Oracle’s Sparc S7 processor codenamed Sonoma will not feature on-chip InfiniBand interfaces as expected.
The CPU, designed for scale-out systems and revealed in detail by The Register in August, was due to sport an integrated InfiniBand controller capable of shoveling 28GBit/s directly between the processor and other nodes and networked storage.
These builtin InfiniBand interfaces are present on the S7’s silicon die but are not exposed outside the chip package and thus cannot be used. And that’s because Oracle diverted engineering time away from completing Sonoma’s support for the networking standard.
Although the database giant favors InfiniBand due to its lower latency for clustered systems, customers buying S7-powered hardware are most likely using high-speed Ethernet for networking, we’re told. Therefore, verifying that Sonoma’s InfiniBand controller works with all the various InfiniBand adapters on the market was deemed a distraction.
“It’s not connected out of the chip at the moment,” Marshall Choy, Oracle’s vice-president of product management, told The Register, adding that certifying the S7’s integrated InfiniBand adapter was a “resource intensive” exercise.
“If you place a big order, we’ll reprioritize it for you,” he added.
Sparc S7-based machines can be fitted with InfiniBand and Ethernet adapters as necessary; it’s just that InfiniBand won’t be piped directly in and out of the CPU package.
Oracle will tomorrow tear the wraps off the Sparc S7, previously known as Project Sonoma, in a global webcast; OpenWorld Latin America conference attendees in São Paulo, Brazil, will today get a sneak peek ahead of the big reveal.
The S7 is an eight-core 4th-generation 64-bit Sparc processor running at 4.27GHz and fabricated using a 20nm process. It has a integrated PCIe controller, and can handle up to 1TB of DDR4 RAM when using 128GB DIMMs. It’s the 32-core Sparc M7’s cheaper sister and the
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