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Oracle spring cleans Sparc base

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If you have an old Sparc-based system from Sun Microsystems or Fujitsu in production, Oracle wants to pay you some cash to trade in that old box for more modern Sparc Enterprise T or M gear.

Oracle slipped out the Trade In, Trade Up promotion a month ago, targeting its installed base of musty tech as well as that of sometime partner and sometime rival Fujitsu.

Under this promotion, if you have had a machine in production for the prior three months – no taking a machine that was gathering dust out of the closet and trading it in – Oracle will give you $4,000 per processor as a trade-in on those old Sparc and Sparc64 machines. This may not sound like a lot of dough, but it is as generous as IBM and Hewlett-Packard give (on the books at least, not including deep discounts they give in hotly contested bidding wars) with their trade-in deals and competitive replacements.

Under the Trade In, Trade Up, Oracle is in particular looking for customers who have lots of Sparc and Sparc64 iron to do server consolidations onto bigger iron. You can tell because the only machines you can acquire under this promotion are a Sparc SuperCluster T4-4, an Enterprise M8000, and an Enterprise M9000. That's the biggest Sparc iron that Oracle puts into the field today. The M8000 and M9000 are traditional SMP machines based on Fujitsu's Sparc64-VII+ processors and designed and built by Fujitsu and rebranded and resold by Oracle.

You can bet that Oracle's sales reps are particularly keen on pushing the Sparc SuperCluster T4-4 setups, which were announced in September. These machines put four quad-socket Sparc T4-4 servers, which use Sparc T4 processors, into a rack with x86-based Exadata flash-enhanced storage kit and ZFS storage arrays, plus some InfiniBand switches, and tunes it up with Solaris 11 so it can support application server and database workloads.

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. It has 4TB of memory across its sixteen Sparc T4 processors, and is designed to replace monolithic machines like the M8000 and M9000 as well as competing products from IBM and HP in the Unix racket.

The trade-in lasts until May 31, and according to the fine print [PDF], Oracle is also allowing customers to buy "selected x-options" under the deal, which presumably means its Exadata database and Exalogic application clusters, which are based on Intel's Xeon processors. The Sparc and Sparc64 machines being replaced have to be in good working condition when customers buy the new Sparc T4 or Sparc64-VII+ iron.

The web page describing the agreement says it "may not be combined with any other upgrade programs or promotions," but the fine print PDF document says that the trade in "may be combined with the customer's contractual discount." So go with that. Play dumb and argue for a deep discount first and don't bring up this trade in until the last minute after Oracle has made what it thought would be its best offer. Then have Larry sweeten it a little more. ®

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