Ellison introduced the company’s X5 as “the future of the datacentre” based on Intel Xeon® E5-2600 v3 processor family (Haswell-EP with up to 32 cores) and support for high bandwidth NVM Express (NVMe) flash drives.
The X5-2, a 1U two socket server, is designed and optimised for running Oracle Database in a clustered configuration. Optional four NVMe drives can be used to accelerate Database performace via Smart Flash Cache. This server is targeted at high-density vitualization environments.
The X5-2L, a 2U platform, is targeted for single-node databases and enterprise storage applications. The supports up to 758GB of memory, and configured for a maximum of 50.4TB of direct attached storage.
Also announced was Oracle’s NVM Express (NVMe) design providing up to 6.4TB of hot-swappable flash providing 2.5X the data rate of older SAS3 SSD interface drives using PCIe Gen3 Small Form Factor NVM SSD drives (12Gb/s vs. 32Gb/s). NVM Express flash technology is optimized to accelerate Oracle Database using a feature called Database Smart Flash Cache. This feature keeps recently accessed data warm in flash storage, reducing the chance that the database needs to fetch the data from slower magnetic media that may be direct attached or resident on a NAS/SAN fabric. In addition to the high-bandwidth interface to the NVM Express SSDs, the flash technology itself has been engineered to be high-endurance and write-optimized for Oracle Database.
Ellison’s new “vision” entails connecting datacentres efficiently and at lowest cost to the cloud – “There has to be some degree of compatibility between the public cloud and your private datacentre”, Ellison said.
Ellison emphasised Oracle’s “new strategy” using Intel processors to compete for the two-socket core business. The new “Virtual Compute Appliance X5” converged infrastructure system, consists of compute servers and software defined networking.
That integration comes in the form of th Virtual Compute Appliance X5 converged infrastructure system, consisting of compute servers, software-defined networking and Oracle designed hardware. Ellison went on to highlight the company’s abilities in software defined configuration of server and storage networks on VCA, supporting infiniband internal networking with external connectivity provided by Ethernet and Fibre Channel to link with existing networks.
Included within the X5 product portfolio are Oracle’s Big Data Appliance for Hadoop and NoSQL big data jobs and Exalogic X5-2 for private clouds.
Ellison described Oracles Zero Data Loss Recovery Appliance capable of full data recovery with real-time “redo” transport and fully automated recovery functions, log re-examination with extraction of malicious transactions followed by re-entry of those processes again allows the appliance to be restored to any point in time.
Further the appliance, which can handle thousands of databases with backup connections to on-site datacentre, remote datacenters and cloud. “The big deal is it’s fully automated, so it’s easy to operate, and you never lose data. It’s a no brainer appliance as we have, “Ellison stated.
Ellison reminded the audience that “Oracle manufactures tests and supports all of these products in-house”, naming rivals Cisco, EMC, VMware, Microsoft and Red Hat hinting at more expensive and fragmented support by rivals. Further “One appliance alone can handle thousands of databases with potential backup connections to on-site datacentres, remote datacentres, and the cloud.” he said.
“The big deal is it’s fully automated, so it’s easy to operate, and you never lose data. It’s as a no-brainer appliance as we have,” Ellison remarked.
He further stressed Oracle has manufactured, tested, and support all these pieces in-house, calling out rivals Cisco, EMC, VMware, Microsoft, and Red Hat and hinting at more fragmented (not to mention expensive) deployment options. All X5 machines are available now.
The rumor of the Intel invasion of Oracle has been circulating since OracleWorld 2012. This is a major shift for Oracle. The company’s management, currently in the midst of a “reinvention period”, includes the fact that Larry Ellison is executing a gradual accession plan as he moves toward retirement.
The X5 release is seen as one aspect of the company’s new strategy – one in which the company protects their private datacentre market base while adjusting to a world increasingly enveloped by the evolution of open hardware, software and the cloud. Ellison is a sharp toothed shark and Oracle is having a problem finding a way to replace his natural instincts – how this evolves is another one of those “only in the valley” stories.
