Oracle Continues to Grow Hardware Business 5 Years After Sun Deal

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Oracle Continues to Grow Hardware Business 5 Years After Sun Deal

by Jeffrey Burt

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No Change at the Top

After buying Sun, Ellison held onto John Fowler, who had headed up Sun's hardware business. Fowler is now Oracle's executive vice president of systems, responsible for everything from SPARC- and x86-based servers to networking and storage products. He also is in charge of systems software, such as Oracle Solaris.

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At the Top of the Lineup

Exadata was Oracle's first foray into hardware, and initially developed with Hewlett-Packard. The switch was made to Sun hardware after the deal. The Intel-based Engineered System is designed to be the best platform on which to run Oracle Database software.

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Offering a Cloud in a Box

Oracle's Exalogic Elastic Cloud is another Engineered System that includes highly integrated compute, networking and storage technology to run Oracle and third-party enterprise software.

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Taking Aim at Big Data Analytics

Oracle first introduced its Exalytics in-memory big data analytics appliance in 2011, saying its tightly integrated hardware and software is designed for business intelligence. Like the other Engineered Systems, the latest generation of Exalytics was announced in January.

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Built for a Virtualized World

The vendor's Virtual Compute Appliance offers a fully virtualized software-defined infrastructure that can be quickly deployed and supports Linux, Oracle Solaris and Windows workloads.

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Turning the Focus to Storage

Oracle's ZFS Storage Appliance targets network-attached storage (NAS) environments and integrates with Oracle Database software. It's storage hybrid nature features DRAM and flash, and it supports not only Oracle's Engineered Systems, but also its SPARC and Sun x86 servers and Oracle Solaris software.

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Innovation at the Chip Level

Oracle officials said they were going to increase the investment in SPARC chip development. The company has released five processors—in both its M and T families—in four years, and officials are talking up the upcoming M7, which will feature 32 cores, eight threads per core, 64MB of L3 cache and support for DDR4 memory.

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Keeping SPARC Alive

Oracle not only offers its lineup of Engineered Systems, but also is continuing to build on the SPARC hardware lineup that came over from Sun. The company pushes the price/performance advantages of the SPARC systems, as well as their availability and security.

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Going Big for the Database

Included in the SPARC system lineup is the SuperCluster M6-32, aimed for such workloads as databases as well as consolidation projects. It's a flexible and scalable system that holds up to 32 SPARC M6 chips and up to 32TB of memory.

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Hardware for the Telecoms

Oracle has continued innovating on the Netra family of servers for telecommunications carriers. The lineup includes systems powered by SPARC chips, such as the Netra SPARC T4-1, and others running on Intel chips.

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Partnering With Fujitsu

Since the acquisition, Oracle also has continued the partnership with Fujitsu that was begun by Sun. The two companies last year rolled out enhanced Fujitsu M10 servers that are powered by the jointly developed SPARC64 X+ chips.

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X86 Systems Still in the Lineup

Oracle also is continuing to build out its family of x86-based servers running on Intel chips. Among those systems is the new X5-2, a 1U (1.75-inch) system that is powered by two Xeon E5-2600 v3 chips and up to 36 cores and is designed for optimal database and virtualization performance.

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Keeping Up With the Blades

Oracle also is innovating on its bladed architectures, both for SPARC and Intel's x86 platform. Organizations can consolidate their SPARC- and x86-based workloads into a single hardware platform through Oracle's Sun Blade 6000 chassis.

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