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Ellison rides SPARC T4 SuperCluster into data centers

Four star general purpose, sir!

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Not just a cluster, but a SuperCluster with an Oracle red cape

The point about the SPARC SuperCluster T4, Ellison explained when he finally got around to talking about it, is that it can process database transactions on the same scale and speed as the Exadata and can support application serving loads on the same scale as the Exalogic – and do both as a "general purpose" machine.

This is an artificial distinction – Oracle could put some Exadata and Exalogic nodes into a single rack with some plain-vanilla ZFS storage arrays – but it is one that Oracle is making. The SPARC SuperCluster T4 runs database nodes on the four-socket SPARC T4-4 systems – announced yesterday – instead of two-socket Xeon 5600 or Xeon 7500/E7 nodes, but it includes the same exact x86-based Exadata storage arrays used in the Exadata clusters. The SuperCluster can run Solaris 10 or Solaris 11, which has more optimizations to speed up parallel database processing specifically for this Oracle iron; the Exadata box runs Oracle Enterprise Linux, the company’s clone of Red Hat's Enterprise Linux that also has tunings specific to running parallel 11g databases and RAC. Which operating system has the better tuning remains to be seen. Oracle recommends that customers run 11g R2 databases on Solaris 11 and lets them choose between Solaris 10 update 8/11 and Solaris 11 for application tiers.

Oracle SuperCluster architecture

How the SPARC SuperCluster T4 stacks up

The SuperCluster T4 has Exadata storage arrays, four SPARC T4-4 compute nodes, Sun Datacenter InfiniBand Switch 36 switches, and several ZFS Storage 7320 arrays. Depending on the options customers choose, the SuperCluster T4 has 97TB to 198TB of disk capacity; it has 8.66TB of flash memory and can handle 1.2 million IOPS of storage processing. Customers can use the ExaLogic middleware or the plain vanilla WebLogic application server, but the former is tuned to take advantage of flash and compression.

Pricing for the SPARC SuperCluster T4 was not announced. ®

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