IBM Power 795 Server vs. Oracle's
SPARC M6-32 Server

Oracle SPARC - The Smarter Choice

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Top Three Reasons Why Oracle’s SPARC M6-32 Server is a Smarter Choice than IBM’s Power 795 Server

Oracle Unveils Its Fastest and Most Scalable Server and Engineered System

Oracle SPARC M6-32 and Oracle SuperCluster M6-32

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Reason #1. Old School Server Pricing Versus Oracle’s Innovative Near Linear Server Pricing

Large scale-up SMP servers offer significant advantages for improving application and database performance, simplifying data center operations, increasing server utilization for complex workloads, and consolidating smaller servers. But large scale-up servers also have had historically significantly higher cost per unit of performance, limiting their use to specialized workloads to justify the costs.

Oracle Revolutionizes High End Server Economics

Oracle's new server economics enables near-linear pricing across the entire SPARC server line, from the single-processor SPARC T5-2 server to the 32-processor SPARC M6-32 server. Oracle customers can now decide how much performance they need, without having to worry about price/performance, knowing that all our SPARC servers deliver the same price/performance. Which means that, customers can now deploy any workload, large or small, onto a larger scale server, and obtain increased scalability, performance, and efficiency, and reduced complexity without the price premium.

But IBM still follows the old school server pricing model, which requires their customers to pay a premium. As the chart shows, the price for a unit of work (performance) for IBM Power-based servers increases as the servers get larger. But Oracle’s largest SPARC M6-32 server delivers virtually the same price/performance as the smaller SPARC T5 servers, with no server pricing penalty.

Investing to Simplify Your Infrastructure

Oracle - The Smarter Choice - Investing to Simplify your Infrastructure

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Reason #2. Oracle's No-Additional Cost OS and Virtualization Software

When it comes to large scale-up servers, choosing between Oracle and IBM is like choosing between an all you can eat fixed buffet and a la carte. IBM’s a la carte pricing means you have to buy the operating system and virtualization licenses for every core of the server, and also decide which editions you need. On a high-end server like the IBM Power 795, with up to 256-cores, the costs for the operating system and the virtualization, which are priced per core, can add up fast.

The licensing costs for PowerVM virtualization on the IBM Power 795, for example, can be as high as $2800 per core, while the AIX OS can be as high as $4,225, which adds up to to $1,081,600 to the cost of the server! And that doesn't include support of those licenses. Furthermore, there are three different levels of support. With SPARC systems, both OS and virtualization licenses, as well as enterprise level 24/7/2-hr response time support and maintenance, are included in Oracle’s fixed-rate Oracle Premiere Support. As a result, the equivalent virtualization and OS costs on a fully loaded SPARC M6-32 are a fraction of the IBM costs.

The SPARC M6-32 also offers three levels of complementary virtualization technologies (hardware partitions, hypervisor-based logical domains and OS zones), all of which have very low to no overhead with no additional costs.

Reason #3. Oracle Expands High End Hardware Offerings While IBM Sells Off x86 Server Division, Impacting Integrated/High-End PureFlex Architecture

In 2010, Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems and released a five-year SPARC and Solaris roadmap, promising that Oracle would be investing significantly more in SPARC and Solaris R&D than Sun ever did and would release SPARC processors that would surpass the competition.

Four years later, Oracle has released five generations of SPARC processors, increased performance by over 5x, and met roadmap specifications as promised.

Oracle’s SPARC is Leading, IBM’s Power is Late

During the same time period, IBM had released a single, minor processor upgrade to its Power family, Power7+, with a minimal performance increase of ~10% (based on IBM’s rPerf performance sizing Metric in IBM’s Power Performance Report). As per available public IBM Power roadmaps, IBM’s Power7+ was expected in late 2011, but wasn’t released till late 2012/early 2013, roughly a year later. Power8, recently released on low end servers, is also at least one year late per IBM’s 3-year generation cadence.

At the high end, IBM has still not upgraded its four-year old Power 795 to the Power 7+ processor nor to the newest Power8 processor. Oracle, on the other hand, during same period, has increased high end performance by up to 12x per CPU from the previous generation M9000 to the SPARC M6-32. The SPARC M6-32 with 32-CPUs and 384-cores, is up to 10x faster than the previous Oracle high-end SPARC Enterprise M9000 at up to 1/4th the price. That’s a 40x improvement in price/performance.

And with IBM’s recent POWER8 low-end system announcement it is apparent that IBM will not upgrade its high end 795 server with POWER8 cpus and may not be releasing a new high end, POWER8 system. According to IBM’s technical red paper on the newly announced Power S824, (Page 40 Table 2-1 Summary of POWER8 processor technology), IBM clearly shows “SMP design-point - 16 sockets with IBM POWER8 processors”. According to IBM’s own “Product preview and Statements of Direction”, IBM’s high end Power795 will not receive any upgrades to POWER8. In the past 15 months Oracle has released a new SPARC high end server, the SPARC M5-32 and nearly doubled its performance with the release of the SPARC M6 processors.

So while IBM is disinvesting in hardware, Oracle is offering integrated solutions where software and hardware are engineered to work together, reducing complexity, improving total cost of ownership, and enhancing performance.

SPARC M6-32 server joins Oracle’s Engineered System Portfolio

Oracle’s new engineered systems integrate servers (processors, memory, IO) along with optimized storage servers, operating system, virtualization, database, and application software into one engineered, integrated, and optimized solution. Rapidly gaining market share, and based on x86 and SPARC processors, these systems significantly increase performance over standalone servers. The importance of the high end SPARC server market to Oracle is highlighted by the SuperCluster M6-32 which adds the Exadata storage cells to the SPARC M6-32 server to create the fastest Oracle engineered system.

So, when it comes to high end servers, are you going invest in a company that is divesting from hardware and divesting from the high-end, or choose the company that is continuing to innovate from the processor to the server to the application level and is expanding its server and hardware offerings with published, public committed roadmaps?

Learn more about Oracle SPARC M6-32

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