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Oracle Powers New Exadata SL6 with SPARC Linux

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted February 8, 2017


Oracle is doubling down on its SPARC silicon architecture, announcing a new SPARC-powered Exadata system on Feb 6. The Exadata SL6 is Oracle's first Exadata system that is not powered by Intel x86.

The new Exadata SL6 is similar in configuration to the x86-based Exadata X6-2 in that both systems are highly optimized for database workloads and both use Oracle Linux. The SL6 uses Oracle SPARC T7-2 chips, which are based on the SPARC M7 processor.Oracle Exadata SL6

The M7 design is a very dense chip, packing 32 cores and running with a clock speed of up to 4.1 GHz. The chip also has an embedded Data Analytics Accelerator (DAX) engine that accelerates analytics queries.

Oracle has also embedded security features into the M7 design that aim to protect system memory by continuously performing validation checks on memory space usage.

From a clustering perspective, a full Exadata SL6 system can scale up to to 640 CPU cores and 10TB memory per rack of database performance.

Following in the Footprints of Oracle's SPARC Supercluster

While the Exadata SL2 is the first Exadata system powered by SPARC, it's not Oracle's first engineered system to use Oracle's own silicon. The SPARC Supercluster was first announced by Oracle in December 2010, not long after Oracle completed its acquisition of Sun Microsystems.

"The Supercluster is a general purpose server that will run your middleware, your customer apps and your database extremely well," Oracle founder Larry Ellison said at the time of the initial Supercluster launch. "It runs your database faster than anyone has run any database before."

Oracle has updated the SuperCluster in the years since, and now has a version that is also based on the SPARC M7 architecture.

"SuperCluster runs Solaris and, with all the advantages of Exadata Storage, ZFS and many other optimizations, is your ideal platform to run the most demanding database applications," Gurmeet Goindi, group product manager for Exadata at Oracle, wrote in a blog post. "SL6 broadens our portfolio to offer the same SPARC M7 and Exadata Storage goodness in a Linux platform."

"Exadata SL6 will continue to co-exist with its older cousins SuperCluster and Exadata X6," Goindi added. "A little bit of sibling rivalry makes families tighter and stronger. "

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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