Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 17th Sep 2013 22:04 UTC, submitted by garyd
General Development

ZFS is the world's most advanced filesystem, in active development for over a decade. Recent development has continued in the open, and OpenZFS is the new formal name for this open community of developers, users, and companies improving, using, and building on ZFS. Founded by members of the Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, and illumos communities, including Matt Ahrens, one of the two original authors of ZFS, the OpenZFS community brings together over a hundred software developers from these platforms.

ZFS plays a major role in Solaris, of course, but beyond that, has it found other major homes? In fact, now that we're at it, how is Solaris doing anyway?

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Solaris is doing well
by Kebabbert on Thu 19th Sep 2013 10:51 UTC
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Sun had 30.000 customers. Oracle has 340.000 customers. Oracle is betting heavily on Solaris, for high end large >32 socket servers. Larry Ellison said that "Linux is for low end, Solaris for high end". Oracle owns the whole stack now: hardware (SPARC), OS (Solaris), middleware (Java), applications (database). So Oracle is adding things into the stack that boosts the Oracle database, for instance Solaris is 17% faster than other OSes running Oracle Database. The Database is the heart of every company, without databases you can not run a company. The most important piece at a company is the database. Oracle owns the database market (80% or so).

So, Oracle is now boosting Oracle Database throughout the whole stack. The results shows in latest TPC-C and TPC-H database benchmarks: Oracle is much much much faster than anyone else, including IBM POWER7, Intel Xeon, HP, etc. The fastest database servers in the world are from Oracle, here are several database benchmarks:

So, companies are not really interested in a certain technology, instead they are interested in solutions. If Oracle has a Database solution (running Solaris on SPARC) that is much much much faster than anyone else, the companies will buy it. Management dont care about tech talk. They want to see fast results. Oracle has 10x performance/price advantage over IBM POWER7, for instance. Just check the official benchmarks.

Also, Oracle is targeting large servers, serving many clients with extreme throughput. Which means Oracle is also fastest at Java server work loads, SAP, etc. All types of server work loads. Just read the link above.

Why said Larry Ellison that "Linux is for low end"? Why not use Linux for high end as well? Well, the largest Linux servers today, are 8-socket servers. There have never existed larger Linux servers. You can not find a 16 socket Linux server, for instance. No one has ever sold a 16 cpu Linux server. How can Linux kernel developers improve scalability on Linux servers, when the Linux hardware does not exist? How can they test their code? The largest Linux servers they can test their code on, is a common 8-socket x86 server from Dell, HP, IBM, etc.

Sure, there are SGI UV1000 servers with 10.000s of cores and loads of RAM, but it is a cluster consisting of several PCs on a fast switch. Also, the ScaleMP Linux server with 1000s of cores, is also a cluster. So, all Linux servers with 1000s of cores are clusters. They are all NUMA servers, and NUMA servers are clusters:
"...One can view NUMA as a tightly coupled form of cluster computing...."

NUMA servers are primarily used for HPC number crunching, and can not run databases in large configurations, the database performance would be extremely bad. So no Enterprise companies use NUMA servers, because they are primarily interested in databases. Only rendering farms use NUMA servers from SGI or ScaleMP to do number crunching.

Sure, you can run a distributed database over all nodes in a HPC cluster - but you can not run a monolithic database such as Oracle on a HPC cluster. So if you ever see a database benhcmark on large NUMA clusters it must be a distributed database, Uridium, Virtual Void. You would never see a Oracle database running on SGI UV1000 cluster, for instance.

If you look at a Solaris or IBM AIX server with 32 sockets, it is built as a SMP server. SMP servers are a "single, huge server", not a HPC cluster. The difference between a HPC cluster and SMP server, is the RAM latency. The HPC cluster has >10.000ns in worst case RAM latency, because data cells might be far away in another node - so you need to make sure your data are close in adjacent nodes, etc.

SMP servers have worst case latency of a few 100ns, so you program clusters totally different from a true SMP server. An SMP server is just an ordinary server, and you dont need to redesign your software, just program as normal. Just copy your normal binaries to the SMP server and run it. If you try to copy normal binaries to a HPC cluster, it will not work because you need to redesign software so data is close to adjacent nodes, etc - otherwise performance will be very bad.

You can not run normal software on a HPC cluster, it can only run a certain type of software with embarassingly parallel workloads. The big difference is RAM latency. Clusters have very bad worst case latency, an SMP server has good worst case latency.

The new Oracle M6 server next year, has 96 sockets, with 9.216 threads and 96TB RAM. It is not a true SMP server, it shares some NUMA features - but worst case latency is very very good. So you treat it simply like a true SMP server, no need to treat it as a HPC cluster. It is designed to run Oracle database in huge configurations, all from RAM. So SAP HANA memory database will not be a threat, Larry said.

(All 32 socket Unix servers share some NUMA features, but they have very good RAM latency, so you treat them all as a true SMP server).

So, for high end we will continue to find IBM and Oracle and HP with 32 socket servers. For low end with 1-8 socket servers there will be Linux and Windows. Until Linux handles larger than 8-socket servers, Linux will never venture into high end enterprise. So Linux scalability continues to be a myth.

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