Sun, a wholly owned subsidiary of Oracle Corp., has outlined plans for its future microprocessors. Even though the majority of projects have been cancelled, Sun will continue to sell its SPARC servers and develop its own UltraSPARC central processing units (CPUs). Even though the details about the chips are pretty sketchy at the moment, they do look pretty impressive.
"We have been building processors for quite some time... We use our specific design expertise to build processors with unique capabilities in scalability, reliability, availability as well as serviceability. This processor design is married with development of our operating system to create a completely integrated [...] server technology. [...] Within our [SPARC product line] you are going to see continuous performance improvements over the next five years along with investment protection for long periods of time," said John Fowler, executive vice president of systems for Oracle, during a special event.
At present Oracle has CPU and SPARC system roadmaps for the next five years. The company will continue to sell mission-critical SPARC M-series systems as well as enterprise-class energy-efficient SPARC T-series machines. Both microprocessors and systems will receive gargantuan performance improvements over the next half of the decade. Interestingly, but in 2013 the company plans to release T-series servers with up to eight processor sockets. Up to now such servers sported only four CPU sockets and the increase of the number of sockets rather clearly points to intention to compete in the higher-end segments using T-series machines.
By 2015 SPARC systems will feature 128 physical CPU cores that will be able to handle up to 16 384 threads at the same time. Oracle compares those machines to today's SPARC systems with 32 physical CPU cores as well as 128 threads. The comparison clearly points to typical four-processor SPARC T machines, which means that in the year 2015 the company plans to offer chips with 32 physical cores, each of which will be capable of handling up to 16 threads of code. Alternatively, the company may simply offer an 8-way machine with chips featuring 16 physical cores with 8-way multithreading.
Current 4-way Sun SPARC T-series machines use Sun UltraSPARC T2 Plus (Victoria Falls) microprocessors that have up to eight cores with 8-way chip multithreading (CMT) support, which transforms into 256 threads and 32 physical cores. Contemporary Sun SPARC M-series servers are powered by up to 64 SPARC64 VII chips (with expansion cabinet) with up to four cores (256 physical cores) that feature 2-way simultaneous multi-threading (SMT), which results in up to 512 threads per machine.
Thanks to giant leaps in hardware performance, the number of database transactions per minute SPARC 2015 servers will be able to handle will grow to 120 million, or my fourty times compared to today's machines. The amount of Java operations per second will increase by ten times to 50 thousand. Naturally, memory capacities of future servers will increase to whopping 64TB.