Oracle's Ellison Targets HP, IBM With New Supercluster And Elastic Cloud

Oracle's Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison on Thursday launched an attack on his company's competitors with new servers, appliances, and software, and personally unveiled new server performance numbers he said destroys HP's "TurtleDome" server.

Among the product offerings Ellison introduced are new versions of SPARC-based servers, as well as the next version of its Solaris operating system and a SPARC-based version of its Exalogic Elastic Cloud appliance.

Ellison used his time on stage to trash-talk his company's primary competitors, particularly Hewlett-Packard. This Fall Oracle broke off its 20-plus-year strategic partnership with HP after Oracle acquired its own server and storage lines from Sun Microsystems.

Ellison said that Oracle's new SPARC Supercluster server, when configured with 108 SPARC T3 processors with 1,728 cores, 13.5 TBs of memory, 40-Gbps InfiniBand, and Oracle ZFS storage, and running a standard Oracle database, has reached 30 million transactions per minute, based on the tpmC benchmark.

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That performance compares to 10 million transactions per minute for an IBM P7 server cluster, and 4 million transactions per minute achieved by the HP Superdome server, which Ellison called the "HP TurtleDome."

He then half-heartedly apologized for offending the competition. "We just have better products," he said. "And they're just far behind. . . . We think (HP's) vulnerable, and we're going after them."

However, Ellison admitted that the Oracle Supercluster the company used to get the high performance benchmark numbers will not fit into many customer data centers.

"This configuration was huge," he said. "I'm not sure anyone will order this configuration."

Ellison also introduced Oracle's Sunrise program of combining its SPARC processor technology and Solaris operating system to lead its future product developments to describe how Oracle and Sun combined is outpacing its competition in terms of performance and availability.

"For all of our competitors who have been enjoying their 'Sundown' and 'Sunout' programs, this is all ending," he said. "This is the Sunrise."

The new hardware and software introduced on Tuesday all came from the legacy Sun side of Oracle. Oracle in January acquired Sun Microsystems and has since moved to optimize its software and hardware platforms to work in an appliance-like manner.

Underlying the new Sun hardware are two new families of SPARC processors, including the SPARC T3-4, a 16-core version of the T3, which was used in the Oracle Supercluster.

NEXT: New Processors, Servers, Appliances

Also new is the SPARC64 VII+ processor jointly developed by Sun and Fujitsu and which was used to refresh Oracle's entire SPARC Enterprise M-Series of servers.

John Fowler, executive vice president for systems at Oracle, said that, going forward, all new M-series servers based on the new SPARC64 VII+ processors will be co-branded with the Sun and Fujitsu names.

In addition to the new the new Oracle SPARC Supercluster servers, Oracle's new SPARC T3-4 processors were also used as the base for a new series of appliances, the Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud T3-1B.

The Exalogic Elastic Cloud is a complete hardware and software offering based on Oracle's T3-1B server blades, and when it ships in the first quarter of 2011 will be configured with 30 servers and 480 processor cores.

It was designed for customers looking to build cloud computing infrastructures, and provides virtualized compute, storage, and networking resources in a single appliance that can be deployed and released on demand, Ellison said.

"When a job hits a peak load, it goes out and grabs resources," he said. "When it is finished, it returns those resources to the pool."

Based on x86 servers, the original version of the Exalogic Elastic Cloud was unveiled in September at Oracle Openworld.

In addition to the new hardware, Oracle also unveiled Solaris 11, the newest version of the company's Unix operating system.

Fowler said Solaris 11 includes a wide range of new features, including the ability to work with hundreds of processors and thousands of cores with the power to run batch jobs in real time and run entire databases in memory.

Solaris 11 allows servers to be booted up in seconds and to be updated without rebooting, Fowler said. It also includes extensive fault management and application service managements which allows failed applications and services to be restarted quickly.

With Solaris 11, security is turned on by default, ensuring that applications are secure as they are booted up, Fowler said. The new operating system enforces role-based root access, and automatically provides security for Oracle's ZFS storage.

In addition to server and storage virtualization, Solaris 11 now also includes network virtualization, Fowler said. The virtualization capabilities of Solaris 11 can be run across a cloud environment, he said.

NEXT: Oracle Shows Commitment To Future Sun Development

With its new hardware and operating system products, and others yet to be unveiled, Oracle has proven its commitment to developing the legacy Sun products it received with the Sun acquisition, said Fowler, who before the acquisition of Sun served as that company's executive vice president of systems.

That commitment actually includes hiring new people to work on its Solaris and SPARC products, he said. "That's something we in Sun management couldn't say," he said. "We had to look around to find the tools (to hire new people)."