Mission Critical Computing Blog
Your source for the latest insights on HP Integrity, mission critical computing, and other relevant server and technology topics from the BCS team.

Old SPARC customers finding Cost, Flexibility, and Management improvement with new Integrity Servers

I have been watching deals begin to come in from the field and channel partners, and I must say that there are many enterprises out there looking to improve on their existing legacy Sun SPARC environment.  The are excited abou the new Integrity blades offering which have recently come out, which cover the breadth of computing needs from the low- to the high-end.  Take a look at how HP Integrity servers deliver the first mission-critical converged infrastructure and at the high end how  Blade architecture halves footprint of HP Superdome systems.

I went out and ran another total cost of ownership scenario that tool legacy SPARC servers and migrated them to Integrity Blades, using the Alinean BladeSystem migration tool.  I had the existing legacy Sun SPARC environment as the starting point. The tool has those systems all running SPARC III or SPARC IV servers, typical of the enterprise looking to do a tech refresh to support future growth. 

The setup was as follows:

2 x 144 core high end SPARC server, 4 x 32 cored midrange SPARC server, 12 x 4 core low-end SPARC server (total SPARC cores = 464)

The tool came back with the following target environment:

2 x HP Integrity BL890c i2 1.73GHz 24MB cache servers (total core = 64)

That is a pretty amazing result.  The number of cores would be reduced by 86%.  3-year Cumulative TCO Savings would be $20.2 million.  The ROI would be 2711.5%.  Check it out yourself; the results can be repeated.

Now, I have heard the argument from several others that those kinds of results could be seen if you moved from old SPARC to any new, modern platform.  Well, maybe, and maybe not.  What we are talking about here is moving to the world's first Mission Critical Convergec Infrastructure. That means that the savings is coming from more than just faster hardware and lower software license costs.  It comes from the creation of a pool of hardware, storage, networking and software resources all managed from one pane of glass.  Workloads are not just virtualized, but in actuallity managed within a pool of resources.  It is pretty exciting to me to see HP take the next step in IT infrastructure. 

Moving from old SPARC to Integrity servers - an excellent Total Cost of Ownership move

If you are running SPARC severs and are looking to improve total cost of ownership for your business critical UNIX environment - look no further than the new HP Integrity servers recently introduced.  In conjunction with this introduction last week, we have developed a new cost of ownership tool that has been posted on the TCO Challenge site.  This new TCO tool shows the cost advantages of moving to an HP Integrity blades infrastructure from a legacy SPARC-based rackmount environment.

I was doing some analysis the other day and came up with some interesting results.  I ran a report for what I consider to be a typical Sun SPARC legacy environment on the Blades TCO tool  - it consisted of two legacy 32-core SPARC servers running the database and eight  4-core application servers. 

The answer that came back was that you could run all the workloads with a single sixteen core HP Integrity BL870c i2 server on an HP BladeSystem.  And you get the mission criticaly capabilities of HP-UX 11i with it. 

Here are the results I got:

Core count reduction:  96 to 16 (that's 6 to 1)

Three Year Cumulative TCO Savings (total):  $4.47 million to $683,000

Return on Investment: 1747%

Payback Period;  3 months

If I were running my business critical operations older Sun SPARC servers, I would definitely take a look at moving to HP Integrity blades.  And there still would be slots available on the HP BladeSystem to put in Integrity or ProLiant blades. 

Is the SPARC going out?

I have been watching with interest over the past few months to get some sign as to what Oracle will do with their newly acquired hardware architecture, SPARC, along with the Solaris operating system.  In the process, I have noticed that several writers and bloggers have commented on Oracle's new licensing strategy for Solaris.  The new licensing strategy is such that now you can't just download a Solaris 10 license and use it for free for as long as you want.  You get to use it for free for 90 days only, then you need to pay for support.  Gone are the days when you could pay for operating system support on 25 servers, but get support on all 100 servers you have on site.  

For me, the writing is on the wall.  It already makes sense from a TCO perspective to migrate your older SPARC servers to standards-based servers running Intel-based processors.  Check out the Sun TCO Challenge and you'll see that you can reduce core counts by five to one or more by migrating to Integrity or ProLiant servers.  I think that many Solaris/SPARC users were staying with the architecture because the ongoing software operational costs was pretty low.  But I know that Oracle has vowed to make more profit out of the Sun acquisition, and this is definitely one of the ways to do it - through increased support costs to existing customers.  Now,  if you are running an older SPARC-based server environment, you now face unexpected operational costs.  That means less money for innovation in your IT environment.

Keep your eyes on what Oracle does next with Sun/Solaris.  If I was a customer running a SPARC-based server environment, I would think long and hard about the roadmap for this architecture.  It may be time for you to take a look at servers and operating systems with a brighter future. 

Labels: Integrity| Solaris| SPARC| Sun

The answer is…….42 percent

 It was back about a week ago that I received an issue of InformationWeek.  One of the first things I noticed was the piece on the Oracle-Sun deal titled “Exclusive Research: Customers Skeptical Of Oracle-Sun Benefits” by Charles Babcock.  What I found to be of interest is that it is the first article on Oracle-Sun that has research on what customers think about the combination of the software giant and UltraSPARC. 

The fact of the matter is that of the of 381 business technology polled, 42% of them who are customers of both Oracle and Sun think there will be no benefit.   That's a pretty high percentage of respondents, and shows a great deal of skepticism.  As the article says, Oracle is not looking for all Sun customers, just the biggest and most sophisticated. 

But what about the rest of the customers?  If I was in a UNIX shop running SPARC-based servers and Solaris I might have some concerns.  What if I had a number of general purpose applications running on SPARC hardware today, what then?  I know what I would do - move to a vendor that can show me a long-term server and operating system roadmap.  I would want to be in a position where I don't have to be concerned about the underlying server architecture architecture in my datacenter.  That's the reason I like both Proliant and Integrity servers.  I can lower my infrastructure costs by moving to them from SPARC - just check out the TCO Challenge at www.hp.com/go/tcochallenge - it's compelling. And if you still have alot of Solaris applications and expertise, just move over to Solaris on ProLiant. 

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