Oracle SPARC Server Road Map Holds Promise, Challenges, Analysts Say

Aug 11th, 2010 | By technologynews | Category: Technology
Oracle SPARC Server Road Map Holds Promise, Challenges, Analysts Say
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Oracle officials’ discussion Aug. 10 of their plans for Sun Microsystems’
enterprise hardware offerings was an important step in getting the company seen
as a player in the competitive high-end server space, according to analysts.

Six months after closing the $7.4 billion purchase of Sun,
Oracle executives began to give the industry a glimpse of the future for the
company’s newly
acquired SPARC servers.

“It is important to get that story out,” Jean Bozman,
an analyst with IDC, said in an interview
with eWEEK. “They really hadn’t said anything about it before, and that
changed today.”

During a Webcast with journalists and analysts, John Fowler, who
came over from Sun in the acquisition and is executive vice president of
systems for Oracle, outlined an ambitious road map for the high-end systems.
For example, Oracle will double the performance of the SPARC systems every
other year through 2015, and servers will scale to 128 cores, 16,384 threads
and 64TB of memory during that time.

Oracle also will roll out Solaris 11the first major release of
the operating system since Sun launched Solaris 10 six years agoin 2011, and the
OS will scale to thousands of processor threads and tens of terabytes of
memory, according to Fowler.

In addition, he said Sun would focus its efforts in the x86
world on Intel processors, moving away for the time being from chips from
Advanced Micro Devices.

While some areas went unaddressedfor example, the future of
the SPARC64 development partnership with Fujitsuwhat was important was that
Oracle finally showed customers and the rest of the industry that a road map
was in place, Bozman said.

of SPARC systems
have suffered since Oracle first announced its interest in
buying Sun in 2009, and Bozman said rival Hewlett-Packard earlier this year had
talked about future plans for its Itanium-based Integrity servers, while IBM
was moving aggressively forward with its Power7 road map.

Competitive pressures meant that Oracle had to start revealing
more specifics, she said.

“This is a good step in being as public [about Oracle's plans]
as they were today,” Bozman said. “I don’t think they’ve lacked plans
for the systems. They just haven’t spoken as much about it as they could

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