back to article Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7

Oracle has revealed details of its next-generation SPARC CPU, the M7. As John Fowler, Oracle's executive veep of systems predicted when chatting to The Reg last month, the company took the wraps off the M7 at last week's Hot Chips CPU-fest and filled it with goodies to make Oracle software go faster. Under the hood of the CPU …

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    1. IT Consultant

      Re: This explains IBM's $3 billion systems invest FUD

      This comment is total FUD. Doubt it? Do a bakeoff!

  1. alwarming
    Terminator

    "Oracle has revealed..."

    Surely you meant to say "The Oracle"...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's the SW, stupid..

    Of course it's massive multicore - that's the only way Larry World can stay afloat - by charging out the wazoo to license Oracle on these beasties. BTW, anyone know how much power one of these dissipates?

  3. MadMike

    POWER8 disappoints

    IBM POWER8 is a big disappointment. One POWER8 socket gives 437 SPECint2006, and it gives 342 SPECfp2006:

    http://benchmarkingblog.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/awesome-power8-benchmarks-awesome-dessert/

    The SPARC T5 gives more performance that, 467 and 436 for one socket:

    https://blogs.oracle.com/BestPerf/entry/20130326_sparc_t5_speccpu2006_rate

    I must say that POWER8 is a big disappointment. After four(?) years of development from IBM, is POWER8 the best they could come up with? POWER8 does not even beat current cpus.

    The SPARC M6 is faster than SPARC T5 and scales up to 32 sockets, and only Fujitsu M10-4S 64 socket SPARC server is faster on SAP benchmarks:

    https://blogs.oracle.com/BestPerf/entry/20140327_m6_32_sap_sd

    And now this SPARC M7 cpu gives not 10-20% better performance than M6 (as Intel gives every generation), no, it gives 3-4x better performance than one SPARC M6.

    HP is out from the high end market with their dead Itanium. IBM is out from the high end big margin market with their not-so-good POWER8. And if POWER8 only scales to 16-sockets maximum with 16TB RAM, then IBM has no way of competing against a fully equipped SPARC M7 server with 32 sockets, 1024 cores and 8.192 threads and 64TB RAM:

    http://www.enterprisetech.com/2014/07/28/ibm-forging-bigger-power8-systems-adding-fpga-acceleration/

    "...Depending on how many customers are hitting the performance ceiling on the Power 795, IBM could skip putting out a 32-socket Power8 machine and just got with the 16-socket machine with 16 TB of memory...." - as explained by the IBM die hard fan Timothy Prickett Morgan. And look at the IBM road map. It seems a bit empty? What is there after POWER8? Nothing? What comes? Next year when the SPARC M7 32 socket server arrives, IBM must surely have released their largest server too. Will it only be 16 sockets?

    But I am a bit disappointed on Oracle too. Sure, Oracle has delivered all six cpus early or on time during these five years, but Oracle talked about a 16.384 threaded server with 64 TB RAM and 64 sockets in 2015. Clearly this SPARC M7 server is the one Oracle talks about BUT it only scales to 32 sockets. Fujitsu has 64 socket servers, not Oracle. But I hope Oracle will up the ante and release a 96-socket SPARC server with Bixby. Then there is no competition left.

    As Oracle says "twice the perfomance every generation" in contrast to IBM or Intel, I am very interested in the SPARC M8 server somewhere in 2016 or 2017. How can Oracle double up the SPARC M7? Oracle has doubled up every generation (for instance T5 has twice the cores and twice the sockets as T4, and T4 is twice as fast as T3, and M6 has twice the cores of M5, etc). How can possibly Oracle release a new cpu in 2016-2017 which is again, twice as fast as M7??? Will it have 64 cores??? Or double the clock speed? Or have 20 billion transistors??? Somewhere it must stop, not even Oracle can keep this neck breaking pace. If you double performance every generation (every year), then it will not take long before you have the fastest servers. And with Oracle databases finely tuned to these high end killer servers, what is left of the competition? Oracle databases are using hardware accelerators in SPARC, and refuse to use other hardware accelerators from IBM or HP. Oracle databases will scream on these big M7 servers.

