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Oracle To Increase Investment In SPARC and Solaris

kdawson posted about 5 years ago | from the just-so's-you-know dept.

Businesses 146

An anonymous reader writes "The Slashdot community has recently questioned what Oracle will do with Sun hardware if and when Oracle's acquisition of Sun closes. And it seems that speculation about the future of SPARC hardware has been common among Slashdot commenters for years. That said, it seems newsworthy that Oracle is going out of their way with some aggressive marketing directed at IBM to state clearly their plans to put more money than Sun does now into SPARC and Solaris." MySQL is not mentioned in this ad, perhaps because (as Matt Asay speculates) the EU is looking closely into that aspect of the proposed acquisition.

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I'll believe it when I see it. (0)

drdanny_orig (585847) | about 5 years ago | (#29388701)

Larry Ellison would lie to his mother just for fun.

Re:I'll believe it when I see it. (0, Troll)

NoYob (1630681) | about 5 years ago | (#29388823)

Maybe we can get him to swear on his pilot's license? He seams to really love that.

Still going to sell out to HP (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29388751)

I still expect the sale of the ex-sun hardware business to HP to go through, now Oracle have puffed up the price a bit.

Re:Still going to sell out to HP (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | about 5 years ago | (#29390771)

why would HP want it? They sold out their hardware folks for Intel's Itanium a long time ago... shut down Alpha, Vax, etc... it was gruesome.

Re:Still going to sell out to HP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29390829)

They don't want it; HP is just where architectures go to die.

The cool kids don't care (-1, Flamebait)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | about 5 years ago | (#29388755)

Your parents and your grandparents may still care about sparc and solaris for running their large vertically scaled applications that were designed with Bill Clinton was president.

All of the cool kids have long since moved to horizontally scaled apps running on Linux and cheap generic hardware. Oracle is simply saying that they will feast a little longer on the shrinking carcass of Sun.

Re:The cool kids don't care (2, Insightful)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | about 5 years ago | (#29388777)

"cool kids"?

Wow. You need to get out more often! :-)

Re:The cool kids don't care (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29388811)

"cool"

I knew that was what Linux was really about these days. It explains why, after its ten years and its billions of hours of development, it's still in the state it's in. Bazaar, indeed! Thank you so much for the corroboration.

Re:The cool kids don't care (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 5 years ago | (#29388863)

Bazaar: a open-air market in which small vendors sell wares.

OK, that fits.

Re:The cool kids don't care (3, Informative)

Neil Hodges (960909) | about 5 years ago | (#29388977)

Sounds like you haven't read this essay [catb.org] yet.

Re:The cool kids don't care (0)

rubycodez (864176) | about 5 years ago | (#29388893)

Linux is running servers bigger than Solaris can handle. Linux is running massive databases in corporations. Linux scales to the small PDA all the way to the world's most powerful supercomputers, Solaris can't do that.

Re:The cool kids don't care (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 5 years ago | (#29389027)

Linux is running servers bigger than Solaris can handle. Linux is running massive databases in corporations. Linux scales to the small PDA all the way to the world's most powerful supercomputers, Solaris can't do that.

Not true [google.com]

While only 1 of the top 500 is running OpenSolaris (and it's using 2.6Ghz Opterons), still, there is nothing inherently unscalable about Solaris or SPARC. I've personally been logged into a 96 core Sparc machine running Solaris 9 and Oracle 10.

Re:The cool kids don't care (3, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | about 5 years ago | (#29389301)

If you're talking about single machine SMP, Solaris will go to 256 way SMP on available machines from Sun. Linux can do 1024-way Itanium2. With NUMA architecture things can get even bigger

Re:The cool kids don't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29389637)

If you're talking about single machine SMP, Solaris will go to 256 way SMP on available machines from Sun. Linux can do 1024-way Itanium2. With NUMA architecture things can get even bigger

I guess I shouldn't be surprised by your ignorance...this IS Slashdot. Let me give you a little nugget of incite:

The number of cores a vendor sells in no way reflects the scalability of the OS that runs on it. By your logic, if Sun only sold 4 way servers, then Solaris could not scale past 4 CPUs.

--AC

Re:The cool kids don't care (2, Interesting)

rubycodez (864176) | about 5 years ago | (#29389805)

probably nuggets of insight are better than incite.

256 cores 512 threads is the last limit I saw published by Sun. Please let me know of any bigger claimed value.

  in the real world, the biggest machine that can be bought does put a limit on scalability for any business application. I don't see Sun machines leading in real world benchmarks of common business apps either.

Re:The cool kids don't care (1)

rattaroaz (1491445) | about 5 years ago | (#29390525)

probably nuggets of insight are better than incite.

