The third day of HP Discover has officially wrapped and today's focus was clearly on unseating Oracle in the enterprise. As such, we saw a presentation on migrating from the Sun/Oracle SPARC architecture to HP's new ProLiant DL980 offering and a talk on managing Oracle Applications and middleware in the cloud. Lastly, we had a great opportunity to chat with Prith Banerjee, head of HP Labs, the department in HP that is responsible for coming up with future technologies.
Migrating from SPARC to HP
In this talk, Jan Mark Holzen talked about the decline of the SPARC environment and how customers have been migrating to other platforms including HP's DL980 server. He presented a statistic stating that 96% of all servers shipped world-wide are actually of the x86 architecture, leaving SPARC, Itanium, and POWER to compete for the other 4%. The presentation went on to explain some of the differences between Solaris and Linux and went through great lengths to show the similarities such as SystemTap being a replacement for DTrace and the fact that clustered filesystems can be installed natively with no additional cost. Despite the glowing review, the presenter made very clear that in order to get good performance on the DL980 system, users have to be running version 6.1 of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. One final interesting statistic was the fact that although Sun/Oracle's M9000 server is about 20% faster than a DL980, it comes at over five times the price.
HP Private Cloud for Oracle Applications/Middleware
Another interesting talk we attended was about running Oracle Applications within the HP CloudSystem Matrix environment. He covered some configuration items that need to be addressed to optimize performance (such as making sure settings like TCPSegmentationOffloading is set properly), and also explained how different blades in the c-class chassis can be configured to support specific roles. Aside from the technical offerings, Stan Kellett also made some very refreshing comments, the most memorable being that while cloud related software is making good progress, it's still not 100% functional. It was nice to hear a bit of honesty compared to the cloud hype at the conference where everyone is claiming it's the best thing since sliced bread.
HP Labs: Future Technology
The last big topic of the day was chatting with Prith Banerjee, the head of HP Labs. This department is tasked to think about future technologies that won't be ready for productization for five to ten years. The group consists of less than 1,000 employees spanning the globe and is broken up into eight separate teams. Amongst the groups, a third are dedicated to basic fundamental infrastructure advancements, a third are dedicated to advancing current products, and a third are tied to applied research. One of the most interesting pieces that was discussed revolved around the introduction of "memristors," a future replacement for hard drives and physical memory. This technology is exciting because not only will it offer increased speeds and lower power consumption, but it will also offer "instant-on" capabilities because the memory is non-volatile. When asked about when the technology can be expected to be seen in use, Banerjee predicted that it would be in a few years.
If you missed it, be sure to read our previous coverage of the HP Discover conference including the first day's and second day's roundups, the live blog of some product announcements and the live blog of the main keynote.