Timothy Prickett Morgan reported this week at The Register that Oracle has decided to pull AMD’s current Opteron 6100 and soon-to-be-released 4100 from future Sun Fire servers, and all existing products that use AMD processors of any type will be taken out back and shot in the head. This would mean, for example, that Oracle today couldn’t (or wouldn’t) build Ranger for TACC. This plus the recent Lustre news certainly adds fuel to this community’s speculation that Oracle’s commitment to HPC would be significantly less than Sun’s was. To be fair Sun was very on again/off again with both HPC and vis, but before the acquisition they were very much “on again,” and it seemed to be for good this time.
From the article
Thus ends an Opteron era that began with an impressive bang back in 2003 when IBM and then Sun enthusiastically embraced the Opteron because — at the time — Intel’s 32-bit, frontside-bussed Xeons were just plain awful.
…Oracle has not been precise about exactly what it would do to streamline its x64 server lineup, but circumstantial evidence indicates that Oracle isn’t exactly an enthusiastic x64 supporter. Sun was the most gung-ho of the Opteron server makers, but Oracle was quiet as a dead mouse when the twelve-core “Magny-Cours” Opteron 6100s and their related chipsets were announced by Advanced Micro Devices at the end of March. And it was equally quiet when Intel announced its six-core “Westmere-EP” Xeon 5600 chips two weeks earlier.
Morgan has an anonymous source for the article, and spends a good bit of time at the end of the piece outlining just how much Oracle is avoiding addressing this issue head on. May be a rumor, but since Oracle is (stupidly, in my opinion) not telling its customers or anyone else what it is doing with its server lines, rumors count.
You can’t blame Oracle for wanting to simplify the Sun server lineup and to forge a tight partnership with Intel. The chip maker has come a long way in seven years with its Xeon lineup, and Oracle wants to make money more than it wants to make boxes with the hope of maybe making money.
But Oracle has a lot to learn about being clear to customers and channel partners about what its roadmaps for both x64 and Sparc servers are, which should be a source of comfort, not concern. It’s doing a worse job than Sun in this regard, and that is not a good thing.