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September 2010

Oracle Closed World : Lots of hacking and undocumented stuff! , 30 minutes and counting !

Tanel Poder, world expert on Oracle performance tuning and internals will be speaking live from Oracle Closed World on "Lots of hacking and undocumented stuff!"

Find out how to do things like trace a sql statement only across all sessions in the database.

Arup Nanda on RAC - live from Oracle Closed World

Oracle Closed World has kicked off and Arup Nanda,, is presenting on RAC

Full house but we can sqeeze in some more. Come early while there is still free beer and Oracle Closed World T-shirts.
Arup Nanda is presenting on how cache fusion works, difference between row locks and RAC block locks, and answering questions like can I buffer my whole database in memory.
Arup Nanda has been an Oracle DBA since 1993, which has exposed him to all facets of database administration&emdash;from modeling to disaster recovery. He currently leads the global DBA team at Starwood Hotels, the parent of chains such as Sheraton and Westin, in White Plains, NY.

Oracle Closed World live, now!

Click here for the lastest info: Oracle Closed World 2010 !

Oracle OpenWorld 2010 Day 1 Highlights

  Well Oracle OpenWorld 2010 has finally arrived. The first thing I’ve noticed is just how many more people appear to be around at the conference this year compared to last. Better economic times and the addition of the JavaOne component have certainly made a difference. Here’s a piece of advice. Don’t go out drinking lots [...]

Frequency Histograms 2

I find it convenient occasionally to “translate” a frequency histogram into a report of the underlying data (sometimes to see how closely the histogram matches the real data). To demonstrate the type of query I use I’ve created a data set with a small number of distinct values and generated a frequency histogram on the data set. This is what the data and histogram look like:

SQL> desc t1
 Name                    Null?    Type
 ----------------------- -------- ----------
 N1                      NOT NULL NUMBER

SQL> select n1, count(*) from t1 group by n1 order by n1;

        N1   COUNT(*)
---------- ----------
        10          4
        20          3
        30          6
        40         38
        50          4
        60         13
        70          6
        80         41
        90          2
       100          3

SQL> select
  2     endpoint_number, endpoint_value
  3  from
  4     user_tab_histograms
  5  where
  6     table_name  = 'T1'
  7  and        column_name = 'N1'
  8  order
  9     by endpoint_number
 10  ;

--------------- --------------
              4             10
              7             20
             13             30
             51             40
             55             50
             68             60
             74             70
            115             80
            117             90
            120            100

If you look at the histogram data you’ll see that the “endpoint_value” column holds a list of the values that appear in column n1, and the “endpoint_number” is the ‘cumulative frequency’ for the appearances of the endpoint_value – the number 10 appears 4 times, the number 20 appears 7 – 4 = 3 time, the value 30 appears 13 – 7 = 6 times, and so on.

Oracle Exadata Database Machine v2 vs x2-2 vs x2-8 Deathmatch

This post has bee updated live from the Oracle OpenWorld as I’m learning what’s new. Last update done on 28-Sep-2010.

Oracle Exadata v2 has been transformed into x2-2 and x2-8. x2-2 is just slightly updated while x2-8 is a much more high-end platform. Please note that Exadata x2-2 is not just an old Exadata v2 — it’s a fully refreshed model. This is a huge confusion here at the OOW and even at the Oracle web site.

The new Exadata pricing list is released and Exadata x2-2 costs exactly the same as old Exadata v2. Exadata x2-8 Full Rack (that’s the only x2-8 configuration — see below why) is priced 50% higher then Full Rack x2-2. This is hardware price only to clarify the confusion (updated 18-Oct-2010).

Exadata Storage Server Software pricing is the same and licensing costs per storage server and per full rack is the same as for Exadata v2 because number of disks didn’t change. Note that storage cells got upgraded but priced the same when it comes to Exadata Server software and hardware. Nice touch but see implications on databases licensing below.

This comparison is for Full-Rack models Exadata x2-2 and x2-8 and existing v2 model.