A little off topic, but I wonder if that was meant to be a pun. That's a problem these days. We can't tell the difference between clever and dumb, because we don't really know the person posting.

Re:The cool kids don't care (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29390549)

Solaris has no limit:

/*
    * max_ncpus keeps the max cpus the system can have. Initially
    * it's NCPU, but since most archs scan the devtree for cpus
    * fairly early on during boot, the real max can be known before
    * ncpus is set (useful for early NCPU based allocations).
    */
int max_ncpus = NCPU; /*
    * platforms that set max_ncpus to maxiumum number of cpus that can be
    * dynamically added will set boot_max_ncpus to the number of cpus found
    * at device tree scan time during boot.
    */
int boot_max_ncpus = -1;
int boot_ncpus = -1;

Searching for NCPU [opensolaris.org] in the code, you can see that it is set by the CPU driver. Honestly, Solaris has been able to run on multiple architectures for years and the kernel is really not that big. To say that Solaris can't do something without trying it is just idiotic.

Re:The cool kids don't care (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 5 years ago | (#29390995)

1. opensolaris isn't solaris
2. there can be plenty of other reasons than that one number that might limit Solaris maximum cpu, I've have seen Sun publish the 256/512 number (its on one of the exams I had to take as certified sun systems engineer), though maybe the total has changed. but does anyone make such a machine, I'm not aware of Fujitsu one bigger than that.
2. wrong to say solaris on multiple architectures for years, Sun introduced then dropped Solaris on x86 and ppc multiple times in the past 15 years.

Re:The cool kids don't care (1)

afidel (530433) | about 5 years ago | (#29391643)

Fujitsu's site lists the M9000 as the largest system they sell, 64x quad core with 2 way SMT gives 512 threads so there is no SPARC system bigger than that as it's also the largest SUN sells. The biggest x64 SSI I'm aware of is the ES7000 from Unisys which only goes to 96 cores so Solaris x86 doesn't have a larger system to be tested on either.

Re:The cool kids don't care (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 5 years ago | (#29390795)

...and that would be very sound logic.

You sound like someone that's never built applications that have to scale past 4 CPUs.

Until you build it, and show it, it simply isn't so. It's vaporware and wishful thinking.

All of the noise and trying to call others ignorant really doesn't change that.

Whining about NUMA and hundred cpu boxes is especially ironic in a thread about Oracle.

Re:The cool kids don't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29390469)

Yeah. As much as I hate Sun the company, Solaris 9 onwards is actually a near perfect OS - they knew scalability before anyone else did. And it is also the most developer friendly OS - tools like mdb, dtrace are precious and so is the legendary backwards compatibility. The only thing I can crib about is x86 hardware compatibility - that part sucks pretty bad.

Re:The cool kids don't care (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 5 years ago | (#29390971)

And Solaris isn't a desktop OS, so that's not a huge problem. You're far more likely to be running Solaris on a server than on a workstation except for very particular circumstances in the CAD and engineering realm.

Re:The cool kids don't care (1)

E-Lad (1262) | about 5 years ago | (#29389093)

You're saying that Linux is 100% better because it can run on something that is exceedingly rare? Perhaps you might want to try considering some more run-of-the-mill use cases, such as those one run into in any data center and not just Los Alamos's. You know, things like serving, database server, backup server, storage and so on.

Re:The cool kids don't care (3, Interesting)

rubycodez (864176) | about 5 years ago | (#29389153)

but Linux does all those things - part of my job is replacing Sun servers with Oracle RAC clusters on Linux. Faster, cheaper, just as reliable.

Re:The cool kids don't care (1)

drummerboybac (1003077) | about 5 years ago | (#29389285)

At the DB tier, OK fine, what about the Application tier? There are many enerprise applications that can really benefit from having 8 core chips that can do 8 threads/core. There is some level of efficiency in being able to push 256 threads in a 4U chassis.

Re:The cool kids don't care (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 5 years ago | (#29389479)

the application tiers I deal are J2EE servers and other middleware and web servers, so at least for those cases no real advantage to one big machine.

x86 is fast catching up, the six core by 8 processors are out now and soon 8x8 also with hyperthreading, that's going to eat much of the lunch of the traditional unix big-iron realm, as most partitionable machines are carved into that space or below.

Re:The cool kids don't care (1)

rbanffy (584143) | about 5 years ago | (#29392039)

"x86 is fast catching up,"

It doesn't really matter if it's fast. It's still a x86.

The newer P55 systems show promise, but there is more than CPU clock and number of cores to sever performance than you may (or may not) realize.

Re:The cool kids don't care (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 5 years ago | (#29390111)

At the DB tier, OK fine, what about the Application tier? There are many enerprise applications that can really benefit from having 8 core chips that can do 8 threads/core. There is some level of efficiency in being able to push 256 threads in a 4U chassis.

