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Oracle erects mystery Sparc SuperCluster

'World record database performance'

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It looks like Oracle chief executive officer Larry Ellison is getting ready to whip out his hardware again and measure it up against wares from IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

While the United States was getting ready to stuff tens of millions of turkeys last week, Oracle put out a teaser saying that on December 2 it would announce the details of a "New Sparc Solaris Sunrise SuperCluster," which will sport "world record database performance."

Further details of the system were not available. But Oracle did invite us all "to experience the next wave of unlimited innovation from Oracle's game-changing platform for complex, mission-critical applications."

Ellison and Oracle's new president, former HP top dog Mark Hurd, as well as John Fowler, executive vice president of systems at Oracle, will unveil whatever this Sunrise SuperCluster is and will also discuss the Sparc Enterprise M series servers using Fujitsu's Sparc64-VII+ processors, the Sparc T3 machines and an Exalogic Web application cluster based on them, and Solaris 11.

It would be interesting and significant if the Sunrise SuperCluster was an Exadata V2 design based on Sparc T3-based rack and blade servers instead of the Xeon server nodes used in the first two Oracle-Sun iterations of the database clusters. The 16-core Sparc T3 processors were announced in September and as El Reg discussed when two of the four Sparc T3 machines started shipping in October, the Sparc T3-1 entry rack server and midrange T3-2 rack server offer more than twice the bang for the buck of their predecessors, putting Oracle back in the Unix hunt.

Oracle has said that it would be using Solaris 11 Express, which just started shipping two weeks ago and which is the development version of its commercial Solaris 11 operating system due next year, in the Exadata and Exalogic boxes by the end of the year. The company no doubt wants to tout and sell its own hardware, and putting together clusters that are all-Oracle, top to bottom, is the best way to do this.

It is possible, of course, that what Oracle will show off on Thursday with the Sunrise SuperCluster launch will be a combination of boxes, mixing the Sparc Enterprise M9000, various Sparc T3 servers, and integrated storage servers. Oracle's own data center, which used to have a backbone of four Enterprise 25K servers clustered running Oracle's database and Real Application Clusters, was certainly upgraded to a two-node M9000 cluster with Solaris 10, Solaris Cluster 3.2, and Solaris Volume Management all supporting Oracle RAC in what Oracle calls a "fat node cluster" for the ERP system that runs Oracle's business.

No matter what the iron is, the SuperCluster will probably include Oracle RAC for database clustering and Solaris Cluster for clustering application and Web tiers. But we'll just have to wait to see what Larry and the boys have cooked up. ®

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