Oracle Launches New Intel-Based Servers

The software giant unveiled five new rack and blade systems powered by Intel’s new Xeon E5-2600 processors.

Oracle officials, who are still working to build a strong business around the hardware they inherited through the $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems, are rolling out a new line of systems powered by Intel€™s latest Xeon processors.

The software giant on April 11 unveiled five new systems€”both rack-based and blades€”that are powered by Intel€™s Xeon E5-2600 chips made for two-socket servers.

The systems let Oracle join others, including Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM, in offering the new Intel server chips, which were introduced in March. The Xeon E5-2600 chips, which offer up to eight cores, are designed for systems that run in cloud computing and virtualized environments, according to Intel. The chips offer 80 percent better performance and more than 50 percent better power efficiency than the previous Xeon 5600 products.

At the March 6 launch of the chips, Diane Bryant, vice president and general manager of Intel€™s Datacenter and Connected Systems Group, noted the fast growth in the numbers of Internet users and connected devices, and that they all will be connected to the Web via servers in data centers.

With the release of the new Intel-based servers, Oracle officials boasted that they offer the best performance, reliability and cost efficiency for running Oracle software and other enterprise applications. They are also most equipped with the tools needed for cloud deployments, they said.

Like the Sun systems that are run on SPARC processors, the new Intel-based systems are optimized to run Oracle enterprise software, according to Ali Alasti, vice president of hardware engineering at Oracle.

€œOracle engineers hardware and software together to deliver maximum performance, reliability and cost savings,€ Alasti said in a statement. €œWhether you€™re looking to support new applications or deploy in the cloud, Oracle€™s new x86 servers are ideal platforms for Oracle software with comprehensive management, virtualization and support built-in.€

Running such Oracle operating systems and applications as Oracle Solaris, Oracle Linux, Oracle VM and Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center will help businesses drive down costs and streamline operations in the data centers, officials said. The combination also helps improve performance and reliability.

Compared with previous Sun x86 servers, the new systems offer up to 87 percent better computational performance, while also delivering increased memory and network bandwidth. All that means enterprises can run more workloads without expanding their technology footprint.

Oracle officials also said the new systems€”running Oracle€™s Solaris or Linux OSes and Oracle VM€”come in with 50 percent lower acquisition and support operating costs than HP servers running VMware virtualization technology and Microsoft Windows.

The new rack-based systems include the 1U Sun Fire X4170 M3 and the 2U Sun Fire X4270 M3. Oracle also unveiled the Sun Blade X6270 M3. Oracle also rolled out two Netra systems for telecommunications companies and service providers. The Netra X4270 M3 is a rack-based system, while the Netera X6270 M3 is a blade server.

Oracle surprised some industry observers when executives announced the company was going to retain Sun€™s hardware system. The idea was to offer SPARC-based systems optimized to run Oracle enterprise application and databases€”similar to solutions offered by other OEMs€”and x86 systems for high-end workloads. The company has since rolled out such solutions as the Exadata Database Machine, the Exalogic for cloud environments, and the new Exalytics analytics appliance.

However, Oracle executives are still waiting for the hardware products to catch fire. On March 20, Oracle announced that overall revenues in the previous financial quarter had grown 3 percent from the same period a year earlier, and that software license revenues grew 7 percent. However, revenues for hardware products fell 16 percent.