    The Tx series have been migrated into Mx series, which is good. The Tx servers were low-end to mid-end. Left is only the Mx servers from Oracle. Fujitsu creates the SPARC64 cpus, that are also fastest for HPC and number crunching. The Fujitsu M10-4s 64 socket server is quite wicked too. Just check it up. Mainframe class reliability. As the M7 servers.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Mad Mike

      Re: POWER8 disappoints

      Interesting. Why is someone using a userid almost identical to mine and posting stuff like this? Presumably, trying to pass themselves off as me. Of course, what the post fails to identify is that benchmarks are one thing, but real life performance is another. Yes, lots of companies like to compete on benchmarks (although only recently with Sun/Oracle), but they are really artificial. It's also interesting that the poster believes making the biggest (as in processors/cores etc.) is all that matters. The vast majority of the market simply doesn't want servers of this size, so it's largely irrelevant.

      1. MadMike

        Re: POWER8 disappoints

        @Mad Mike

        "...It's also interesting that the poster believes making the biggest (as in processors/cores etc.) is all that matters. The vast majority of the market simply doesn't want servers of this size, so it's largely irrelevant..."

        This is funny how IBM goes on when Oracle beats IBM:

        http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2013/03/27/ibm-fires-back-at-oracle-after-server-attacks/

        “This was a frozen-in-time discussion,” Parris said in an interview Wednesday. “It was like 2002–not at all in tune with the market today.”...Companies today, Parris argued, have different priorities than the raw speed of chips. They are much more concerned about issues like “availability”–resistance to break-downs–and security and cost-effective utilization of servers than the kinds of performance numbers Ellison throws out....Not that Parris is conceding that Oracle’s new hardware is actually faster."

        And now you say that the market doesnt want huge servers that only Oracle can manufacture. Well superior performance means you get wicked small servers too. If you have a small 8-socket M7 server (256 cores, 2048 threads, 16TB RAM), it will surpass the biggest baddest IBM P795 (256 cores, 1024 threads, 16TB RAM) for a fraction of the IBM price - why would you spend much more money, more space, and more wattage being an IBM customer? And the P795 does not have lot of hardware accelerators that M7 has. So tell me, why would anyone go for a hugely expensive large P795 server with 32 sockets, when you can get a small 8-socket M7 server?

        BTW, the SPARC M6 is faster than the POWER7+ cpu. And one SPARC M7 is 3-4x faster than the the SPARC M6. This means an 8-socket M7 server will equal 24-32 socket M6 server. Or, 8-socket M7 server will almost equal an 32-socket POWER7 P795 server. Why would anyone want a huge P795 server, when they can get a small 8-socket M7 server? Tell me.

        1. Freddellmeister

          Re: POWER8 disappoints

          Madmike

          "Why would anyone want a huge P795 server, when they can get a small 8-socket M7 server? Tell me."

          Because you you the term faster incorrectly. Your definition of faster is not yielding shorter response times. A lot of people actually has to open the branches in the morning and cannot wait indeterminately for EOD processing to finish. Telcos need to rate and bill transactions before raw data is discarded.

          Couple slow processing of SPARC with anemic virtualization capabilities will allow these customers to do a lot more with POWER than SPARC M7 regardless of your definition of faster. And it will require a lot less Oracle licenses.

        2. Mad Mike

          Re: POWER8 disappoints

          @MadMike

          I have done comparisons between Oracle Mx and Tx chips and IBM Power x chips. I've also looked at the server design and resilience etc.etc. Been doing it for a while. Oracle chips do well in benchmarks, but it simply doesn't work through to reality, except for some limited applications. If you want to run huge instances (one of the reasons why Oracle push Solaris containers rather than LDOMs) doing a single workload (such as a huge BI machine), you might be able to make use of the performance. However, if you want to do more normal workload (such as OLTP), using a lot of partitions (or LDOMs), performance falls away rapidly. Cache size is one reason, but there are others. Using a lot of LDOMs, containers (to a lesser extent) and really working the threads up (again to a lesser extent) causes cache thrasing as the cache simply isn't big enough for the speed of the cores. Power chips have far fewer problems in this area and have much larger cache sizes which is one of the reasons.

