Oracle Drives SPARC T-Series Processors to the Next Generation
August 23, 2011 – IDC Link
By: Jean Bozman; Lloyd Cohen
Oracle Corp. is ready to take its SPARC processors to the next generation, preparing the T4 series of
processors for introduction this fall. The formal introduction is likely to take place at the Oracle OpenWorld
conference in early October, IDC believes, with volume shipments in 2012.
The move to T4 was clearly defined on the company’s SPARC roadmap, which was shown at Oracle
OpenWorld in September 2010 — and it is the first of several steps planned to expand the role of the
SPARC processors used in the company’s T-Series servers. The same timeline showed that Fujitsu Ltd.
is continuing to extend its implementations for SPARC64 VII+ processor designs through 2015.
Oracle acquired the SPARC CMT (chip multithreading) technology when it acquired Sun Microsystems
Inc. in January 2010. Since then, Oracle has taken some time to refine the next implementation for the TSeries processors, moving from T3 to T4 designs — and then taping out the new processor
— and readying it to be manufactured by TSMC in Taiwan.
Key Features of the T-Series Roadmap
Oracle has been open about the basics of the SPARC roadmap for T-Series processors, as announced
and discussed at Oracle OpenWorld in September 2010. Although the exact details about the launches
and the technical timeline are not known, the overall plan has been described at Oracle OpenWorld as
• T3-3 was introduced in fall 2010, with 16 cores and 128 threads.
• The T3 series replaced the SPARC T2, which was introduced in 2007 with 8 cores and 64
• T3-3 servers were introduced in the T3-1B blade, T3-1 rack optimized server (2 RU) and
T3-2 rack optimized server (3RU) products in 2010.
• T4-based servers are expected to be announced in fall 2011, with server form factors from
1 to 4 sockets; volume shipments are expected in 2012. A major release of the Oracle
Solaris operating system, Solaris 11, is expected to ship at the same time, although beta
versions and Solaris Express versions have been available to developers and Oracle
partners since late 2010.
• Another T-Series server product refresh is expected to take place in 2013 — two years
following the initial T4 announcement this fall, and it will be coincident with another update
of Solaris 11.
• Oracle expects to work with Fujitsu to have updates to the Fujitsu-designed SPARC64 VII
+ processors for the M-Series servers with announcements in 2012 and 2014, as indicated
in the roadmaps shown at Oracle OpenWorld 2010, which have been published to the
Internet. Both the Oracle T processors and the Fujitsu SPARC64 processors are designed
to the same “V9 architecture” so that they run the same applications.