Oracle Puts Software in SPARC M7 to Improve Security, Performance
Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst with Insight 64, said embedding software functions onto the silicon is the first iteration of Oracle's promise of leveraging the software and hardware together. Brookwood had been skeptical over the past several years, but told eWEEK that he is impressed with what Oracle has done with the M7 architecture. "They've taken what had been marketing fluff and made it into reality," he said. The challenge for Oracle now will be convincing businesses to buy the new systems. Brookwood said that over the last few years, there has been a "slow war of attrition. Every few years they lose a customer, and they don't get another one back." Few businesses make the move away from industry-standard systems to a more proprietary architecture unless there is a feature that isn't available on those industry-standard servers, he said. However, some of the new Silicon on Software "just might be the features [that could convince businesses to make the move]. Just making the [systems] a little bit faster or a little bit cheaper isn't going to do it.""Larry Ellison's willing to spend on innovation," he said. "They have more people working on the SPARC processor today than were ever working on it at Sun." Along with the SPARC M7 processor, Oracle also unveiled new M7 systems, including the SuperCluster M7 engineered system and SPARC T7 and M7 servers. All existing commercial and custom software will run on the new systems and benefit from the improved security and performance, and developers can write new applications that take advantage of the Software in Silicon features. The new systems are available now.
Some advantages Oracle has on its side are Ellison's patience and deep pockets, giving the company time to grow the business, Brookwood said. And Oracle has been consistent in rolling out new versions of the SPARC architecture on time.