We've recently made the decision to purchase those boxes for use as weblogic servers. The performance sucks. We have had to allocate almost twice the planned hardware to handle our existing loads; and are actually looking to move right back off of that platform with the next tech refresh.

Unfortunately, this is pure anecdote - I don't have any numbers to back this up, I just know the gist of what's been happening since we "upgraded" to SPARC. I can't even tell you the machines that we migrated away from.

Re:The cool kids don't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29390633)

We've recently made the decision to purchase those boxes for use as weblogic servers. The performance sucks.

Your team is doing something wrong. Most likely your application suffers from internal bottlenecks as Weblogic flies on a T5120. We went through a lot of the same growth pains. A single thread is for sure slower on a Solaris machine, but overall you are able to do more work because of the massive parallelism.

Re:The cool kids don't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29390731)

Not surprising.

There really aren't that many workloads that can take advantage of all the threads on a Sun CoolThreads box. Most of the time, there's only a few threads doing all the work even though a app like Weblogic may run hundreds or even thousands of threads.

And the workloads that can't take advantage of all the available hardware threads get hammered because each individual thread on a CoolThreads box is relatively slow.

That's why Sun has "try and buy".

Re:The cool kids don't care (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29389445)

but Linux does all those things - part of my job is replacing Sun servers with Oracle RAC clusters on Linux. Faster, cheaper, just as reliable.

So you're just a biased troll. Who else would use "Oracle RAC" and the words "cheaper" and "reliable" in the same sentence?

The only thing reliable about Oracle RAC is the money you spend on consultants trying to keep it running.

Of course, you being one of those consultants means you're quite biased.

Re:The cool kids don't care (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 5 years ago | (#29390849)

Nope. He has something resembling a clue.

Big boxes are EXPENSIVE. There is a reason that companies buy into clustering
and it's not because they like to throw money away. Clustering allows you to
avoid the MASSIVE increase in cost when you go to large scale machines.

You are ALREADY paying a pretty penny for Oracle.

You are also paying by the CPU for the privelege and SPARC always
sucked in terms of performance. Sun was the Microsoft of Unix. Alpha
was remarkably better for those willing to break away from the herd.

x86 is just the new Alpha with less stigma.

Although companies flee to RAC even when they don't bother to move to x86 in the process.

Re:The cool kids don't care (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29390865)

"Faster, cheaper, just as reliable."
*
Probably not. ZFS v. ext*, svcadmin v. init scripts, dtrace v. strace (wut?), crossbow v. a non-existent virt. networking schema in linux, solaris streams v. make the network app do the plumbing, etc. etc.
*
Apparently your job is to replace a superior, better-engineered Unix with something piecemeal. For all of our benefit, I hope opensolaris continues to develop such that its rough edges get filed off and we can have a viable alternative to things like RHEL.

-a friendly Linux platform engineer

Re:The cool kids don't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29392281)

and you're smoking some very powerful shit while doing so. Our 20 linux cluster couldn't keep all nodes running for more than a day or two without a kernel panic, not long enough for any of jobs to complete. Same hardware, running solaris we could keeping all nodes up for as much as two weeks. Dump the SunX86 hardware and went back to "old" Ultrasparc IV+ cpu's and lo and behold uptimes measured in months and execution times improved by 10%. X86 isn't faster or cheaper and linux just plain sucks

Re:The cool kids don't care (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 5 years ago | (#29390753)

...yes 'the state it's in": the reference platform for Oracle.

It's always good to have more people at the party. Hardware that
is specialized for heavy workloads is a good an useful thing and
not something that can be abandoned. It's always a bad idea to
only have one option.

Re:The cool kids don't care (5, Funny)

NoYob (1630681) | about 5 years ago | (#29388847)

You need to call him "Hillary Clinton's husband" for the young folks to know who you're talking about.

Re:The cool kids don't care (1, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 5 years ago | (#29389159)

Wait -- Hillary Clinton has a husband? So, this person married to Hillary Clinton, who is she?

Everything for the database (4, Interesting)

musicmaster (237156) | about 5 years ago | (#29388819)

The ad says that Oracle will aim for tight integration with its database. That might be less welcome news for those people who do not use it for Oracle databases.

Re:Everything for the database (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29389223)

No it doesn't. It says Oracles Software. Yes they mainly do databases, but they have other software too.

Re:Everything for the database (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29389579)

Re:Everything for the database (1)

spydabyte (1032538) | about 5 years ago | (#29389545)

They're throwing more money at it. That means they'll go away from their goals, meaning less integration with Oracle Software, meaning better SPARCs for all of us.

