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Oracle-Sun x86 hardware gets Intel Xeon upgrade

Oracle has released new Oracle-Sun x86 hardware, including six servers based on Xeon processors that Intel introduced three months ago.

Oracle on Monday released a collection of new Oracle-Sun x86 hardware, encompassing servers as well as storage and networking devices.

The servers are based on Intel Xeon processors that came out in March and include five rack systems and one blade. Oracle is pushing Solaris, Enterprise Linux and Oracle VM on the machines, but they will also support Windows, VMware and the Red Hat and SUSE Linux distros.

The support for multiple operating systems is a plus for Tom Becchetti, a Unix and storage engineer at a large manufacturer in the Midwest. “We’re getting away from Solaris on x86,” Becchetti said. “Our media servers were running Linux and Solaris, but we had stability issues [with Solaris]. So it’s like, OK, back to Linux.”

The new lineup of Oracle-Sun x86 hardware includes these servers:

  • Sun Fire x2270 M2: 1U, one or two sockets, Xeon 5600 (Westmere) processor, 96 GB max. memory
  • Sun Fire x4170 M2: 1U, one or two sockets, Xeon 5600, 144 GB max. memory
  • Sun Fire x4270 M2: 2U, other features the same as in the x4170
  • Sun Fire x4470: 2U, two or four sockets, Xeon 7500 (Nehalem-EX), 512 GB max. memory
  • Sun Fire x4800: 5U, up to eight sockets, Xeon 7500, 1 TB max. memory
  • Sun Blade x6270 M2: one or two sockets, Xeon 5600, 144 GB max. memory

Oracle is also adding a storage blade, a 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) network blade and two 10 GbE switches based on the new Xeons.

While other server OEMs announced products when the Intel chips came out in March, Oracle is just now announcing the upgraded Oracle-Sun x86 hardware.

“There is a very vigorous quality process we put our products through,” said Dimitris Dovas, director of product management for the Oracle-Sun x86 product line. “We need time for full integration with the new technology and appropriate testing of the new technology.”

Dovas added that Oracle has been shipping the new hardware since May for customer testing.

Oracle wouldn’t comment on its future relationship with Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD). Sun was one of the first server vendors to start selling AMD-based systems, but there has been no talk of any new AMD-based x86 hardware since Oracle completed its acquisition of Sun in January. There was a report in April that Oracle would drop AMD servers, but company executives wouldn’t say whether that was true.

“We will continue to select the best chip components for our products going forward,” said Graham Lovell, senior director of product management for systems at Oracle. “We are still shipping AMD-based systems and have the opportunity to include AMD in future products.”

When asked whether there will be Oracle-Sun x86 hardware based on the new AMD chip that came out in March, Lovell said the company doesn’t “really discuss … plans for future components.”

Mark Fontecchio can be reached at

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