          If you want to run large numbers of partitions (or LDOMs) or generally anything that switches between threads etc. a lot, the Power chips do much better in real life. Yes, the benchmark figures are good, but don't translate into real life performance under many circumstances. We, run Power servers with VP to PP ratios of up to 10 to 1 with really good performance. Tx and Mx chips simply won't do this. It's been a well known problem since the beginning of these chip lines. The Mx chips lost cores in order to increase the cache amount for each core specifically to try and address this problem. And it worked, to a point.

          The M7 chip design looks more like a T7 design, primarily due to the very large core count and low cache quantities per core. If it had been launched as a T7, I would not have been surprised at all and would have expected to see a M7 launched slightly later with fewer cores and bigger cache per core. But, that isn't what Oracle have done.

          Also, have a look at the server designs and their resilience etc. You find an interesting story. I was very surprised to find out some time ago that a T3-2 server would DELIBERATELY reboot itself if a socket failed!! That's not resilience. This was to reconfigure all the I/O onto the remaining socket. However, if you design the implementation correctly, all I/O would be mirrored across the two sockets anyway, so I/O would be maintained. It actually rather seems like Oracle are putting resilience more into their software stack and not their hardware. In the event of a hardware fault, they expect to loose the hardware and simply failover to another instance through software.

          The above is one solution to a problem, but it should always bee borne in mind that software is normally the least reliable part of the stack and therefore deliberately using that for resilience is arguably not the best. As a last resort, fine, but hardware surviving faults is a good starting point first.

        3. Roo

          Re: POWER8 disappoints

          "BTW, the SPARC M6 is faster than the POWER7+ cpu"

          Depends how you measure it. Oracle have failed to provide CINT2006 & CFP2006 single thread results for 3 years and counting now, however they do provide the rates figures (spec.org explains the difference between the two types of benchmark in plain english on their website).

          The lowest common denominator between recent (ie: <2 years old) SPARC & POWER SPEC results seem to be the 16 core rates figures. Box boxes look to be of a similar physical size too. :)

          SPARC T5-1B int 489, fp 369 (Oct 2013 & Apr 2013)

          IBM Power 730 Express (4.2 GHz, 16 core, SLES) int 852, fp 575 (Feb 20i13)

          Power7+ delivers 70% more int and 50% more fp in those 16 core 2U boxes... IMO the main reason for people to run a SPARC is that they can't run their binaries on something else, the performance argument just doesn't stack up, and it hasn't done for at least a decade.

          1. MadMike

            Re: POWER8 disappoints

            @Roo

            "...SPARC T5-1B int 489, fp 369 (Oct 2013 & Apr 2013)

            IBM Power 730 Express (4.2 GHz, 16 core, SLES) int 852, fp 575 (Feb 20i13)

            Power7+ delivers 70% more int and 50% more fp in those 16 core 2U boxes... IMO the main reason for people to run a SPARC is that they can't run their binaries on something else, the performance argument just doesn't stack up, and it hasn't done for at least a decade...."

            Yes but now you are comparing two sockets POWER7+ vs one socket SPARC T5. No wonder that two POWER7+ cpus beats one SPARC T5 cpu. Some would say that to be able to discern which cpu is the fastest - you need to compare one cpu to another cpu. Not two cpus to one cpu, nor three cpus to one cpu. Imagine someone would compare ten SPARC T5 cpus to one POWER7+ and conclude that the SPARC T5 cpu is ten times faster?? Wouldnt that be a bit weird? Faulty logic, right?

            What are we discussing, which cpu is the fastest, or which core is the fastest? I thought we discussed SPARC cpus vs POWER cpus? Are you shifting discussion from cpus to cores and then back again ("one core is faster, therefore the cpu is faster"?). In my old antique car, the piston happens to move faster than the Ferrari F40 piston - therefore I conclude that my car is faster than the Ferrari F40. In my pocket I happen to have more money than you have in your pocket, therefore I conclude I also have more money on the bank. This is sound and correct logic to an IBMer, yes?

