At #1 on TOP500, Where Does Sparc Go from Here?

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The surprise appearance of the Japanese K supercomputer at the #1 spot on the TOP500 this week may have you wondering where the Sparc architecture is going. While the machine was built by Fujitsu, Oracle has posted a Sparc Roadmap that goes all the way to 2015.

In related news, Oracle has been struggling with the Sun hardware sales, with server business down 6 percent this quarter.

Here’s the thing: Oracle doesn’t care that much about total revenue. It certainly doesn’t care about server shipment numbers, which have dropped steeply over the past year. That is especially the case when those shipments and revenue come from low-margin commodity server hardware. What it cares about most of all is profit margins, and with the high-priced Exadata and Exalogic, profit margins they have.

“We are selling fewer units at higher prices and higher margins with higher attach rates,” Co-President Mark Hurd said. “These are the signs of a solid hardware business.”

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