Eye on Oracle

Sep 26 2011   1:46PM GMT

Oracle to announce Sparc T4 SuperCluster Monday

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

Oracle will announce a new Sparc T4-based SuperCluster on Monday in an effort to fight for share of the multibillion-dollar Unix server market.

The SuperCluster T4-4, as it is called, will run Solaris on top of the new Sparc T4 processor. The T4 is a 40-nanometer, eight-core CPU that is expected to run at 3 GHz and higher and built for end users running large workloads such as Oracle Database. Monday will be the chip’s official coming-out party.

Oracle first introduced the SuperCluster last December, when it rolled one out based on the Sparc T3 chips. That original SuperCluster included up to 16 processors, 1.5 TB of flash memory and 144 TB of disk space.

A major difference between the Sparc T3 and T4 is that the eight-core T4 actually has fewer cores than its predecessor, which had up to 16 cores. The move may be an indication that rapid growth of cores within processors has a limit to its benefits, at least when trying to run large workloads that require power over parallelism.

In anticipation of the release of the chip, Oracle earlier this month updated its processor core factor, which left some scratching their heads over Oracle’s licensing policies.

On a small sidenote, the absorption of Sun Microsystems into Oracle is pretty much complete, at least in the front-end. Despite the fact that the announcement today will include Sparc and Solaris – two trademark products from Sun – the word “Sun” doesn’t appear anywhere in the invite to the event.

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