Re:Everything for the database (2, Insightful)

tyrr (306852) | about 5 years ago | (#29390447)

People don't complain when Cisco, Juniper, etc integrate their routing/switching/firewall features with ASICs.
Why should databases be different?
Given the hardware prices and wide interest in FIPS-type security requirements, Oracle might as well be selling appliances. It will come to this sooner or later.

Re:Everything for the database (2, Interesting)

mabhatter654 (561290) | about 5 years ago | (#29390939)

ha, ha silly rabbits...

AS400/iseries/system i... doing it for decades... laughing now.

Although you could include Vax and HP's E-series mini-computers as well in the "enterprise appliance" category.

The browser is the new "green screen".

easy statement to make - means next to nothing (4, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | about 5 years ago | (#29388865)

Sun is so cash-strapped that investment in Sparc is at low, almost nothing. So it is easy for Oracle to claim they will outspend what Sun does now....all the while looking for a hardware company on which to dump Sparc off. There are plenty of alternatives to UltraSparc based Sun servers, redundancy and SMP can be done more cost effectively

Re:easy statement to make - means next to nothing (1)

wannabgeek (323414) | about 5 years ago | (#29388925)

Yeah, may be the amount spent on this campaign covered it already ;-)

Re:easy statement to make - means next to nothing (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 5 years ago | (#29389079)

No comments about the European Union? THEY are the ones who will decide if Oracle and Sun merge, not us. It'll be interesting to see what happens if the EU says "no"

Re:easy statement to make - means next to nothing (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 5 years ago | (#29389465)

The EU seems to have a hardon over mysql... which is silly since it's open source and many key mysql developers had previously left Sun to work on their own Mysql offshoots. And there's still PostgreSQL and SQLite, and Firebird.

EU should have even bigger shitfits if IBM were to buy them, so if the Oracle sale doesn't go through, I think a VC/Capital Management group would buy them hoping to make a profit by splitting them up.

Re:easy statement to make - means next to nothing (-1, Troll)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about 5 years ago | (#29391597)

The EU is a bureaucratic douchebag-ridden cesspool of idiocy. Seriously, On what basis would they prevent this? Antitrust? Give me a fucking break, the Database market is broad and deep and this won't a monopoly make.

Re:easy statement to make - means next to nothing (2, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | about 5 years ago | (#29389377)

SMP can be done more cost effectively

Bullshit. Say what you want about Sun, but noone does SMP more cost-effectively than they.

Re:easy statement to make - means next to nothing (1)

Ozric (30691) | about 5 years ago | (#29389635)

Can you say Fujitsu.. ..

Re:easy statement to make - means next to nothing (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29391265)

That is simply not true. Sun has long been criticized by analysts for spending too much on R&D. Most of their R&D goes into SPARC development. They spend a lot of money on SPARC because that's where the majority of their revenue comes from. I'm pretty sure it's in the billions. Maybe that is "low, almost nothing" to you.

speculative investment until a buyer appears (4, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 5 years ago | (#29388981)

If they didn't invest in SPARC/Solaris, all their potential customers would run - probably to the very competitors who are likely to buy that part of the business. However, by putting in a small amount of cash, they can appear to be keeping those lines alive, thereby making them worth selling. If they didn't, the brands would die within a year and the money spent on their valuation / acquisition, would have been wasted. So this way, a small amount gambled now could lead to a bigger payback when the business is sold off. Simples.

SPARC is dead (1)

wsanders (114993) | about 5 years ago | (#29390305)

Who's buy SPARC these days? I don't know of anyone, and for similarly priced machines the X86/AMD boxes run circles around SPARC.

And Solaris is completely independent from chip architecture. SPARC Solaris and X86 Solaris are essentially identical, except for the boot architecture. Pretty much the same for the OpenSolaris fork, which is where all the new features are going. (GA, commercial Solaris is essentially a back-port of OpenSolaris, featurewise.)

In one of my old jobs we paid the premium for SPARC only because we had invested pretty heavily in a disaster recovery process based on OpenBoot, and has problems migrating to X86 because of the BIOSes: they were buggy and no two models were the same.

Re:SPARC is thriving (1)

davecb (6526) | about 5 years ago | (#29392083)

Anybody running Oracle E-business with more than a few hundred users will, and some just did, for whom I did a capacity plan. We did the sums: a large Sun/Fujitsu was significantly cheaper than a rack full of small boxes, all under-utilized except for the few that were overloaded already.

If you're a small website actioning off things like eBay (;-)) you need the biggest box Sun (or IBM, or in principle H-P) makes to get enough horsepower to do the TP.

Horses for courses

--dave

Future of Netra line? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29389001)

I just heard on the grapevine that Sun is planning in dropping the Netra line of servers (NEBS compliant chassis for telecommunications deployments). Anyone know anything?

