Oracle has surprised the industry by going ahead with the launch of servers based around the Sparc T3 processor, a chip that originally started life at Sun Microsystems, and which many people had given up on ever seeing.
The Sparc T3 is designed to be a high-performance server processor for the top end of the market, with 16 physical processing cores - twice as many as the UltraSparc T2 Plus, Oracle's current top-end CPU - each running at 1.65GHz
At the top end, Oracle is offering the Sparc T3-4 server
, which is a four-socket system featuring 64 physical processing cores overall. Impressively, the T3's equivalent of hyperthreading means that the T3-4 can cope with 512 simultaneous threads, which Oracle claims provides the "mission-critical speed [...] required for enterprise applications.
If a quad-socket 64-core server sounds a little out of your price bracket, there's Oracle's Sparc T3-1
. With just a single socket, you're limited to 16 processing cores and 128 simultaneous threads - but Oracle claims that's still enough to deliver "reliable service to millions of users.
The Sparc T3 is built around a 40nm process, and while Oracle hasn't provided any clues as to TDP, the power draw is low enough that single chips are also available as part of the company's T-series of blade servers.
Sadly, the one thing Oracle hasn't publicised about this launch is possibly the most important: the price. With its emphasis on "the industry's first 16-core processor
" and "enterprise applications
", it's clear that the pricing structure is likely to leave the Sparc T3 in the hands of the big boys only.
Are you pleased to see that there are non-x86 processors out there that are still making an impact, or just wondering when Oracle will give up on Sun's legacy and make the move to a more widespread processor platform? Share your thoughts over in the forums