With Sparc M7 systems, Oracle introduces ‘security in silicon’ concept

Recently, Oracle has introduced a new addition in its SPARC processor-based systems, M7 systems in India. SPARC M7 is an open platform that developers can utilize to create new software that takes advantage of ‘Security in Silicon’ and ‘SQL in Silicon’ capabilities. On lines of these, Dataquest interacts with Amit Malhotra, Head, Systems & Hardware Business, Oracle India and the company’s strategy to further boost its business. Excerpts

Please give details about the SPARC M7 systems and what advantages does it offer?

The M7 systems are the newest generation of processors in the SPARC family. This is the fifth processor that we have come out with which clearly demonstrates the commitment and investments in R&D we continue to make into our business. At this pace, we are possibly the fastest in production for processors for any vendors in the market. This processor is a huge shift not only for us but for the industry itself.

The processor has many advantages. Talking about in-memory, when you are running workloads or data based queries a lot of sequential queries are pinged on to the processors. Typically, these queries are done at the data base layer. Now with this processor we have managed to do it with software and silicon, these queries are used into the processor itself, thereby reducing the workload on the database layer and there is a manifold increase in the queries (upto 6 times) and the performance for the database. So that’s the basic premise. Naturally what it means is that any application that is invoking, let’s say Java as a coding language gets a tremendous improvement in performance. So it’s not just limited to an Oracle application or database, it goes across both. Per say the processor in the past, all of them have been all 16 core processor or less. This is the first processor which is 32 core. Each core has about 8 threads, so basically in every processor you get 256 threads. So you can imagine from the density perspective, it is huge.

The third and most important and what is making this an absolutely unique launch is the security features. Typically there are security features at different layers whether given an external security envelope or in database or application or network, this is the first time we have introduced security at the processor level itself. What it means is that any rogue or malicious software which wants to access the memory of a CPU would not be able to do so, because the security level is at the processor level itself. So we have a crypto chip and it reads out any malicious that is trying to access the system. It means that, when you are not allowing it any access to memory there is no way any of these files can be executed or the software can do or spread around everywhere. So you’re taken the security layer down to the processor level, thereby making it an ultra-secured environment. And this is a huge differential, nobody else is able to offer this and we believe we are many years ahead of the other processor companies of the world.

How do you see the growth of hardware business in India?

There is a paradigm shift in going on in the market for hardware but I do not think anybody would dispute that their requirements for compute and storage is going to decline. It is just that how they have deployed is very different today. So we are very uniquely positioned there on two counts: one we have our own public cloud which most of the competitors don’t have and in public cloud we offer the same architecture that we offer to any customer who wants to buy on premise and to that extent consumption to our architecture would keep on increasing as customer adopt more cloud that is point number one. Secondly, if you look at the total compute market, our market share in total is fairly small and now as you move towards more public cloud and with the new technology and new processor, security features, etc, we believe that we are in a winning position to further gain the market share.

What are the growth areas for Oracle in India?

From India prospective, if you look at the overall India hardware portfolio there are 3 areas where we are focused on i.e the Engineered System which is the integration of hardware and software where we offer very unique value to the customer and increasingly you’ll see all the competitors looking at that if you look at what is happening in the market space. Netapp announced acquisition of Solid Fire. We have recently seen some announcements coming from EMC, Dell so on and so forth everybody is moving towards convergence and this has been what we have been calling to the market sometime anyway. So we see a huge potential and huge aggressive growth in Engineered System as a category we are already seeing that in our customers a lot of our customers are moving to Engineered System these are systems which are co-engineered with our software’s and allows you know 10X or higher gain for our customers. The other piece is another standalone servers where either the customers are looking at Hybrid or public cloud or On premise there with a new processor we believe the opportunity to increase our market share and the third piece is on storage again with the introduction of flash storage we believe we are addressing all the three growth categories in the market before the gain shares and obviously to ramp up the business.

How is the company strategizing to boost its business in years to come?

To expand a business, the foremost thing is to invest in people. Over the last six months, we have hired a lot of people and have pretty much doubled the workforce either it is pre-sales or business development or people working closely with the channel community, or the people who are going to be directly calling the customers.

The second factor which will boost our business is the availability of right products. With this launch, I believe we have the right portfolio now and by far the strongest portfolio in the market.

With the combination of these two and the facts that Indian markets are opening up with a lot of demand and investments have started to happen across various segments, the investments we have made in people and product we should be able to see a lot of gain very quickly in terms of our business.

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