Re:Future of Netra line? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29389415)

I just heard on the grapevine that Sun is planning in dropping the Netra line of servers (NEBS compliant chassis for telecommunications deployments). Anyone know anything?

Yah. That your trolling and just made that up.

Re:Future of Netra line? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29389549)

I asked a question, I didn't say it was true.

Given our relationship with OEM's, I would trust the information. This news has changed our plans. I would tell more, but that would possibly compromise my identity.

Was wondering what else others has heard.

Re:Future of Netra line? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29390241)

I heard that Sun is planning on expanding the Netra line of servers. Let's just say I have some inside info on this. :)

Re:Future of Netra line? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29391337)

Well that is interesting. Wonder why our higher-ups have a bug up their butt about this information then. Perhaps its a realignment of the product line that is affecting us somehow.

"More" means nothing.. what are the product plans? (4, Informative)

sirwired (27582) | about 5 years ago | (#29389019)

Given how little money Sun had, and how many layoffs they were making and had in the works, for Oracle to invest "more" in Solaris/SPARC than Sun did alone wouldn't take much. What would be actually interesting would be information on the updated product roadmap, which is currently a bit sparse and extremely out of date.

SirWired

Re:"More" means nothing.. what are the product pla (4, Informative)

inKubus (199753) | about 5 years ago | (#29389225)

Yeah, but you gotta understand. Without Sun there's just IBM. There's no other vendor in the mainframe business, which is still big business. You don't think the IRS has time or money to manage the size of cluster they would need to operate effectively? So they rely on big iron, which is reliable and redundant and engineered to be that way over 40-50 years of experience. Clusters are garbage compared to a real mainframe. Sure, you have distributed filesystems now, and you can sort of split CPU around, there's management systems, etc, but all of this are ideas that come straight from the mainframe os which does all this "by itself". Google managed to make a pretty cool mainframe from commodity hardware but whatever.

Now, if you're not going to go with IBM for your database, you're probably going to go Oracle. But if you need big iron to run this huge database, you're going to have to go with IBM with z/OS and linux virtual machines or something. Oracle now has viable, proven mainframe line and all they have to do is throw money at it. They'll just move to selling complete packages instead of just DB at the mainframe level. With all this "cloud" bullshit (eg "Mainframe on the internet"), big businesses are interested in managed services and Mainframes have always been vendor managed.

Even IBM minis like AS/400 boxes come with full support from IBM. They monitor the box 24/7. I used to operate them long ago, and I remember that a disk went bad in one of our storage boxes (they had these giant enclosures with over 100 disks in them). Literally the message flashed on my console "SYS01281: DISK ERROR" blah blah blah and I turned around to get the binder to figure out what I had to do. By the time I turned back to my desk my phone was ringing and it was IBM support letting me know a tech would be there within 4 hours to replace the drive. Awesome.

So like, Sun/Oracle can do the same thing, and they can compete if they play their cards right. Oracle has poached a lot of high-end people from IBM in the past so this was only a matter of time.

Regarding MySql: MySql is a toy. Go to where the money is and you will find mainframes still. No one in their right mind would put anything important on MySql. Yeah yeah, facebook pft. If Facebook was making more than a few mil they would switch. Internet hits != money. (I'm talking Fortune 25 money, government money, world organization money, casino money, bank money). So I, for one, welcome Oracle and Sun back to this venue.

Re:"More" means nothing.. what are the product pla (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29389265)

You seem to know what you're talking about, but do you live in an alternate universe where Fujitsu and HP don't exist?

Re:"More" means nothing.. what are the product pla (1)

davecb (6526) | about 5 years ago | (#29392113)

Fujitsu makes SPARCs (really good ones), and H-P is where another poster said "CPUs go to die".

--dave

Re:"More" means nothing.. what are the product pla (1)

Markus_UW (892365) | about 5 years ago | (#29389361)

Yay! Finally someone who doesn't just repeat the /. standard: "Sun sucks, use Linux on a giant pile of cheap boxen instead" line. I salute you, good sir.

Re:"More" means nothing.. what are the product pla (0, Flamebait)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 5 years ago | (#29389615)

Ohh, that post wasn't a long pile of dripping sarcasm?

sure sounded like it. Paraphrased post:

"Mainframes are cool and old and big and fun, clusters are junk even though everyone is using them successfully and scaled out 100x farther than mainframe could ever get"

Re:"More" means nothing.. what are the product pla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29390355)

Ohh, that post wasn't a long pile of dripping sarcasm?

sure sounded like it. Paraphrased post:

"Mainframes are cool and old and big and fun, clusters are junk even though everyone is using them successfully and scaled out 100x farther than mainframe could ever get"

Clusters can "scale" only because the definition of "scale" is widened to include "lots of little independent things that we can do in parallel".