            How about this, four SPARC T2+ running at 1.6GHz matches fourteen (14) POWER6 cpus running at 4.7GHz in official SIEBEL v8 benchmarks. Because you randomly talks about cores, I might as well randomly talk about... GHz. You need 65.8 GHz in total POWER6 cpu to match 5.6 GHz of SPARC T2+. Because the SPARC T2+ is 11.75x more efficient when we talk about GHz, I conclude that the SPARC T2+ is also 11.75x faster than the POWER6. How about them apples? Sounds good to you?

            Whats wrong with IBMers? This faulty logic that IBMers display is very common. I discussed with one IBMer here, and he said something like "one POWER6 core is faster than the Intel Xeon on linpack, therefore the entire POWER6 cpu is faster" - when I showed linpack benchmarks that Xeon was twice as fast as the POWER6 cpu. He insisted that the POWER6 cpu was faster, even though it got half the linpack score. "The core is faster, therefore the cpu is faster! It is true!". IBMers need to study some and learn about logic and reasoning, thats for sure. This is not the first time I have had such a discussion with an IBMer. "The core is faster, therefore the cpu is faster!"

            1. PowerMan@thinksis

              Re: POWER8 disappoints "Impostor" wants it both ways

              Impostor "MadMike" pretending to be "Mad Mike" wants it both ways. 8, 16 and 32 sockets are the way to get the greatest performance. Clearly the *sum* is the strength and not the parts that make it up because he has a single socket T1- B with 16 cores when compared to another 16 core server the excuse is because it is a 1 socket and not two. A 32 socket server is the best not because it has 1024 power cores but because it has 32 sockets x 32 cores and its aggregated results. What "MadMike" doesn't want to admit but is obvious even if he won't acknowledge it (because the facts speak for themselves) is a SPARC server with a 16 co chip is inefficient. He says you have to compare one CPU to another CPU to get a fair comparison - seriously, all you mention are benchmark results for a T5-8 or a M6-32 with 8 and 32 sockets respectively then compare that to a S824 with 2 sockets or a Power7 780 with 8 sockets or fewer depending on the benchmark. This is one reason why sockets influence performance and why per core performance is the common denominator.

              What you fail to grasp is that Power isn't always 2X, 5X, 10X (or more) faster than the competition. When talking about current generation processors, Power is not 10X greater than any of them. It is approximately 2X faster than Ivy Bridge and more over SPARC. It is however, 10X, 20X, even 50X more efficient. Thanks to the mainframe efficient hypervisor, how it dispatches and schedules workloads onto the resources it delivers performance and throughput. It's not about 8, 12, 16 or 32 cores per chip but the performance of each core. If those cores are located in different sockets, then the performance between sockets and so on. It's not the sum of all of those cores that is impressive but being able to allocate the cores needed for each workload.

              You've lost it on your rant of Power6 vs T2. Not worth responding to. I can't speak for IBMers or the one you reference. Have them contact me and I'll set 'em straight. What I will say is this though. Even if Power servers (ie cores) were slower than the competition, because of the efficiency afforded by PowerVM which exploits the Power Hypervisor it delivers greater results with a better TCO. Your comment about "The core is faster, therefore the cpu is faster" is only relevant if you were comparing the same size chips - 8 vs 8 or 16 vs 16. But, it is absolutely fair to compare a 2 socket 8 core/socket vs a 1 socket 16 core/socket server. At that point the comparison is on cores and server.

              1. MadMike

                Re: POWER8 disappoints "Impostor" wants it both ways

                To the IBM employee "PowerMan@thinksis":

                "...[I] says you have to compare one CPU to another CPU to get a fair comparison - seriously, all you mention are benchmark results for a T5-8 or a M6-32 with 8 and 32 sockets respectively then compare that to a S824 with 2 sockets or a Power7 780 with 8 sockets or fewer depending on the benchmark..."

                Que? I have never compared a 32 socket SPARC server to a 8-socket POWER server, or anything similar. In my benchmarks I always normalize and compare socket to socket. If I post benchmarks of 2-socket SPARC to 1-socket POWER or similar - I always normalize and divide the SPARC result by two. And THEN compare socket to socket.