It is looking like a very good year for Intel’s E5000 series though…,
Intel released its fourth quarter 2014 results yesterday afternoon with income jumping 39 percent on improved demand for personal computer and server system chips. The company allowed that it is expecting a somewhat flat first quarter for 2015 which led shares 1.9% lower in after-hours trading. The PC Client Group’s earnings improved by three percent while the Data Centre Group’s earnings improved by 25 percent. Overall revenue increased by six percent year-on-year and gross profit margin exceeded 65 percent.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected per-share earnings of 66 cents and revenue of $14.71 billion.
For the current first quarter, Intel projected revenue between $13.2 billion and $14.2 billion and gross margin of 60 percent, plus or minus a couple percentage points. Analysts, on average, were expecting revenue of $13.76 billion and gross margin of 61.2 percent, according to Reuters.
For the year, Intel projected revenue to rise by a mid-single digits percentage rate and achieve a gross margin of 62% of revenue, plus or minus a couple percentage points. Analysts, on average, were expecting revenue to rise 4% and gross margin of 63.4%, according to Reuters.
PC Client Group Improves
Intel’s integral attachment to the PC market greatly affected earnings as the PC market growth slowed and consumer market demand was satisfied with less costly tablets and high capacity smartphones. The uptick in PC demand last spring has had a positive effect on earnings and aided in the company’s turnaround effort to become “the” dominant supplier in the mobile market. With Intel’s 14 nm manufacturing muscle Brian Krzanich is now “loaded for ARM” vowing to place 40 million Intel chips into tablets now dominated by ARM Holdings PLC.
3D 256 Gb NAND-Flash Bundling?
No mention was made by Intel of its recently announced 3D 256 Gb NAND-Flash devices. Intel has what can only be called an obsession with its ability to control the memory side of the sales equation without owning any of the fixed assets to produce it.
Analysts have been wondering why Micron was not more upbeat on the announcement; it is, after all the controlling partner in Intel-Micron Flash Technologies, Inc. (IMFT). Sources indicate that Intel will most likely begin bundling Processors and Memory kits with Intel claiming the lion’s share of margin leaving Micron to its own pursuits with its share of output.
Last but Not Least
The Data Centre Group is rumoured to be the earnings darling of the coming quarters with sources indicating market moving announcements over the first half of 2015. Those announcements concern Intel’s SDN for Cloud Computing efforts…
Its senior vice president and general manager of the computing and graphics business group John Byrne thinks that it is much wiser to keep pushing into the PC market, which is still a $40-billion-a-year opportunity.
Talking to Venture Beat he said that AMD has to execute on its upcoming Carrizo family of accelerated processing units (APUs), which will be focused on the mobile computing market. About 300 million PC processors and 90 million graphics chips are sold each year, and Byrne wants AMD to get its fair share of those sales.
Byrne thinks that setting up a chip making operation for the Internet of Things is just an invitation to lose money.
Byrne said while it concentrated on the IoT, Intel it was missing opportunities in the classic PC market.
“There’s still 300 million PCs, still 90 million graphics chips. If I look at Intel, Nvidia, and my revenue, that’s still a $40 billion market — even before you get to the IoT. If you look at the gross margin profile of that business, it’s still significantly more than AMD as a company’s average. There’s still significant market opportunities in the classic PC space,” Byrne said.
He said that AMD still had work to do in the PC chip market. It had to work on its x86 performance, ensuring that each product it bought to market is better x86. There needed to be improvements in graphics, notebooks needed to improve battery life.
Byrne said that it all meant that AMD could push into the commercial market a long more. He pointed out that AMD won the industry’s largest single tender in commercial 18 months ago in India and Elitebook with HP last year.