Re:"More" means nothing.. what are the product pla (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 5 years ago | (#29390895)

> Clusters can "scale" only because the definition of "scale" is widened to include "lots of little independent things that we can do in parallel".

That's pretty much what ANY computer does. This includes mainframes.

We're not comparing to "supercomputers" here that need to do some monster calculation that can't be split on a cluster.

Nevermind that we're talking about DATABASES in particular here.

If your application isn't the essence of a bunch of little
independent things that are trivally parallel then you screwed
the pooch.

Ultimately, a mainframe is just an "IO cluster". So the distinct is a bit bogus.

Re:"More" means nothing.. what are the product pla (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 5 years ago | (#29390263)

Linux runs on expensive highly available hardware too. Including real mainframes, which big Sun boxes aren't.

Re:"More" means nothing.. what are the product pla (3, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 5 years ago | (#29389463)

This is pretty much spot on.

Oracle did not buy Sun for Java, and they certainly didn't buy it because Sun is profitable. Oracle purchased Sun because Oracles business is Database Solutions, and Sun just happens to have hardware and software IP that can make Oracles position better in that market.

Its really that simple. Oracle is not going to be throwing away Solaris, SPARC, or MySQL, because these are the very things that Oracle purchased Sun for.

Re:"More" means nothing.. what are the product pla (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29390811)

Oracle bought Sun because it needs a complete stack of products to retain their customers, Microsoft is very agressive in the business environment, SQL Server is getting very close to Oracle DB, Windows Server is getting very close to enterprise class operating systems, .NET technically has surpassed Java, Exchange has no competitor, MS Office is the leader in the enterprise in office applications, etc. and with each release the gap between Oracle and MS products is shorter.

What about HP? (4, Insightful)

sirwired (27582) | about 5 years ago | (#29389543)

HP's Itanic... whoops!... Itanium boxes are in the same league as Sun's SPARC boxes and IBM's POWER products, so without Sun, IBM would not exactly be standing unchallenged. (That said, the PA-RISC to Itanic transition in HP admittedly did not go well...)

In addition, I would go so far as to say that Sun wasn't in the mainframe business either. They made really big UNIX boxes, but did not make mainframes. About the only other mainframe company that comes to mind is the Tandem (now HP) NonStop line of products. Unisys claims to make some, and there are a couple of other tiny players out there. But yeah, IBM pretty much had a mainframe monopoly before, and the still have one now.

Re:"More" means nothing.. what are the product pla (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 5 years ago | (#29390199)

you need to do a few search engine queries before making such a silly statement. Even if you wanted to call Sun's big boxes "mainframes", which they aren't, there are over half a dozen big unix-iron companies. And there are several mainframe companies (of which Sun is NOT one)

Re:"More" means nothing.. what are the product pla (1)

segedunum (883035) | about 5 years ago | (#29390463)

Sun doesn't really make mainframes and aren't competing with IBM in that market. The problem is that they made their money getting people to spend a lot on server hardware and support for workloads that can be easily run faster and cheaper on x86. 'We are the dot in dot com'? That market disappeared overnight for them as faster and cheaper x86 servers for web applications took hold snd overlapped with expensive SPARC machines.

addition by subtraction (1)

Eil (82413) | about 5 years ago | (#29389061)

And it seems that speculation has been common among Slashdot commenters for years.

Fixed.

Willingness to spend more? (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 5 years ago | (#29389065)

Seems Oracle is willing to spend more on almost any domain except own employees salaries. Not a wise approach if you ask me.

Re:Willingness to spend more? (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 5 years ago | (#29389247)

Yeah because if its employees were so badly treated they would continue to stick around. *rolls eyes*

Mouth building bridge ass can't cross (1)

bl8n8r (649187) | about 5 years ago | (#29389081)

Oracle is going to need to do a better job with solaris than it did with Unbreakable Linux. If that's any indication what is in store for IBM, then Oracle is just focused on damage control via loud_mouth marketing campaigns. There was a lot of doubt with UL, and now Oracle not only hhas a new OS to manage, but a fairly large collection of high end hardware to peddle. They are not accustomed to so much responsibility. IBM is.

Re:Mouth building bridge ass can't cross (2, Interesting)

0racle (667029) | about 5 years ago | (#29389371)

You mean they fired all of Sun's employees?

With so little overlap with OS and hardware as Oracle did next to nothing with an OS and no hardware at all, I doubt they got rid of many, if any, of those in Sun that are accustomed to managing and selling high end hardware and software. On top of that, Oracle knows how to sell very expensive bits.

Re:Mouth building bridge ass can't cross (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29390019)

You mean they fired all of Sun's employees? ...

No, Jonathan Schwartz did.

