X86 Economy with New Oracle SPARC S7 Servers

Oracle enters the lower price segment of enterprise-class servers, but does not lose the technologies typical of its high-level systems. This article describes the family of S7 processors and servers that have expanded the range of the latest company developments and are already available to the consumer.

The family of processors and servers of the Oracle T7, M7 and S7 rulers implements all the advanced technologies that have appeared in recent years.

Larry Ellison presents the latest hardware developments of the company implemented in the M7 processor. The

new family of Oracle servers.

Until recently, the new family of processors and servers announced back in 2014 based on them was limited to the following assortment. Solaris 11.3 or later is recommended for all configurations.

SPARC T7-1. 32-core 4.1 GHz M7 CPU, up to 512 GB RAM, four 10Gb-E ports, up to eight 600 GB or 1.2 TB 2.5 inch SAS-3 disks, or up to eight 400 GB SSD or four 1.6 TB NVMe drives.

SPARC T7-2 . Two 32-core 4.1 GHz M7 CPUs, up to 1TV RAM, four 10Gb-E ports, up to six 600 GB or 1.2 TB 2.5 inch SAS-3 disks, or up to six 400 GB SSD or four 1.6 TB NVMe drives.

SPARC T7-4 . Two or four 32-core 4.1 GHz M7 CPUs, up to 2 TV RAM, four 10Gb-E ports, up to eight 600 GB or 1.2 TB 2.5 inch SAS-3 disks, or up to eight 400 GB SSD or eight 1.6 TB NVMe drives.

SPARC M7-8 . From two to eight 32-core 4.1GHz M7 CPUs, up to 4 TB RAM, up to 24 PCIe 3.0x16 slots.

SPARC M7-16. From four to sixteen 32-core 4.1 GHz M7 CPUs, up to 8 TB RAM, up to 48 PCIe 3.0x16 slots.

SuperCluster M7 . A large number of custom configurations (Engineered Systems).

Now, to these enterprise-class machines, a small line of S7 processors and servers based on them has been added, designed for the budget use of the latest technologies at the scale of a remote office or unit.

The economic premise of creating S7

Recently, the benefits of public cloud environments for businesses are becoming increasingly apparent, but many organizations have not yet transferred their workloads to the cloud. They are concerned about performance, security and management.

According to IDC, last year, investments in cloud IT infrastructure, including private and public clouds, grew in the world by 21.9% to $ 29 billion. In the fourth quarter of 2015, it accounted for 32.2% of the total cost of corporate 7 only to consumers. to ensure the highest efficiency for today's most popular applications with the lowest possible IT infrastructure. According to IDC forecast, by 2020 almost 50% of such annual expenses will be accounted for by cloud solutions. In monetary terms, this will amount to 57.8 billion dollars.

Many customers quickly switch from expensive systems to x86 “boxes” on which private and hybrid clouds are built everywhere. To keep these customers interested in SPARC systems, Oracle entered the lower segments of the market and introduced systems with the corresponding capabilities.

This initiative was officially announced by the company at the end of June 2016. It gives a new look at the SPARC processor and family of servers, which are now offered at the lowest initial price than ever before at Oracle. However, such systems will not be “the cheapest of the cheapest” - their minimum price will be about $ 11 thousand. At the same time, the price per computing core corresponds to that for x86 servers. After purchasing Sun, this is Oracle’s biggest announcement.

Analysts see the new systems as a way to prevent SPARC and Solaris OS client churns, as well as retain existing customers.

The new processor is called S7. It, in fact, is a less powerful version of the high-end M7 chip, launched in October 2015. Plans for the S7, which was then called Sonoma, were schematically unveiled in 2015, and the first products were presented on June 29 at OpenWorld 2015 in October.

The S7 processor chip (Sonoma) has incorporated a whole bunch of advanced technologies.

