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Oracle touts new switches, servers at Mobile World Congress 2015

Oracle highlighted several new systems and networking products, including the ES2-72 and ES2-64 switches, at the Mobile World Congress 2015 show in Barcelona, Spain.

Oracle had four new systems and networking technology products on display at the Mobile World Congress 2015 trade...

show in Barcelona, Spain this week. The company's biggest announcement at the event was the introduction of two new Ethernet switches for software-defined networking (SDN). The switches -- the ES2-72 and ES2-64 -- are designed to be able to be applied to any virtual machine anywhere, said S.K. Vinod, senior director of product management for Oracle's Netra systems and networking devices.

The ES2-72 has up to 18 ports offering 40 Gigabit Ethernet performance, with the potential to split each port four ways to create 72 ports with 10 GbE throughput. The ES2-64 has up to 40 ports running at 10GBaseT speeds and up to six ports of 40 GbE or 24 ports of 10 GbE. Both switches are designed to work with enterprise-level cloud software and to provide unified management across network fabrics. The end goal is to be able to connect any virtual machine to any other virtual machine, Vinod said.

Oracle SDN uses InfiniBand fabrics with an east-west network alignment, which refers to a newer, multilayer network architecture that allows workloads to be moved around a data center more easily. Vinod said that about 80% of the traffic going through the new switches is expected to be east-west. The ES2-72 and ES2-64 both also have Layer 2 and Layer 3 features for multipathing.

According to Vinod, the new switches will simplify networking infrastructure, since an organization using them requires fewer cables and fewer switches overall. The ES2-72 and ES2-64 also enable the overlay of the Virtual Extensible LAN (VXLAN) protocol onto an Oracle network. VXLAN is a network virtualization technology, standardized by the Internet Engineering Task Force, that's designed to provide more scalability and flexibility than traditional virtual LAN approaches do.

The ES2-72 and ES2-64 are also meant to help multi-tenancy in the cloud escape the "noisy neighbor" problem. According to Vinod, Oracle has 60,000 virtual networks layered on top of the InfiniBand fabric. Vinod said the new switches can be used to assign each network to a different tenant. All services are then bundled into one instance and services can be provided on a per-tenant basis.

Another product Oracle displayed at Mobile World Congress 2015 is the Netra Server X5-2. It is a two-socket, carrier-grade server that runs Linux, Solaris and virtual machines. As compared to the previous model in the Netra line, it has 2.5 times the processor cores, 1.5 times more memory and two times more storage capacity. The new system supports two Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 processors and up to 18 cores. It also has an extended product lifecycle, so it is designed to last longer than the Oracle Server X5-2.

What makes the Netra Server X5-2 a bit different is that it is built to function in environments that are normally difficult for servers. The system is certified for Level 3 environments under the Network Equipment-Building System specification, which means that it is designed to withstand shock, cold, heat and dust. Being ruggedized makes the system potentially useful in military applications or the central offices of telecommunications companies.

The final product showcased this week is the Netra Modular System, a hybrid blade server and rack-mounted module that Vinod described as combining "the best features of blade" and "the cost-effectiveness of rack." For the Netra Modular System, Oracle built the concept of the blade into the rack setup. It has plug-and-play management, which Oracle said lets a server be plugged directly into a rack, reducing the time it takes to scale up services.

The Netra Modular System initially can run on either the Netra Server X5-2 or the standard data center version of the X5-2; Oracle plans to add support for its SPARC server line in 2016. The modular machine can be powered by up to 30 compute nodes and six of Oracle's 10/40 GbE switches, while providing a centralized platform for up to 80 server racks.

Jessica Sirkin is associate site editor of SearchOracle. Email her at jsirkin@techtarget.com and follow us on Twitter: @SearchOracle.

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I'm surprised that Oracle has stayed in the hardware game as much as they have. Personally, I thought the Sun acquisition would not go well.
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