Tag Archives: sparc

essbase on solaris – are you mad?

Several years ago Sun began a project to update and consolidate the business intelligence tools used at Sun and we decided on Hyperion as we had a variety of Hyperion tools already: Brio, Essbase.  This was a few years before the Oracle acquisition of Hyperion and we wanted to run on Solaris.

This meant we were one of the first customers to run the Hyperion suite on Solaris and I frequently had conversations with other Hyperion experts similar to the title of this post and was also told that Essbase was designed on windows and would therefore run best on windows.

While the original implementation had it’s difficulties being one of the first on Sun hardware, software and operating system it undoubtedly laid the groundwork for the recent Hyperion Essbase ASO World Record on Sun SPARC Enterprise M5000.

The Oracle Essbase Aggregate Storage application employed for the benchmark was based on a real customer application in financial industry with 13 Million members in the customer dimension.

The benchmark system was a M5000 server with 4 UltraSPARC64 Vii 2.53 Ghz (quad core) and 64Gb ram running Solaris 10 update 8 and Oracle Essbase 11.1.1.3 (64 bit) combined with a Sun Storage F5100 Flash Array consisting of 40 x 22 GB flash modules in a single zpool.

The benchmark compared 500 and 20,000 users and showed that usage based aggregation improved response times, while adding the extra users showed similar performance with no signs of degradation in query timings.

What is interesting in the benchmark is that this seems to be one of the first to combine a variety of Oracle technology and provide a benchmark for John Fowler to beat:  Solaris ZFS, SPARC M9000 server, Storage F5100 Flash Array and Essbase.

For more information check out the whitepaper here(pdf), Note: the BestPerf blog has an incorrect link since the recent update to the Oracle Technology Network.  More details on Hyperion applications here.

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sss update: solaris, sparc, servers

Following up from John Fowlers Oracle Systems / Storage Product Briefing on Tuesday, 10th August it was exciting to see the focus on application performance and tuning for SPARC: “2x plus performance improvement every 2 years”.

For those that missed it, you can view the On Demand Webcast here and download the slides here.

This kind of performance increase is a big stake in the ground to show the intention to dramatically improve SPARC servers and systems that Oracle sells.  This was shown further by the intention to increase cores, threads, memory, TPM and Java Ops Per Second by 2015 as shown in the below slide:

So how do you get this kind of performance increase for the systems?  First you have the individual component engineers who design the components and  applications firstly to be best of breed and secondly to work together with other Oracle engineers to reduce complexity, improve execution and focus on the sum being larger than the parts of the whole.

How do they do this?  I’m not an engineer, so don’t know the answer, although reading through blogs.sun.com and blogs.oracle.com, shows me the passion and desire radiating from all of them – which undoubtedly helps.

Another key component is the OS, Solaris and one of the recent nuggets of gold: DTrace –  which allows developers and administrators to get answers about the behaviour of applications and the operating system using a dynamic tracing framework.  While first being created for Solaris and OpenSolaris, there are now ports to Mac OSX, FreeBSD and Linux.  Check out the following resources for more info:

  • BigAdmin DTrace page
  • DTrace whitepaper & instruction (pdf) page
  • Lots of videos and demonstrations @google

The other exciting news was Solaris 11:  with a release in 2011 and a early access preview later this year.  Some of the key focuses/features are:

  • Binary compatibility with older Solaris releases
  • Scalability
  • Networking
  • Security
  • DTrace
  • Trusted Extensions

If your current server or operating systems don’t have some of these features or an aggressive roadmap, isn’t it time to look around and see what alternatives there are that can dramatically increase your performance.

focusing on the strengths

One thing I’ve noticed from the Oracle acquisition is the re-focusing on Sun strengths around the engineering talent that Sun had:  Solaris, Sparc, servers and technology integration and innovation.  This talent also developed such cool things as zfs, dtrace, F5100 storage array, hybrid storage pools and unified storage.

As my MBA tutor tells me, one way to harness and move a company forward is to focus on the key strengths or core capabilities that an organization has.  There can be a problem if you rely on the core capabilities too much they become core rigidities – which can be evidenced in Suns past, focusing too much on Sparc and proprietary servers, and at one point even dropping Solaris on x86.

It’s taken a while for some information to flow out but in the last week 2 items have come out which shows the ongoing work and strategies are there:
Oracle Solaris Podcasts
This is a new monthly podcast series hosted by Dan Roberts, giving a general update on Oracle Solaris including industry news, events and technology highlights.  This episode features Bill Nesheim and Chris Armes, and provides an update of what’s been happening over the last few months and details on why Oracle Solaris is the best OS for x86-based servers: scalability, reliability and security.  It also includes a brief overview of the new support offering for Oracle Solaris on third party x86 hardware.

Strategy for Oracle’s Sun Servers, Storage and Complete Systems: 9AM Tuesday, August 10, 2010 Join John Fowler, Executive Vice President, Systems, for a live update on the strategy and roadmap for Oracle’s Sun servers, storage and complete systems including Oracle Solaris.

Sign up here.

With some of these developments and others, the technology future certainly looks bright at Oracle.