After releasing new SPARC chips, servers and a Solaris road map at Oracle OpenWorld, Oracle officials head back on the road to outline the company's vision for the data center.
the Oracle OpenWorld event the week of Sept. 20, Oracle officials followed
through on promises to aggressively expand the hardware business the company
acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems earlier in 2010.
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and
other officials had been saying for about a year that they saw the SPARC and
x86 hardware portfolios as a key part of the $7.4 billion deal, and even laid
out a road map
in interviews a month before the show.
Still, there was some skepticism in the industry, though that
was muted when Oracle executives at the show unveiled the new SPARC T3
processor and a line of new servers powered by the chip. They also outlined
plans for the Solaris operating system.
computing takes center stage at Oracle OpenWorld.
Oracle has since returned to taking its message on the road,
with 100 or so events scheduled around the world at which officials would lay
out the company's road map for customers, show how Oracle plans to play a
larger role in the data center and answer questions.
On Sept. 30, Oracle officials came here to Bedford,
north of Boston, for a daylong
event. They offered breakout sessions on such topics as consolidating and
virtualizing on Oracle Sun servers, optimizing data center investments through
use of both Solaris and Oracle Enterprise Linux, designing the modern data
center, cloud computing, and using Sun blade systems.
With the Sun acquisition, Oracle is finding itself in tighter
competition with the likes of Hewlett-Packard, IBM,
Dell and Cisco Systems, particularly in such areas as converged data centers
and data center consolidation. Cheryl Martin, senior director of system product
marketing at Oracle, reiterated what Ellison has been saying: Oracle
plans to aim its hardware business
at the high end of the market, not only its
SPARC systems but also its x86 Intel-based servers.t
Speaking to about 30 customers, Martin outlined the problems
facing modern data centers-from explosive data growth to globalization to
rising power costs-and how the combination of Oracle and Sun can help alleviate
Martin noted that between the two, Oracle offers products
throughout the technology stack, from servers, storage and virtualization to
applications, middleware and databases. And the tight integration of those
technologies will help bring offerings to customers much more quickly, she
"By bringing the two companies together, we're looking at
being able to do innovation much, much faster," Martin said.
Oracle officials have talked about how the tight integration
between Oracle and Sun products will bring significant performance gains to
systems such as the Exadata database system introduced in 2009 and updated at the
2010 Oracle OpenWorld, and the Exalogic
product rolled out at the show.
Martin and other officials said Oracle's open technology platforms
enable customers to use third-party products if they desire, but that using a
complete Oracle platform would serve them better.
"You're going to see the greatest performance when using
all the components of the [Oracle] stack," she said.
Martin made a point of highlighting what Oracle is doing with
the Sun products it acquired, including SPARC and Solaris, and what it plans
for five years down the road.
The operating system was an important point for one customer,
who questioned Oracle's determination to keep both Solaris and Oracle
Enterprise Linux. Martin said it was important for the company to keep both operating
systems, though noting there could be some crossover technologies. She also
pointed out that Oracle would have to keep Solaris if it wanted to keep the Sun
hardware that it runs on.
"We can't afford not to have the two OSes," Martin
The SPARC T3 chip has 16 cores-twice the number in the current
T2 chip-that can run 128 threads, plus integrated on-chip encryption, 10
Gigabit Ethernet and PCIe Gen 2. "Basically we have a complete
system-on-a-chip," she said.
Over the next five years, Oracle plans to double the
performance of the chip every two years, and will offer four times the number
of cores, 32 times the number of instruction threads and 16 times the memory
Regarding Solaris, Oracle plans to release Solaris 11 in 2011,
then roll out annual updates at least through 2015.