Compared to x86 processors, Oracle S7 has a number of advantages, in particular, built-in tools for accelerating data analytics, encryption and security, input / output

S7 is based on the same fourth generation SPARC core as M7, and is produced using the same 20nm process. However, it has only eight cores instead of 32 for the M7. Like the M7, the new chip has built-in Software in Silicon to speed up the DBMS and security features.

S7 also has integrated memory and I / O interfaces, which are separate for the M7 and are located on the motherboard. This significantly reduces the cost of the final configuration of S7 servers.
In addition, today only one version of the S7 processor is available, operating at a frequency of 4.27 GHz. It is designed to provide the highest efficiency for today's most popular applications at the lowest possible cost to the consumer.

As a result, Oracle announced two standalone servers with a new chip - S7-2 and S7-2L, as well as the "engineered system" MiniCluster S7-2, which is a smaller version of Oracle SuperCluster.

The S7-2 server constructively occupies one rack footprint (U1) and is designed for maximum density. It is sold in single and dual processor configurations.

The S72L server is a more powerful model. It occupies two seats in a rack (U2), typically has two processors and allows you to create multiple configurations of the information storage system. Both servers can use SAS and NVMe storage in any combination.

For $ 11 thousand, the customer will receive a configuration with one processor, 64 GB of memory and two 600 GB hard drives. The maximum configuration with two processors and a terabyte of memory will cost about $ 50 thousand.

While the "large" SPARC systems traditionally manage applications such as ERP and CRM, S7 servers are focused on the more modern workloads of Java, Hadoop and Spark.

S7-2 is the “low cost leader” for intensive workloads such as databases, business intelligence, and a dense virtualized environment. It has three PCIe 3.0x8 slots, four 10G Base-T Ethernet ports and an Integrated Lights Out Management (ILOM) control port.

The S7-2L has the same purpose, representing the “doubled” S7-2. It has six PCIe 3.0x8 slots and the same four 10G Base-T Ethernet ports and an ILOM port. A significant difference - the L model can use up to 27 hard drives. For a product of this class, with 128 GB of RAM and a 24.6 TB disk array, the price of less than $ 20 thousand does not seem to be too high.


Series Server Constructions and Oracle MiniCluster S7-2 Companion Cloud Service

For mid-range solutions that require the security and performance benefits of optimized Oracle SuperCluster hardware and software systems, Oracle also introduced the new Oracle MiniCluster S7-2.

The Engineered System MiniCluster S7-2 delivers all the benefits of Engineered Systems with Enterprise-class security. Simplified management, out-of-the-box launch, high reliability and a small form factor make it an excellent choice for remote and small offices, as well as isolated workloads. If the workload is growing, in MiniCluster you can use a simple full-time configuration tool and within a few minutes add more processors to the system.

Database acceleration is achieved not only due to the processor, but also due to the high input / output speed of all-flash storage. The corresponding security modes (PCI-DSS or CIS) are activated with a simple click of a button.

With full application and database compatibility with SuperCluster M7, Oracle MiniCluster enables organizations to significantly reduce hardware and software costs.

This new complex was created to support solutions such as multi-tenant consolidation of applications and / or databases, computing platforms for remote offices / branches and a testing / development environment.

Oracle does not disclose prices for the MiniCluster, but is expected to expand the market for its engineered systems by providing the client with computing power, storage and network components in a preconfigured box with pre-installed virtualization and management software.

The big difference between MiniCluster and SuperCluster is that installation and administration are mostly automated here. In this way, customers can actually get the security and high-availability levels of a larger machine, less requiring Solaris OS specialists.

“Software in Silicon for the Masses”

The M7 processor, which implements this new paradigm in the CPU architecture, which transferred the main program code to silicon, was released about two years ago.

The biggest problem with many organizations is the high starting price of the new server they purchase. Not all of them need 32 cores. Therefore, Oracle reduced the M7 fourfold, but at the same time not only retained all its features, but also added several new advantages.

