“Over the course of all the upgrades and server
switchovers we’ve done since 1998, we’ve only needed
about an hour of planned downtime for each upgrade.”
—Scott Myers, Senior Systems Administrator, IT Operations Group, Tucson Electric Power Company
“With the SPARC T4 chip, we’ve actually delivered a faster chip
in terms of raw gigahertz than we promised when we initially
announced the roadmap,” says Chris Armes, vice president of
engineering at Oracle. “And that’s the type of improvement we’ll
continue to deliver against the SPARC and Oracle Solaris roadmap
INTEGRATED PLATFORM FROM BOT TOM TO TOP
Advancements in core chip technologies deliver the best results if
the operating system, infrastructure, and applications running
on top of the chips can leverage those chip advances. To that end,
Oracle has invested heavily in integrating hardware and software; in
many respects, that integration starts with Oracle Solaris.
In November 2011, Oracle announced the Oracle Solaris 11 operating system, with its new-and-improved integration with the rest of
the Oracle technology stack.
“We optimized Oracle Solaris to run on SPARC, and we opti-
mized Oracle Applications and Oracle Database to run on Oracle
Solaris,” says Armes. “We’ve introduced a whole set of new tech-
nologies into Oracle Solaris 11 that the rest of the Oracle stack can
“Future Oracle Solaris updates in 2013, 2014, and 2015 will track
with SPARC innovation,” says Armes. “They’ll provide higher avail-
ability, increased memory, improved virtualization, enhanced system
management, greater I/O capacity, and improved scalability.”
That’s good news for companies such as Tucson Electric Power
Company ( TEP), in Tucson, Arizona, that are counting on the future
of SPARC and Oracle Solaris to run highly available business applica-
tions in virtual environments.
When you’re in the business of delivering a critical utility, downtime
isn’t an option. That’s why TEP decided long ago that SPARC–based
servers and Oracle Solaris should power its business.
TEP has been using SPARC-based systems since 1998, when the
organization first decided to deploy Oracle E-Business Suite. The
organization chose a SPARC-based solution to run Oracle E-Business
Suite because of Oracle’s strong support for SPARC and Solaris.
A subsidiary of UniSource Energy Corporation, TEP serves more
than 400,000 electric customers in southern Arizona. The organization has nearly 1,400 employees and focuses on providing power
generated from clean, sustainable sources.
Providing power to that many customers requires a range of
mission-critical systems that need to be always available, including
its customer care and billing system and Oracle E-Business Suite,
which the company uses for financials, project planning, accounts
payable, accounts receivable, and more. In addition, TEP relies on
Oracle’s PeopleSoft applications for its HR systems and has many
Oracle databases for custom applications.
One of the driving factors for TEP in designing its server architecture was the fact that the company has limited space in its
data center. So, instead of each application or system having its
own server, the organization used Oracle Solaris Zones to consolidate several existing SPARC-based servers onto Oracle’s SPARC
Enterprise M5000 servers. First introduced in Oracle Solaris 10,
Oracle Solaris Zones are built-in, lightweight virtual machines that
securely isolate workloads on the same system.
“We went from using more than 20 servers and a bunch of different operating systems to having everything running on Oracle
Oracle on Oracle
A company that stands behind the software or
hardware products it sells is one thing, but a
company that runs its mission-critical enterprise
resource planning (ERP) business on its own
applications shows real commitment. According
to Chris Armes, vice president of engineering at
Oracle, Oracle’s business is committed to
“We run our ERP business on a combination
of SPARC, Oracle Solaris, Oracle databases, and
Oracle Applications,” says Armes. “Oracle
very much believes in running Oracle on
Nothing serves as a better example of this belief
than what happened after Oracle closed its acquisi-
tion of Sun, when the organization needed to inte-
grate Sun’s IT systems and almost 30,000 former
Sun employees as quickly as possible into the
main Oracle IT systems. Oracle needed to rapidly
scale its data center to support the vastly increased
demands for its core business applications, as well
as integrate I T resources from the acquisition.