Sparc M7 handles databases at high speeds, OpenWorld says

OpenWorld Oracle Sparc M7 processor is better than generic Intel x86 servers swelling today's data center racks, OpenWorld Oracle executives have said during the final keynote of this week's OpenWorld.

Executive vice-president of Oracle, John Fowler, said on Wednesday that their M7 microprocessor and its builtin coprocessors speed up crypto algorithms and database requests.

The company had spent the last five years building a chip that can handle some SQL database queries in hardware, Fowler said, adding that it helps offload the job from the main processor cores.

"I don't believe that the million-server data center powered by a hydroelectric dam is the scalable future of enterprise computing," Fowler said. "We'll need to keep doing it, but we also need to invest in new technology so you all don't have to build them."

According to The Register, the new Sparc has eight in-memory database acceleration engines that are capable of serving up to 170 billion rows per second. The acceleration is only limited by the memory subsystem, which can go up to 160GB/s. Each of the eight engines has four pipelines, which adds up to 32 processing units.

The hardware is optimised to perform analytics at high speeds, on in-memory columnar databases, where decompression is much more important than compression. The logic behind it, according to Fowler, is that this way the M7 is very fast at running Oracle Database.

The M7 chip is 4.5 times as fast as IBM's Power8 processors, Fowler claimed, and in Oracle systems the processor handled encrypted data only 2.8 per cent more slowly than the same data unencrypted.