                We are discussing which cpu is the fastest, dont we? Why do you compare two POWER7 cpus vs one SPARC T5 cpu - and conclude the POWER7 is faster? You must normalize the benchmarks, do you not understand how to compare cpu to cpu?

                And BTW, I am not attacking you. You started calling me FUDer and employed by Oracle and what not. But in reality, it is you that FUDs (makes lot of false comparisons to prove that POWER7 is faster, such as comparing two POWER7 vs one SPARC) and you are also working at IBM. I would not be surprised if IBM pays you to write this FUD. This is great, you attack me and ask me why I attack you? And then you post lot of FUD, and ask me why I FUD? etc.

                You are welcome to post any benchmarks that show one POWER7 cpu is faster than one the old SPARC T5. Remember, we are discussing cpu vs cpu, not socket vs socket, nor GHz vs GHz, or what not.

                Regarding SPARC M7, IBM has no chance, there are no winning IBM benchmarks. Show us a large IBM server beating a large SPARC server, if you can. M7 is 3-4x times faster than SPARC M6 (which is already very fast), so surely it beats POWER7, POWER7+ and POWER8 and POWER9. If there ever will be a POWER9. As IBM has explained, AIX will be killed in favor of Linux. You better brush up your Linux skills. And it does not make sense to manufacture nextgen POWERxx servers, when everybody else is better (x86 is faster than POWER8, SPARC is many times faster, ARM is more power efficient, etc). First IBM will kill off AIX, then POWER.

                1. PowerMan@thinksis

                  Re: POWER8 disappoints "Impostor" wants it both ways

                  You are hopeless. Check out my two blogs at powertheenterprise.wordpress.com. I don't want to keep going back and forth as it bores the other readers not to mention me. For the record, I was kidding you about attacking me. I thought I made that clear in how I wrote it. Lastly, I encourage you to call the "Brett Murphy" who is at IBM. Look up his phone number at the IBM directory then call and leave him tons of vm. Others can find me at www.thinksis.com moonlighting from my day job :)

                  1. MadMike

                    Re: POWER8 disappoints "Impostor" wants it both ways

                    No, it is YOU who is like a frog without legs: hopeless.

                    ;)

      2. PowerMan@thinksis

        Re: POWER8 disappoints

        @MadMike seems to be nearly identical to the post of "kebabbert" at EnterpriseTech's article. Read his comment and my response. He is spewing nearly the same FUD there. He is a sharpshooter who shoots his mouth off with talking points just like Phil Dunn of Oracle does. http://www.enterprisetech.com/2014/08/13/oracle-cranks-cores-32-sparc-m7-chip/#comment-229928

    3. Roo
      Windows

      Re: POWER8 disappoints

      "IBM POWER8 is a big disappointment. One POWER8 socket gives 437 SPECint2006, and it gives 342 SPECfp2006:

      http://benchmarkingblog.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/awesome-power8-benchmarks-awesome-dessert/

      The SPARC T5 gives more performance that, 467 and 436 for one socket:

      https://blogs.oracle.com/BestPerf/entry/20130326_sparc_t5_speccpu2006_rate"

      How bizarre, it looks like you are comparing base to rate figures, totally different benchmarks. All you have shown is that a single POWER8 *core* can get within spitting distance of a T5 running flat out with all cores blazing.

      1. MadMike

        Re: POWER8 disappoints

        @Roo

        "...How bizarre, it looks like you are comparing base to rate figures, totally different benchmarks. All you have shown is that a single POWER8 *core* can get within spitting distance of a T5 running flat out with all cores blazing...."

        It didnt get this. Care to explain a bit more? How can one POWER8 core match one SPARC T5 socket?

        https://blogs.oracle.com/BestPerf/entry/20130326_sparc_t5_speccpu2006_rate

        If I redo my numbers, look at the SPECint_rate2006, for the "Base" column, it says 3490 for 8-socket SPARC T5. This translates to 3490/8 = 436 SPECint_rate2006 for one socket.

        SPECfp_rate2006, for the "Base" column, it says 2770 for 8-socket SPARC T5. This translates to 2770/8 = 346 SPECfp_rate2006 for one socket.

