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Oracle's SPARC M7

Oracle's 'Extreme Expression of Hardware and Software' Working Together
Oracle’s ‘Extreme Expression of Hardware and Software’ Working Together

By Tom Haunert


SPARC M7 Processor Has Unparalleled Features

SPARC M7 processors and systems

New SPARC M7 software-in-silicon capabilities include security, SQL, and capacity features.

In a presentation that referenced the release of six generations of SPARC in five years, numerous customer successes, and 20 world-record performance benchmarks, Masood Heydari, Oracle’s senior vice president for hardware development, described unparalleled features of the latest SPARC processor—the SPARC M7—and its software-in-silicon technology.

Heydari called the SPARC M7 processor “the most extreme expression of hardware and software engineered to work together,” during a presentation Monday at Oracle OpenWorld.

SPARC M7 and SPARC M7-based systems are more than chips and server chassis, he said. “It’s not just hardware. It’s a complete platform—hardware, software, and developer tools—all of it available today.”


SPARC M7 processors and systems are more than just chips and chassis, said Oracle's Masood Heydari.

Heydari highlighted a number of hardware improvements of the SPARC M7 over the previous generation SPARC processor, including the doubling of processor cores, the 4-fold increase in cache per core, the doubling of memory bandwidth, and the tripling in IO bandwidth. He then dived deep into new software-in-silicon capabilities in SPARC M7, including security, SQL, and capacity features.

SPARC M7 security in silicon delivers two key features: hardware-assisted encryption and silicon-secured memory. Hardware-assisted encryption uses crypto accelerators to deliver fast end-to-end encryption of popular security ciphers (such as AES and SHA). Silicon-secured memory protects against attackers accessing data in memory. This memory protection is always on, and it has a near-zero impact on performance.

SPARC M7 SQL in-silicon features include in-memory analytics acceleration by using data analytics accelerator (DAX) engines and make the new SPARC M7-based systems superior platforms for running Oracle Database 12c In-Memory. Heydari pointed to examples of 10- and 83-times performance improvement for Oracle Database 12c In-Memory running SQL through the DAX engines on SPARC M7-based systems.

SPARC M7 capacity in silicon dramatically reduces memory utilization. Capacity in silicon includes inline decompression that enables aggressive data compression and high-performance data access.

Oracle Solaris

 New Oracle Solaris releases deliver enhancements...for SPARC systems.  

—Masood Heydari, Oracle Senior Vice President, Hardware Development

Heydari also pointed to the new Oracle Solaris 11.3 and Solaris Studio releases. The new Oracle Solaris releases deliver enhancements for secure deployment, compliance, and secure access for SPARC systems, while the new Solaris Studio works with silicon-secured memory in SPARC M7 to let developers debug memory access issues. He described how one application development organization was able to use SPARC M7 silicon-secured memory and Solaris tools to quickly resolve existing bugs that were previously difficult to locate, debug, and secure.

Heydari noted that Oracle Software in Silicon Developer Cloud is open and available for developers to access a SPARC M7 system virtual machine to test their existing code, sample code available in the cloud service, or new application code. He also reminded attendees that free access is available to members of Oracle PartnerNetwork.

The SPARC M7 system family includes six new systems, available for order today. Heydari called out the individual member systems from the SPARC “family portrait.” SPARC T7-1, T7-2, and T7-4 include one to four processors and address entry-level to midrange computing requirements. SPARC M7-8 and -16 systems address high-end computing and are vertically scalable from 1 to 8 and 1 to 16 processors, respectively. Oracle SuperCluster M7 is the flagship SPARC M7-based engineered system, and it completes the SPARC system portfolio.

Heydari said that with the SPARC M7 hardware, Oracle is “delivering the most efficient and the best integration with Oracle software. And we’re delivering incredible performance.” 

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