Re:Mouth building bridge ass can't cross (2, Interesting)

Markus_UW (892365) | about 5 years ago | (#29389411)

Sun and Oracle already work pretty closely with eachother, and I think, without Sun's inept executives (ie. Jonathan Schwartz) bogging them down, Oracle will be able to go far with Sun's excellent employees, who ARE used to that kind of responisbility.

I don't see the connection... (4, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | about 5 years ago | (#29389115)

MySQL is not mentioned in this ad, perhaps because (as Matt Asay speculates) the EU is looking closely into that aspect of the proposed acquisition.

Would promising to maintain or increase the investment into MySQL actually smooth things over with the EU?... If I were an Oracle exec, I would strongly encourage support for MySQL as a way to keep people away from PostgreSQL. Articles like this [cnet.com] show that PostgreSQL has a lot more potential to win over Oracle customers than MySQL does.

Re:I don't see the connection... (1)

davecb (6526) | about 5 years ago | (#29390389)

The MySQL issue looks like a red herring to me, although I suspect it's a wonderful source of FUD for anyone who wants to delay the deal.

The Wall Street Journal actually noticed the elephant in the room: MySQL is free software, and can't be shut down by an evil monopolist (like one we all know and love).

They seem to think the EC wants a (symbolic?) divestment .. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204731804574390512306888466.html?mod=googlenews_wsj [wsj.com]

As for me, I want the deal to go through so there will be more capacity planning gigs for me to do (;-))

--dave

Oracle Needs to Spend $5-billion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29389123)

Oracle Needs to Spend $5-billion to make SPARC competitive again in the database workload arena. I just don't see Oracle making those expenditures at a time, when the global economic prospects are still so threatened. Even then it will still take another 3-4 years for a viable design to make it to production. IBM certainly won't sit still, while Oracle is making that spend. I don't think Oracle can rescue Sun from their years of poor spending on Research and Development.

This could the acquisition that starts to make Oracle hemorrhage cash. Look how long it took for Oracle's fusion product of Peoplesoft and Oracle Applications to come to market. Most customers would have left given the choice. Luckily it's much, much easier to change you UNIX platform than it is to change your ERP system.

CoolThreads Desktop (1)

jekewa (751500) | about 5 years ago | (#29389125)

I want to see a workstation/small server based on the "cool threads" multi-core chips. The servers are nice, but with their rack-mount-only designs, they're either unreasonably expensive or loud (or both). Especially now that VMs are catching on like wildfire, I'd like to be able to throw a ton of RAM and HDD at a single box and have a bunch of zones and VM'd OSs running all at once. Of course, it'd have to have SLI or Crossfire...and allow big graphics to back up that multi-core/multi-threading.

Re:CoolThreads Desktop (1)

drummerboybac (1003077) | about 5 years ago | (#29390067)

Agreed, right now it is about 12-20k for one of the 1U servers, but even those are pushing 64 threads+

Re:CoolThreads Desktop (1)

bofkentucky (555107) | about 5 years ago | (#29390369)

On sun's website you can get a stripped down T1000 for $4000 retail, not a desktop/workstation but they aren't super loud either.

Sun's Niagara line is better for databases... (4, Insightful)

paulsnx2 (453081) | about 5 years ago | (#29389235)

.... Their threaded design provides more threads and cores per Watt than other processors, and designs under development is pushing the further in that direction. And at this point, I am not aware of any Linux distribution that supports Niagara (though there may very well be one).

Databases do not benefit as much by fast single thread execution as they do by very reasonable multi-thread execution. That is because in a database application, or Web application, you want to support many sessions.

And as power and heat become issues in large server farms (mostly running database and web applications), the Niagara line is attractive.... The problem hasn't really been Sun's technology, but Sun's marketing and unfocused management. Larry might be a jerk, but he does know how to focus on making money.

Re:Sun's Niagara line is better for databases... (3, Interesting)

Markus_UW (892365) | about 5 years ago | (#29389455)

Plus, by making the Oracle licensing scheme slightly more favourable towards sparc than power or intel, they can mess with IBM/other competitors pretty well. Before anyone complains about the immorality of such moves, I would like to point out that this is Oracle we're talking about, and they already do this when they're mad at Sun/HP/IBM...

Re:Sun's Niagara line is better for databases... (3, Interesting)

segedunum (883035) | about 5 years ago | (#29390339)

Databases do not benefit as much by fast single thread execution as they do by very reasonable multi-thread execution. That is because in a database application, or Web application, you want to support many sessions.

