Oracle unveils next-gen SPARC platform

Oracle claims that it can deliver encryption and hashing two times faster than Intel's x86 platform.

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Oracle has unveiled its eighth-generation SPARC platform, its engineered systems and as a cloud service.

The platform is powered by the new SPARC M8 microprocessor, and Oracle claims that it can deliver encryption and hashing two times faster than Intel's x86 platform, as well as double the speed of its own SPARC M7 microprocessor.

Oracle said the design of the new SPARC M8 provides always-on security by default and built-in protection of in-memory data structures from hacks and programming errors. It's also engineered to run the Oracle database faster than any other microprocessor, Oracle said in its press release. Additional upgrades include performance improvements for running Java and in-memory analytics.

"Oracle has long been a pioneer in engineering software and hardware together to secure high-performance infrastructure for any workload of any size," said Edward Screven, chief corporate architect at Oracle. "SPARC was already the fastest, most secure processor in the world for running Oracle Database and Java. SPARC M8 extends that lead even further."

SPARC is the RISC-based processor that Oracle gained through its purchase of Sun Microsystems in 2009. The processor has typically been used to run Unix workloads and Oracle offers it in its servers and various engineered systems.

However, this latest release comes amid rumored layoffs within the SPARC hardware department and questions over whether Oracle plans to kill the SPARC and Solaris platforms. Oracle has not commented on the layoffs, but the company said in today's release that it plans to maintain binary compatibility with M8 and provide an upgrade path for customers. Oracle has also publicly committed to supporting Solaris until at least 2034.

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