        In both cases, 436 SPECint_rate2006 for SPARC T5 matches the value of 437 for POWER8. And 346 SPECfp_rate2006 matches the value of 342 for POWER8. Ergo, the old SPARC T5 and the new POWER8 have identical performance on SPEC2006 benchmarks if I pick the worst case numbers. In best case or worst case, the POWER8 core is not as fast as one SPARC T5 socket. So I dont understand your claim. Can you explain a bit more?

        I dont understand why IBM released the POWER8 when it doesnt even beat existing old cpus. Big failure from IBM. Again.

        And rumours says that POWER8 has scalability problems and can not go above 16-sockets. Which makes it as fast as a P795, but in a smaller foot print. What is IBM thinking? Is IBM planning to kill off AIX after POWER8? Where is the POWER9 on the roadmap? It is not mentioned. The future for POWER and AIX looks grim:

        http://news.cnet.com/2100-1001-982512.html

        1. Roo
          Windows

          Re: POWER8 disappoints

          "It didnt get this. Care to explain a bit more? How can one POWER8 core match one SPARC T5 socket?"

          SPECfp & SPECint are *different* benchmarks from the *rate ones. One targets single thread performance the other multi-thread. It's the Apples & Oranges scenario again.

        2. PowerMan@thinksis

          Your post will be updated soon - be patient. You have 10 minutes after posting to make it better.

          Re: POWER8 disappoints

          Spewing more talking points and FUD. You aren't a "fanboi" as that implies loyalty to technology that may or may not be the best. You are dazed and confused...actually I would say you work for Oracle and simply defending the Larry's honor or you work in their marketing department. Maybe you are the new guy and this is part of your hazing - "Get our there and get your butt kicked while saying this and this and don't forget this!".

          You can't be taken seriously when everything you say is an obvious attempt at disparaging competitive platforms with no substantial data. "Rumours say ..." - whatever!

          1. MadMike

            Re: POWER8 disappoints

            "...Oracle achieves world records and impressive numbers by one means and one means ONLY. They produce servers with excessive sockets and cores then aggregate the values for the given product and claim superiority. That is weak engineering, disingenuous marketing with diluted value to the customer. M6-32 with 32 sockets & 384 cores deliver 793,930 SAPS or 2,067 SAPS per core. P7 795 with 32 sockets and 256 cores deliver 688,630 SAPS or 2,690 SAPS per core. With these two, which delivers the greatest performance per core?..."

            Who cares about cores? We are discussing which cpu or server is the fastest. And who has the higher score? Which server is more powerful? Which cpu is fastest? Sure, if we are going to discuss "who has the fastest core" - but we are not. We are discussing which cpu is best. Which server is most powerful.

            .

            "....Spewing more talking points and FUD. You aren't a "fanboi" as that implies loyalty to technology that may or may not be the best. You are dazed and confused...actually I would say you work for Oracle and simply defending the Larry's honor or you work in their marketing department. Maybe you are the new guy and this is part of your hazing - "Get our there and get your butt kicked while saying this and this and don't forget this!"...."

            Again, I have never worked at Oracle nor Sun. I have always worked in Finance, and right now I am a researcher in algorithmic trading. I tried to get my huge company to buy more Solaris and SPARC, but failed. But you on the other hand, work at IBM, right? Are you getting paid to write this errorneous stuff?

            .

            "...You can't be taken seriously when everything you say is an obvious attempt at disparaging competitive platforms with no substantial data. "Rumours say ..." - whatever!..."

            I always post links as you can see, I would never post claims without links as you do. Just read the link I posted regarded "rumours say". A mathematician needs to prove his claims, and I do that with links. Hardly anything I say are my own conclusions, I just reiterate and post official benchmarks and other links that other people have written. You on the other hand, makes up lot of weird stuff without any links. Your talk about "one core is faster, therefore the cpu is faster" - how in earth can you arrive at such a wrong conclusion? Have you not learned to reason and think critically at your university? Obviously not, as you display such a crippled logic.

            1. PowerMan@thinksis

              Re: POWER8 disappoints

              No, "you" and the misleading SPARC sellers like to talk about who has the highest score while not focusing on how many cores and other resources it takes to achieve that number. I think it is great to be in 2nd place with Power servers on various benchmarks as it almost always shows a Power server with 2X fewer cores with a better score for those cores than the competitive server with 2 - 4X more cores (implying lower performance for those cores).

