by Anton Shilov
09/27/2011 | 10:23 PM
Oracle, one of the leading suppliers of enterprise-class hardware and software, this week introduced its new-generation fault-tolerant servers based on its latest SPARC T4 central processing units with on-chip networking functionality and crypto accelerators. The company also said that the new SuperCluster systems sport industry-leading performance in addition to its mission-critical capabilities.
Sun/Oracle SPARC T4 processor sports eight SPARC V9 cores (with 8-way multi-threading) that can process up to 64 compute threads at once; 128KB L2 cache per core (1MB cache in total); 4MB shared L3 cache; integrated dual-channel memory controller with support for up to 16 DIMMs and up to 256GB PC3-8500 (1066MHz memory); dual, multi-threaded on-chip 10GbE ports; two PCI Express 2.0 x8 ports, crypto instruction accelerators (CIAs) that enable high-speed encryption for 16 industry standard ciphers including DES, 3DES, AES, SSL, SHA and RSA.
The new complex SPARC V9 cores sport new micro-architecture with deeper pipeline, new branch prediction mechanism, hardware data prefetecher and other improvements which ensure that the T4 processor has five times higher integer performance and up to seven times higher floating point performance compared to predecessor. Interestingly, but each core somewhat resembles AMD's Bulldozer module: it has two out-of-order integer execution pipelines, one floating-point unit (FPU), and one cryptographic stream-processing unit.
The SPARC T4 processor core pipeline is designed to automatically switch to single-thread mode when only a single-thread is active – meaning all of the resources of the core are dedicated to that thread’s execution. With faster single-threaded processing, the SPARC T4 enables shorter application boot times and rapid batch processing while maintaining high throughput performance, making it an ideal platform for consolidation and virtualization of legacy architectures.
The new-generation SPARC T4 chips will work at 2.85GHz and 3.0GHz clock-speeds and sport up to 240W of maximum power. The microprocessor has 403mm2 die size, each core is 15.4mm2 large. The chip is made using 40nm process technology at TSMC.
Initially, Oracle will offer five types of systems based on the latest T4 chips: SPARC T4-1 (one socket, 2U), SPARC T4-1B (one socket, 1U), SPARC T4-2 (two sockets 3U), SPARC T4-4 (four sockets, 5U) as well as the SPARC SuperCluster T4-4.
Oracle SPARC T4-4 server
"Oracle is changing the dynamics of the datacenter by combining the industry’s best technology – the SPARC T4 processor, Oracle Solaris 11, Oracle Exadata storage, and the Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud software – into a versatile, secure, general purpose engineered system. Oracle’s SPARC SuperCluster T4-4 is an ideal platform for application and server consolidation that demonstrates how engineered systems can deliver huge performance at a fraction of the cost of competing solutions," said John Fowler, executive vice president of systems at Oracle.
According to Oracle, the SPARC T4 servers deliver outstanding performance against IBM Power7 and HP Itanium-based systems. Oracle’s end-to-end SPARC T4-4-based solution is 2.4x faster than an all-IBM solution, setting a world record in enterprise Java application environments, and has a 20% performance advantage per socket across the entire configuration. In data warehousing, Oracle’s SPARC T4-4 server delivered over 2.4x better performance per socket than the IBM Power 780 with 33% better price/performance. Compared to the HP Superdome 2 with 16 Itanium processors, the SPARC T4-4 delivered 5.7x more performance per socket and 2.6x better price/performance, according to Oracle.
“The SPARC SuperCluster T4-4 is a really fast computer. It combines the latest in Extreme Parallelism and the latest in Extreme Compression to provide a 100% upwardly compatible migration path for existing SPARC customers. This one box moves data two times faster than IBM’s fastest computer at eight times better price/performance. This is a really fast computer,” said Larry Ellison, chief executive officer of Oracle.
"This range of benchmark results demonstrates the power and innovation built into the new SPARC T-4 servers and provides further proof that Oracle hardware with Oracle Solaris is the best platform for running enterprise applications. Whether customers are running highly threaded Java applications or compute-intensive batch workloads in their production environments, Oracle’s integrated applications-to-disk solutions can deliver the best performance and scalability, bar none,” added Mr. Fowler.