One of them is low power consumption. Most of the logic is transferred directly from the motherboard to the CPU, which improves system performance and reduces production costs.

Interestingly, the S7 processor includes an InfiniBand controller integrated on the chip to combine servers into high-speed clusters. But none of the new systems uses this feature yet, preferring Ethernet as a simpler option. In this regard, Oracle’s recommendation is: “Customers can use the expansion board for InfiniBand if they want to.”

All systems are running Solaris OS. With Solaris, the client has several advantages over Linux, including LDOMs hardware virtualization technology and related software.

Solaris OS provides high security with a large number of role-based options, built-in compliance reports and enterprise automation, which are a standard part of the OS. A Linux administrator can quickly learn Solaris because many commands are identical or similar.

S7 - safety, efficiency, simplicity

So, the new members of the SPARC family are built on the basis of the new 8-core, 64-thread SPARC S7 microprocessor with a clock frequency of 4.27 GHz and the “Software in Silicon” functions, which include Silicon Secured Memory and Data Analytics Accelerator

Today, S7 systems provide the industry’s highest performance in terms of a single computing core and enable organizations to run applications of any scale on the SPARC platform at the cost of low-cost mass-use servers.

All applications used in the organization will work on new corporate cloud services and SPARC solutions without any changes with a significant increase in security, efficiency and simplicity. The key features of the new SPARC platform are as follows.

Security. The new S7 family of servers provides security and regulatory compliance with Silicon Secured Memory features, which are designed to protect against malicious intrusions and programming errors. Hardware acceleration of encryption algorithms and hash functions allows you to implement a fully secure cloud environment while reducing performance by less than 2%.

In addition, an additional level of security is ensured through controlled downloads, unchangeable content that prevents unauthorized modifications, forced updating of security tools, as well as a reliable chain of suppliers of hardware and software in which there are no intermediaries.

Efficiency. New servers reduce latency and cost. Integrated accelerators Data Analytics Accelerator provide 10-fold increase in performance when performing analytical queries in corporate and cloud applications and big data processing solutions.

Compared to x86 servers (in terms of the kernel), fully integrated S7-2 and S7-2L servers work up to 100% more efficient. They provide a 1.7-fold increase in productivity for Java applications and a 1.6-fold increase for OLTP database applications, as well as a 2–3-fold higher throughput for highly loaded analytical queries and cloud applications.

Simplification. The optimized Oracle MiniCluster S7-2 hardware and software system takes integration to a higher level than the server. This greatly simplifies the four most complex aspects of enterprise computing — security and compliance, high availability, updating and administration, and performance tuning. The complex allows organizations the following.

- provide protection for systems by default, eliminating the need for corporate security specialists;

- Automate compliance monitoring and auditing to constantly maintain a safe system state;

- maintain the smooth operation of services using high availability tools built into hardware and software;

- maintain the current state of the system, including security system software updates, - thanks to the simple deployment of service packs for the entire solution stack;

- Increase database and application performance through automatic performance tuning.

Thanks to Software in Silicon technology, new cloud services and systems based on the SPARC S7 processor provide cost-effective x86 bulk server and significant enterprise-class security and analytics capabilities.

These products are designed to easily integrate with existing infrastructure and include fully integrated tools virtualization and management for cloud environments.

The new Oracle SPARC Cloud service, now part of the SPARC family, is a dedicated computing service that provides organizations with a simple, secure and efficient computing platform in the cloud.

This product extends the full range of cloud services provided by Oracle so that organizations can quickly create and deploy feature-rich applications — or expand Oracle Cloud Applications — on an enterprise-class cloud platform.

Thus, Oracle now offers a wide selection of cluster configurations - from the older model (Oracle SuperCluster) to mid-range systems.

Insight 64 analyst company noted that “S7 servers are designed for organizations that do not need the power of M7 systems, but are wary of porting their applications to x86. This approach looks promising for expanding the current Oracle customer base. ”

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