              Where are your links in this response? Check out my twitter "@PowerMan_SIS" and you will see I provide all kinds of quotes, pictures, charts, etc. These forum comment sections don't let us post anything but text which limits providing comprehensive sources.

              I do not understand why you have to attack me personally. I am just trying to have a discussion with you while informing the other readers.........................I'm just messing with you! :)

    4. Roo
      Windows

      Re: POWER8 disappoints

      "And look at the IBM road map. It seems a bit empty? What is there after POWER8? Nothing?"

      Good question. I suspect a fair amount of their power budget is expended in driving those massive I/O and memory bandwidth numbers, and it's a brutal game of diminishing returns... However IBM also punt massively scalable beasts like BlueGene/Q that deliver very close to peak performance - with decent power efficiency (3.7GF/W). POWER8 being opened offers possibility of convergence on something like a BlueGene style building block with SoC customization (see POWER A2). POWER's future looks a lot more useful to people who want to fun code faster and cheaper than Larry's boat wrecks.

    5. PowerMan@thinksis

      Re: POWER8 disappoints

      This is a repeat of what I posted at http://www.enterprisetech.com/2014/08/13/oracle-cranks-cores-32-sparc-m7-chip/#comment-229928.

      You made a lot of assumptions with nothing to back up any of your statements. Making the claim does not substantiate the claim.

      Oracle achieves world records and impressive numbers by one means and one means ONLY. They produce servers with excessive sockets and cores then aggregate the values for the given product and claim superiority. That is weak engineering, disingenuous marketing with diluted value to the customer.

      First proof point – Oracle sells software, primarily by core (yes, other means are available). Thus, it stands to reason that performance per core is crucial. Look at the SAP benchmark where there are Power7 795, Power8 S824 and the M6-32 results.

      M6-32 with 32 sockets & 384 cores deliver 793,930 SAPS or 2,067 SAPS per core. P7 795 with 32 sockets and 256 cores deliver 688,630 SAPS or 2,690 SAPS per core. With these two, which delivers the greatest performance per core? The entry level Power8 S824 server with 2 sockets and 24 cores deliver 115,870 SAPS or 4,827 SAPS per core. For additional comparison purposes, here is the 8 socket 124 core T5-8 that deliver 220,950 SAPS or 1,726 SAPS per core.

      Just about every SAP landscape that I see have a total SAPS requirement but but that isn’t a singular value. Also, the ability of the server to utilize the full SAP value of that platform is also critical – this is dependent on the ability of the hypervisor, server technology and OS to be able to drive utilization that is useful. What this means is the likelihood of a Power8 24 core server being able to deliver 115K SAPS is quite likely. The likelihood of a x86 server being able to deliver it’s full SAPS is not likely. Given the weak hypervisor used in M6 & T5 along with the less capable SPARC chipset which includes the less efficient CMT (threads) makes it less likely for these servers to be driven as high as Power. I’ll hold off on critiquing Domains and LDOMs pending your desire to engage in that discussion as I look forward to that.

      Looking at the per core results of M6-32 I deliver more per core with the 4 year old P7 795 server and IBM’s entry level 2 socket 24 core S824 delivers 2.8X higher performance per core over the “Solves World Hunger” Oracle SPARC M5-8 and 2.3X over the M6-32 “King of the Hill” server. To put this in perspective, if we normalize the performance of the S824 with its 24 cores, that is equivalent to approximately 67 T5-8 SPARC cores or 56 x M6-32 SPARC cores.

      If you are a SPARC customer then you have fallen for their smoke and mirrors marketing that performance increase comes by doubling the cores. That simply doubles your software costs. If you work for Oracle then I expect you to sing from the Larry song book :) What is impressive with IBM’s Power8 technology when you see that it is 2X the performance over Power7 and x86 is that they are doing that on a per core basis. Using the Oracle sizing method we claim we have 3X the performance over Power7 and x86 but that is because we are going from 8 cores in Power7 to 12 cores in Power8. That means nothing unless you are pay software licenses by the socket then per core and # of cores per socket is very important.

