’s Sun storage, and InfiniBand QDR. The integrated infrastructure helps organizations consolidate mission-critical workloads, achieve leading database and application performance, and deploy solutions quickly. "You're going to see us continue to execute on building up these core components and delivering the best possible technologies," Fowler says.

New Breakthrough Technology
SPARC T4 is an eight-core processor now being developed on an accelerated release cycle that will provide both greatly improved single thread performance and better overall system throughput. This new processor will enable the Oracle Solaris operating system to recognize critical threads in an Oracle application and assign those threads to a dedicated core, resulting in optimized system performance.

"The aim here was to develop a processor core that would provide high-speed, single-thread performance while also addressing the needs of applications that benefit from the high efficiency and throughput of multithreaded cores. The SPARC T4 is up to five times faster than the SPARC T3 for single-threaded functions," says Rick Hetherington, vice president of hardware development at Oracle. "It's breakthrough technology for us."

Oracle plans to ship the next-generation SPARC T4 system in the first half of FY2012 and is now designing the new 16-core SPARC T5 processor.

What is driving Oracle’s processor design goals through 2015? Customer input is key. "Virtualization is really what they want to talk about as they go forward in the next three, four, five years," Hetherington says. "Customers want a lot of flexibility and really good management tools to migrate workloads without constraints to realize much more effective use of their compute resources. We have a great lineup of processors, operating systems, virtualization, and management software to meet this demand."

Get more details about Oracle's five-year vision for SPARC.

Read more insights from Rick Hetherington.

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