Not really true, and it's why most people haven't bought into Niagara despite any benchmarks Sun might come up with. The problem is that Niagara doesn't have the single threaded performance to start with. Rock was what was necessary, but that seems to be stillborne. For Niagara to work for you you have to have a lot of extremely lightweight threads that don't depend on each other and can run completely in parallel. You won't find many workloads like that these days, even with databases, because everyone has ever larger single jobs for specific tasks that they want to run faster and faster as well as potentially large stored procedures to mangle through. No one wants to find out that their hardware platform is OK for a specific workload and then as soon as you throw it something different it nosedives.

Re:Sun's Niagara line is better for databases... (1)

segedunum (883035) | about 5 years ago | (#29390405)

Forgot to add:

And as power and heat become issues in large server farms (mostly running database and web applications), the Niagara line is attractive....

Yes they are concerns, but people aren't going to go for that at the expense of potentially less performance, unless they plan their workloads very, very, very carefully. Few will. I've heard of some organisations who've went for these machines as J2EE or database machines who've had to allocate a lot more hardware than they planned which doesn't match up to Sun's marketing at all.

Re:Sun's Niagara line is better for databases... (1)

greg1104 (461138) | about 5 years ago | (#29391383)

There are all sorts of database applications that depend on a single CPU to run really fast. The sort of big reports people usually run overnight are an example. Niagara systems fail to work well if you any such requirement in your app, single threaded apps are way too slow to compared to Intel/AMD solutions. Niagara hardware is decent for applications that always have lots of users going at once, but they're only good for that, and that limits the market you can sell them into. It's certainly not the case that all database apps are of that type.

Re:Sun's Niagara line is better for databases... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29392069)

Single core performance can be very important to a certain class of queries, named CPU bound, non parallelized operations. With modern database servers having massive memory caches associated with them (and solid state disk behind them), I'm seeing far more queries these days that CPU out rather than IO out.

Most mid range commercial databases these days, including Oracles mid-range offering (SE) are limited to one core per query, so in that kind of model having very fast cores makes your queries run faster than having lots of slow cores.

I always kind of wondered what particular class of database problem niagra was trying to solve, because the systems I work with are better served by 8 fast cores than 64 slow ones; I run millions of queries/hour through 8 core oracle boxes without capping the available cycles, so its not like my query count is low.

What about rock? (1)

dirtyhippie (259852) | about 5 years ago | (#29389303)

I really hope this means they are going to pursue Rock aggressively. Knockin' on wood over here...

Sun has some nice storage technology... (1)

shinehead (603005) | about 5 years ago | (#29389321)

I would like to see Sun's storage technology emphasized. They have some good products, and good ideas. A little refinement would go a long way. It has been apparent to me for several years that storage is ripe for commoditization, all it is is disks, memory, and fibre channel ports. Whoever can deliver the I/O, reliability, and features without the huge cost of the incumbent enterprise storage vendors should do quite well.

MARIA (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | about 5 years ago | (#29389633)

From TFA

but I've yet to hear MySQL's customer base, which skews toward the technology-savvy Web crowd, fretting about Oracle's impact on MySQL's business.

Could this be a non-issue due to that they can just fall back on Monty's MariaDB [askmonty.org] ? ( community developed, stable, and always Free branch of MySQL )

Openoffice? (5, Interesting)

lotho brandybuck (720697) | about 5 years ago | (#29389819)

My biggest concern is what happens with OpenOffice?

As a Linux-on-desktop user, I am dependent on it. It is a critical ap for me.

OpenOffice could finally break the hegemony of MS Office, if it's not screwed up. I know a few people who are now using it on Windows, by choice, not necessity. But if it's screwed up, it's over.

I hope Ellison sees this as his chance to really stick it to Microsoft. I hope he retains and rewards the existing development team, and starts cleaning and optimizing the existing code base, and if needed dedicates additional manpower and resources. I hope Oracle's capable of doing this without screwing it up.

Sturggling with how they'll pay for it (2, Insightful)

NSIM (953498) | about 5 years ago | (#29389835)

Heavy R&D spending, plus double the number of sales and support engineers is a lot of additional spending unless they can seriously eat into IBM and/or HP's UNIX business, I'll believe it when I see it.

It is called a targeted ad (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 5 years ago | (#29390337)

There is this thing called targeted advertising. One makes an ad targeted to a specific demographic. This ad is targeted specifically at companies using Sun hardware and Solaris.

It does not mention MySql because the ad is not targeted at MySQL users. Granted, the set of "Sun hardware and Solaris users" and the set of "MySQL" users can and probably do overlap, but that is beside the point.

Remember, lack of evidence for something (no mention of MySQL in that ad) is not evidence against said thing nor is it evidence for something else (Oracle is planning to do something bad to MySql).

Remain Open? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 5 years ago | (#29391387)

While its hopeful now that they have stated plans to keep investing time and money, will SPARC and Solaris remain open, or is the plan to close them off? ( if they do, who cares of they invest...)

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