      Hopefully you see the error of your ways. I am a IT business partner, Architect and evangelist on Power technologies. I also worked at Sun for 10 years where I was a cluster and storage specialist (also StorageACE) and an instructor in the Army on SunOS/Solaris servers. I say this to say that i am a fan of Solaris. I love and miss Sun – great people and culture. Plus, I have experience on the platform. I am not speaking here as a seller trying to persuade you or the reader that I’m right because of talking points. I continue to challenge Oracle to a live, face to face technical debate that we can record and publish for all to see and hear the discussions. We both can have a whiteboard to aid in our discussions. We should have a panel of independent industry experts who can award points based on winning each topic. Because we know there are some people (ie you) who will never accept defeat even if proven beyond the shadow of a doubt.

  4. Freddellmeister

    M7 is a rebadged T7!

    there is no M7, to hide the fact M7 development is cancelled after current M5/M6 fiasco Oracle renamed T7 to M7. (and suitably dropped T7). More interestingly this will allow to use the same server designs across the line and the M5/M6 monster can be take out the back. Oracle can finally fire the high end old Sun design team that did not produce a single viable server design for 10 years after E25k. One product (M5) in 10 year is not acceptable by any standard.

    Look at the core strength, number and pitiful cache size it is clear that it will not be able to hold a candle against Power 8. Compression? Well POWER7+ and POWER8 already has HW assisted compression/decompression.

    Unmatched 1024 core scalability? Well IBM already announced the "TrueNorth" 4096 core chip.

    1. MadMike

      Re: M7 is a rebadged T7!

      Well, the POWER8 is 2x fast as POWER7.

      SPARC M6 is faster than POWER7, and this SPARC M7 is 3-4x faster than M6. Ergo, M7 should be at least, twice as fast as POWER8.

      Show us benchmarks instead of talking about details. "Where is the money" - prove your point with hard facts benchmarks instead of your opinions and wishes.

      1. PowerMan@thinksis

        Re: M7 is a rebadged T7!

        Twice as fast based on....what? The M6 has 2 benchmarks that I can find; SAP & EBS. Power8 E870/E880 has been announced for 15 days and has results for SPECint/fp (rate+base), SPECjbb2013, and SAP S&D 2-tier.

        Let's be clear as you continually espouse this lie. SPARC is not faster than Power. SPARC has larger servers than Power which produce larger results. You then market that as being faster. Since most software, especially Oracle where you work licenses by the core it really doesn't matter if a server has 1024 cores rather if each core is the strongest it can be. This is why there are sporadic and few SPARC benchmarks. When there are results they are cherry picked (not a bad thing btw) and often in benchmarks that the competition doesn't use, recognize or "Oracle Internal". Further, Oracle marketing makes their usual overstatements and misstatements (i.e. lies) such as 4 T2+ processors beat 14 Power6 processors when The T2+ processor is a socket and the 14 Power6 processors are cores. Thus it is really 32 vs 14. Mistake? Possibly if there weren't many, many more examples like this.

        For the public reader. The E870 is producing 996 Users & 5451 SAPS per core. A M6-32 delivers 365 Users & 2067 SAPS per core. Btw, the 640 core Fujitsu M10-4S is just 239 Users & 1319 SAPS per core. What did you say the M7 will be? How is the M6 faster than a Power7? Oh, I didn't show it did I? Here it is for a 780 at 594 Users & 3247 SAPS per core. Hmm, M6 isn't faster than Power7 and isn't even close enough to suck the exhaust of the Power8 machine as it is that far behind.

        Solaris on SPARC is not bad. It's solid. If a customer wants it fine. However, if a customer wants the maximum performance, availability, reliability, flexibility, security, virtualization features that control software licenses costs with the lowest cost of ownership they will choose Power. It's not competitive, it's not inflammatory, it's not provocative, it's a fact. I am happy to have a public debate against Oracle to prove this all. Bring your best DE, PE, SE or whomever and get it on. We will record it for public airing and have a panel of independent panelists consisting of a customer, academia and analyst to arbitrate.

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