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Oracle preps 'Sonoma' chip for low-priced Sparc servers

James Niccolai | July 30, 2015
Oracle is looking to expand the market for its Sparc-based servers with a new, low-cost processor dubbed Sonoma that its engineers will discuss publically for the first time later this month.

Ellison makes a big deal about how Oracle controls all parts of its computing stack, from the processor up to the applications. That allows it to build "engineered systems" which combine compute, network and storage in systems that are pre-integrated at the factory. IBM and HP offer something similar but call them converged systems.

But in fact, eight of the 10 engineered systems Oracle sells today use Intel x86 chips rather than its own Sparc processors, including the flagship Exadata Database Machine. Only the SuperCluster and Exalytics In-Memory Machine come with Sparc options.

That will change with the new Sparc chips, Fowler said. Oracle will continue to offer x86 options, but the T and M-series parts will allow it to use Sparc more broadly across its engineered systems, he said.

Oracle sells general purpose Sparc and x86 servers too, of course, and Sonoma will be used across both general purpose and engineered systems, Fowler said.

 

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