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Solaris and SPARC the best combination for Security, Stability and Scale

SPARC and Solaris – Fact from Fiction!!

Following a lot of wild speculation over the last few months – Oracle has now confirmed that there is a fantastic future for Solaris and SPARC.   Oracle at a senior level have had a complete rethink of why customers want to use Solaris and SPARC.  Acardia was recently invited to meet with Bill Nesheim – Oracle’s Software Development Vice President Solaris OS.  Bill was very keen to reinforce Oracle’s complete commitment to SPARC and Solaris.  He confirmed changes had been made but these changes were to protect the future of the platform not to kill it.

With the departure of legacy staff, Oracle have used this opportunity to make some very common sense observations –

  • Solaris is not a general purpose OS, like for example Windows or Linux.
  • No one uses SPARC servers to browse the Internet, read email or write letters
  • The Solaris SPARC combination is used to run large scale Enterprise Databases and Enterprise Applications.

It does not breakdown, it is fully secure and will continue to be so.

Bill did confirm that Oracle has reduced the Solaris development team however in his words, “it is still large in number and working hard on the next version Solaris 11.4”, (11.5 is also in the pipeline).  Oracle is no longer interested in integrating Docker into Solaris or making Solaris a Linux clone.

Oracle has at last realised that the SPARC and Solaris platform is different from other operating systems and processors. This might sound childish but I believe it sums up the current thinking within Oracle – “you can play games on Windows, while you run your business on Solaris!!

To show its commitment Oracle have released the following information:

  1. Solaris will be supported until 2034 – This is confined in writing in their published Lifetime Support document which can be found here.
  2. New SPARC equipment has just been releasedThe M8 and T8 Range 
  3. Development of SPARC continues with new CPU’s being released in 2020 
  4. SPARC is currently and will continue to be the worlds fastest CPU

If we ignore some of the “I Hate Oracle Press” a lot of good information can be found explaining Oracle’s new move to make Solaris and SPARC the infrastructure of choice for Enterprise Databases and Applications.  Start with Erik Benner @ MYTHICS, he has put together a great article explaining fact from fiction

“There is a Future

Looking at the past, we see a history of new CPUs and servers over the last few years; sometimes two new CPUs have been released in the same year! This rapid advancement has continued to the point that the latest CPUs are 2-8x faster than the latest generation of x86 CPUs on a per core basis. The performance lead will continue for several more years, as the famous Moore’s Law slows down. The new generation of x86 CPUs are showing little performance gains on a per core basis. The larger gains are coming from physically larger CPUs with more physical cores. SPARC processors gain these incredible performance leaps over x86 by leveraging specialized coprocessors to accelerate database workloads, encryption of data, and more advanced technologies like better memory management. On the Oracle CPU’s this is called ‘Software In Silicone’, and on the Fujitsu CPU’s it is called ‘Software On Chip’. While there are some differences between the two, both technologies significantly improve performance for accelerated workloads.”

Lastly, please remember if you are licensing a Database or Application based on per CPU licences, then running on SPARC (the worlds fastest CPU) will save you a lot of money, as well as offering the most stable and secure platform (plus guaranteed support until 2034).

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