Oracle, Fujitsu Launch “Project Athena” Servers

Oracle plans on reselling Fujitsu’s M10 servers, the first to use the 16-core SPARC64 X processor developed under the codename “Project Athena.”

Three variants will be available, Fujitsu said, ranging from the 1U M10-1 on up to the M10-4S, configurable for up to 1,024 cores. The company detailed “Athena” last fall at Oracle Open World, where Fujitsu executives were allowed to take the stage for their presentation even before Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison’s introduction of his own company’s servers. At the time, Ellison made the rather surprising comment that the SPARC64X would be faster than Oracle’s own chips: “By this time next year, that SPARC microprocessor will run the Oracle database faster than any other microprocessor in the planet, and the way we’re going to do it is by moving a lot of software functions to silicon.”

Fujitsu detailed the SPARC64 X at last summer’s Hot Chips conference, where it said that the 3-GHz, 16-core (2 threads-per-core) chip was running on 28-nm CMOS. At peak performance, it puts out 382 GFLOPS or 288 GIPS. What’s interesting, though, is that the SPARC64 X chips powering the new Fujitsu boxes are only running at 2.8-GHz, possibly indicative of either a manufacturing problem or just power concerns.

The Fujitsu SPARC M10-1 is a 1U server, containing a single SPARC64 X chip, up to 512 GB of memory, a 600 GB hard drive, either a 100 or 200 GB SSD, and 4 LAN ports, with up to 1000BaseT. Three PCI Express slots are included. Power consumption is 763 watts, maximum. It runs both Solaris 11 and 10. Fujitsu didn’t name a price, but Oracle claims that the box can be priced anywhere from $15,121 to $63,281 depending on the configuration.

The midrange 4 RU M10-4 contains 4 processors and 64 cores, with up to 2 TB of memory and 4.8 TB of storage, with 11 PCI Express slots. Pricing begins at $40,282, Oracle said. The M10-4S scales up to 64 processors and 1024 cores, with 32 TB of storage and 76.8 TB of internal memory. It includes up to 128 PCI Express slots.

How will Fujitsu’s SPARC bid play out? Remember, Fujitsu recently hired a new president to run its U.S. operations, and the SPARC64 X wasn’t even mentioned at Oracle’s recent T5 launch. Oracle may be reselling Fujitsu systems, but Fujitsu seems to need Oracle more than Oracle needs Fujitsu.


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