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Oracle introduces ‘Security in Silicon’ concept in its new SPARC M7 family of processors


Oracle recently launched in India its all new family of SPARC systems built on the 32-core, 256 thread SPARC M7 microprocessor. The new SPARC M7 processor-based systems, including the Oracle SuperCluster M7 engineered system and SPARC T7 and M7 servers, are designed to integrate with existing infrastructure and include fully integrated virtualization and management for cloud. All existing commercial and custom applications will run on SPARC M7 systems unchanged and with significant improvements in security, efficiency, and performance, claims Oracle. In addition, 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.

Elaborating on the key enhancements in systems design, Amit Malhotra, Head- Systems LoB, India at Oracle says that Silicon Secured Memory adds real-time checking of access to data in memory to help protect against malicious intrusion and flawed program code in production for better security and reliability. Silicon Secured Memory protection is utilised by Oracle Database 12c by default. Oracle is also making application programming interfaces available for advanced customisation.
“Software in Silicon functionality ensures that an application is able to access only its own memory region, which lets software programmers identify issues related to memory allocation. Designed to help prevent security bugs such as Heartbleed from putting systems at risk, it enables hardware monitoring of memory requests by software processes in real time. And it stops unauthorized access to memory whether that access is due to a programming error or a malicious attempt to exploit buffer overruns. It also helps accelerate code development and helps ensure software quality, reliability, and security,” says Malhotra. With Hardware-Assisted Encryption as a part of the Security in Silicon concept, it accelerates applications as encryption is built into all 32 cores.

SQL in Silicon adds co-processors to all 32 cores of the SPARC M7 that offload and accelerate important data functions, thus improving efficiency and performance of database applications.Critical functions accelerated by these new co-processors include memory de-compression, memory scan, range scan, filtering, and join assist. Offloading these functions to co-processors greatly increases the efficiency of each CPU core, lowers memory utilization, and enables better database query performance, explains Malhotra. Oracle Database 12c In-Memory option fully supports this new capability in the current release. In addition, Malhotra informs that this new functionality is slated to be available to advanced developers to build the next generation of big data analytics platforms.

The new SPARC M7 processor is the design center of the new line of SPARC M7 systems that scale from 32 to 512 cores, 256 to 4,096 threads and up to 8 TB of memory. Oracle says that this new system has set significant benchmarks across various categories of workload. Citing an example, Oracle shares that Infosys’ Finacle Core Banking Solution running on an Oracle SuperCluster M7 set a record for the number of banking transactions processed. The tests were conducted across a mix of delivery channel transactions that could originate from branches, ATMs, online and mobile channels. Finacle Core Banking version 11.1.2 was tested on Oracle SuperCluster M7, Oracle’s SPARC T7/M7 servers running Oracle Solaris 11.3 with Oracle Database 12c along with Oracle WebLogic 12c to determine its performance and scalability parameters. PCI DSS security compliance on Oracle Solaris 11.3 was carried out. Infosys says that the solution supported more than 2 billion bank accounts with near linear scalability.

With the launch, Indian companies have shown interest in adopting the new system, says Malhotra, especially those in banking and telecom.

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