“Wait until you see the lineup of commercial platforms I have with Carrizo. It allows us to continue to attack that i3, attack that i5 consumer, and really get to penetrate the commercial market space. We’ll attack graphics. That’s going to be my strategy next, he said.
While he said that the Internet of Things is important there are two ways to make cash from it. Intel is concentrating on the silicon inside the wearable. However, that will cost under $10 and not make huge amounts of cash.
“You’re seeing that with Quark and some of the other investments our competitors are making. I’m not in business to lose money. Share and revenue is nice but so is profitability,” he said.
But all of those devices have to be connected and it is those higher end devices that AMD will be targeting.
At the CES show at Las Vegas this week, Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich showed off a computer built into a jacket button and a wristband that transforms into a selfie-snapping flying camera drone.
It says a lot about where Intel sees the future of computing. Gone are the days of number crunching business computers, instead the world’s chip makers are developing gadgets which are better at photographing their own users.
Already tourist destinations are full of people carrying their phones on sticks so that they can take snaps of themselves at famous monuments without needing a friend. Now it seems that Intel sees a future for machines that can take pictures of bald heads at famous monuments while at the same time navigating through a sea of Japanese drones re-enacting a narcissistic battle of Midway on the Spanish Steps.
Krzanich used most of his keynote to talk up Intel’s efforts in computerised apparel and other sensor-packed gadgets as consumers get bored with their tablets and start selling their kidneys for the next shiny thing.
Curie, a new button-sized computer for smart clothes, is due out later in 2015 and includes Bluetooth radio as well as the latest from Intel’s Quark line of low-power chips. However Krzanich did sound a little like an East End market barrow boy when he talked about “rings, bags, bracelets, pendants, and yes, even the buttons on our jackets.” They are not dodgy, not dodgy.
Intel is working with Oakley to launch a smart gadget for athletes later this year, Krzanich said. The chipmaker in December announced it was developing smart glasses with Luxottica, which owns the Oakley brand.
Krazanich also said that he was spending $300 million to get more women and minorities in the technology and the video game industries. Note that money will be spent training women and minorities, there is no guarantee that Intel or any other technology company will hire them.
Intel has a poor record of accomplishment employing women and some minorities. While it is happy to hire Chinese and Indian workers, because they are nice and cheap, only a quarter of Intel’s US employees in 2013 were women and 12 percent of its workforce were Hispanic or African American.
Last year Intel made a huge mistake by backing the misogynistic GamerGate campaign to pull advertising from gaming news sites who dared to slam sexism in the gaming industry. In the end it changed its mind and resumed advertising.
The CPU is designed for the ultramobile, low-power market and is an SoC die shrink of the existing architecture.
Where it does something interesting is on the GPU side with shedloads of improvements and advances,
The video decoder block has been beefed up with dual bit stream decoders, we are expecting to see other improvements but Intel has been quiet on exactly what it has tweaked and changed to date.
Intel does appear to have clear ground ahead of it. TSMC’s 20nm is only a slight improvement on die size and power consumption, Intel’s new Broadwell cores are 37 percent smaller.
What is odd, is that although more than half the chip seems dedicated to its GPU, Intel has made no announcement about supporting Direct X12. Nvidia and AMD has announced full DX12 support for their various current hardware,
Intel claims its new chip can boost battery life by 1.5 hours, speed video conversions, and offer a whopping 22 percent improvement to 3D performance. It has been a while that we have seen a significant productivity jump and we were not expecting to see much in the way of improved CPU performance from this chip anyway.
We are expecting Intel to announce the shipment of its Cherry Trail platform today too. This is the 14nm Bay Trail die shrink that’s been on the roadmap for a little while and is not really news. What is strange is how Intel has been quiet about the specifics of Cherry Trail so far. We have no benchmarks, statistics, or anything.
This is odd given Intel’s commitment to tablets and that pushing the Atom down to 14nm is a significant achievement. It should mean some performance gains and it is not clear why Chipzilla is not trumpeting it more.