We want to install a couple of big servers for our customer to run Oracle on one and Java applications on another. Tired with clusters, replications, want to run everything on one big server.

We probably need 24-32 cores, 64-96GB of RAM. As Oracle & Java run on both Power, x86 and SPARC, CPU architecture doesn't matter. A budget is around 25-30k for one server (without a storage).

If someone has an experience with such machines, which one can you suggest and why?


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    And then this server will crash. – Max Alginin Nov 12 '09 at 3:08
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    Does that 25-30k have to include the Oracle licenses? – SpaceManSpiff Nov 12 '09 at 11:15
  • Oracle licenses will be bought separately. If the server crash, we have a temporary backup solutions which can run a projects a couple of days so no problems with it. – disserman Nov 12 '09 at 18:15

If you NEED a big box like that I can recommend from first-hand-experience HP's DL580 G5/DL585 G6 24-core servers and the HP DL785 G6 48-core server.

Please consider that buying any of these (or Dell/IBM/etc equivilant) machines RIGHT NOW is a very bad idea - the reason is that late this year or just into next year we will see new servers from all of these manufacturers based around Intel's 75xx series and AMD 'Magny-Cours' series processors. These chips will support 8/12/16/24 threads PER socket so a dual-socket server will be just as capable but be smaller and much cheaper to buy and run than the 4 and 8 socket servers I listed in my first paragraph. Also you will see >8 socket servers in Q2/3 '10 running these processors allowing for single servers with 256 threads and 2TB of memory.

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    Can you please answer one question about this machine: on HP website they ask to configure 2 groups of RAM, first for CPU1-4 and second for CPU5-8. I'm confused, is this one big machine or two in one box? How the OS see this server? Will I be able to address all 8 CPUs & all memory from the one operating system? – disserman Nov 12 '09 at 18:13
  • It's one machine and the OS will see all resources by default, the machine lets you add processors and memory as you go, oh and each processor gets it's own memory to increase performance. I'm happy to help you spec out a machine just tell me which model, how many of what speed processors you want and the total memory you want and I'll give you the base parts list you need ok. – Chopper3 Nov 12 '09 at 18:36
  • Today I've got a very good price for Supermicro 8045, so we probably will stay with it, I hope 24 cores will be enough. But thank you, I'll keep DL785 in mind. – disserman Nov 12 '09 at 21:29
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    Please take into consideration that the Supermicro 8045c is designed for older, slower 2007 "Tigerton" 7300-series Xeons - a modern dual-socket 55xx-series server will smash its performance in almost, if not all, workloads. – Chopper3 Nov 13 '09 at 9:25
  • +1 for Magny-Cours. – osij2is Nov 13 '09 at 19:02

I honestly think you will be better off splitting this across multiple machines in a cluster. You can pick up a lot of inexpensive commodity 8-way servers for reasonable prices, but the number of cores you are talking about in a single box is going to be much more expensive than you're thinking. The risk of having everything on a single box makes reliability of that box much more critical. This adds cost, in hot-swap components and redundancy.

Oracle licenses are (basically) per-core, anyway, so the number of servers won't affect the licensing costs much. But either way, 30k is not going to get you 32 cores worth of Oracle licenses. Assuming Standard edition, you'll blow the budget after the first CPU. You might find reasonable prices on resale licenses though.

Also, is this price point for the server alone, or storage as well? You haven't mentioned the size of the dataset, but if you really need that much RAM, I'm assuming Terabyte scale? Reliable storage which can service enough simultaneous I/O requests to keep those cores busy, is going to cost you.

Putting everything together in a single box is risky and expensive. In the long run you will get a safer, more scalable system if you buckle down and learn the necessary replication and clustering skills.

If your heart is set on it though, I would look at Sun. They have a lot of experience with multi-core multi-threaded servers, and have some very good optimized JVM's to run on them.

Just last year, I was also looking at multi-core servers to run Java apps. At that time, Sun's 32-core/256-thread T5440 looked like the best deal to me. But they were asking ~50k for 32GB RAM and 0.5TB local storage. Without Oracle.

  • we don't include software in this budget. 30k is only for the hardware. as I wrote, we don't need a storage, just bought 2TB SAS SAN, so can just plug a server via FC and run. – disserman Nov 12 '09 at 10:42
  • Glad to hear it. For hardware alone, your budget is probably going to be doable. For a large Java app that needs to handle a lot of simultaneous traffic, you should take a hard look at Sun. There are some great optimizations and features available in the Solaris version of the JVM. And if the Oracle merger goes through, there should be excellent support options available. – ryandenki Nov 13 '09 at 7:18

Why not?

If you're good with downtime to do recovery and have a plan in place for that recovery should something go down and you're client is aware of that then whats the problem? Or if you are replicating everything to a second server (mirroring in the case MS SQL but I don't know what the Oracle equilvant is) and your app is designed to fail to the DB server if the first one is offline and you're app servers are setup in a similiar way this should be viable rather then having to cluster it.

Why not look at the HP DL580 line? It can take 4 processors up to 6 cores each, there's your 24 processors and up to 256 gigs RAM, the base price off the website with 16 gigs of RAM and not storage is about $20k so that should leave enough for the FC interface and memory upgrade.

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