Oracle's hardware focus usually is around its engineered servers that are based on the SPARC and Solaris technologies inherited when the company bought Sun Microsystems in 2010. However, Oracle officials also have kept building on the company's x86 server business, and are now launching two new workload-specific systems.
The new Sun Server X4-4 and X4-8 systems feature Oracle's elastic computing features, which officials said enable the servers to dynamically adapt—changing core counts or core performance, for example—to the specific requirements of the workloads running on them to help improve utilization and efficiency. The elastic capabilities come from the engineering work done by Intel and Oracle around the chip maker's Xeon E7-8895 v2 processor and Oracle's Solaris and Linux operating systems.
The four-socket X4-4 is aimed at analytics software and applications that call for virtual machines with large memory footprints. The eight-socket X4-8 is targeted at Oracle's database applications, officials said. It can also be combined with Oracle's Database In-Memory option to speed up query processing by enabling more of the database to be memory-optimized. Officials also said the systems will work well in dense, highly virtualized environments found in enterprise cloud data centers.
"The Sun Server X4-4 and Sun Server x4-8 further Oracle's goal of simplifying IT and significantly reducing operating expenses for our customers by delivering products that are best for Oracle Database In-Memory Option and business analytics," Ali Alasti, senior vice president of hardware development at Oracle, said in a statement.
Company officials said the x86 systems are important building blocks for Oracle's engineered systems, like the Exadata storage server and Exalogic cloud systems.
Oracle's hardware business has struggled since the Sun acquisition, though it saw an 8 percent revenue increase in the first three months of the year over the same period in 2013, reaching $725 million. In a statement in March, CEO Larry Ellison boasted about the performance of the company's high-end systems.
"Oracle's Engineered Server Systems, including Exadata and SPARC SuperClusters, achieved over a 30 percent constant currency growth rate in the quarter, while throughout the industry traditional high-end server product lines are in steep decline," Ellison said. "Our Engineered Systems business is growing rapidly for the same fundamental reason that our Cloud Applications business is growing rapidly. In both cases, customers want us to integrate the hardware and software and make it work together, so they don't have to."