Finally, data-sheets are available for both x2-2 (Thx Dan Norris for the pointers):

and x2-8:

It means that live update of this post is probably over (27-Sep-2010).

v2 Full Rack x2-2 Full Rack x2-8 Full Rack
Database servers 8 x Sun Fire x4170 1U 8 x Sun Fire x4170 M2 1U 2 x Sun Fire x4800 5U
Database CPUs Xeon E5540 quad core 2.53GHz Xeon X5670 six cores 2.93GHz Xeon X7560 eight cores 2.26GHz
database cores 64 96 128
database RAM 576GB 768GB 2TB
Storage cells 14 x SunFire X4275 14 x SunFire X4270 M2 14 x SunFire X4270 M2
storage cell CPUs Xeon E5540 quad core 2.53GHz Xeon L5640 six cores 2.26GHz Xeon L5640 six cores 2.26GHz
storage cells CPU cores 112 168 168
IO performance & capacity 15K RPM 600GB SAS or 2TB SATA 7.2K RPM disks 15K RPM 600GB SAS (HP model – high performance) or 2TB SAS 7.2K RPM disks (HC model – high capacity)
Note that 2TB SAS are the same old 2 TB drives with new SAS electronics. (Thanks Kevin Closson for ref)
15K RPM 600GB SAS (HP model – high performance) or 2TB SAS 7.2K RPM disks (HC model – high capacity)
Note that 2TB SAS are the same old 2 TB drives with new SAS electronics. (Thanks Kevin Closson for ref)
Flash Cache 5.3TB 5.3TB 5.3TB
Database Servers networking 4 x 1GbE x 8 servers = 32 x 1GbE 4 x 1GbE x 8 servers + 2 x 10GbE x 8 servers = 32 x 1Gb + 16 x 10GbEE 8 x 1GbE x 2 servers + 8 x 10GbE x 2 servers = 16 x 1Gb + 16 x 10GbEE
InfiniBand Switches QDR 40Gbit/s wire QDR 40Gbit/s wire QDR 40Gbit/s wire
InfiniBand ports on database servers (total) 2 ports x 8 servers = 16 ports 2 ports x 8 servers = 16 ports 8 ports x 2 servers = 16 ports
Database Servers OS Oracle Linux only Oracle Linux (possible Solaris later, still unclear) Oracle Linux or Solaris x86

x2-8 has fewer but way bigger database servers. That means that x2-8 will scale better with the less RAC overhead for the databases. The bad news is that if one database server fails or down for maintenance, 50% of capacity is gone. What does that mean? It means that Exadata x2-8 is designed more for multi-rack deployments so that you can go beyond “simple” 2 node RAC. Some folks argue that two node RAC is less reliable for evictions and etc but you probably don’t know that Exadata has special IO fencing mechanism that makes it much more reliable.

Because there is 4 times more RAM in Exadata x2-8, more and more operations can be done fully in memory without even going to storage cells. This is why boost in number of cores / CPU performance is important — since InfniBand bandwidth stays the same, you need some other way to access more data so having more data on buffer cache will keep more CPU cores busy.

With Exadata x2-2, processing capacity on database servers increased and RAM increase is insignificant. So how does it impact “well-balanced” Exadata v2? Well, if more and more operations are offloaded to storage cells then database servers could have more “useful” data pumped in over InfniBand and actually spend CPU cycles processing the data rather then filtering it. With Exadata v2, depending on the compression level, CPU was often a bottleneck on data loads so having some more CPU capacity on database tiers won’t harm.

Old configuration v2 will not be available so be ready to spend more on Oracle database licenses unless you are licensed under ULA or something.

Both Exadata x2-8 and x2-2 will run updated Oracle Linux 5.5 with Oracle Enterprise Kernel. x2-8 can also run Solaris x86 on database servers as expected. This confirms my assumption that if Oracle adds Solaris x86 into Exadata, it will prove that Oracle is fully committed to Solaris Operating System. A rather pleasant news to me! However, Solaris 11 Express is not available right now and probably will be available towards the end of this calendar year.

If you look at x2-2 and x2-8 side by side physically, you will see that four 1U databases servers of x2-2 basically replaced by one 5U database server in x2-8 in terms of space capacity. There are also more internal disks in those bigger servers and more power supplies so they are more redundant.

More processing power on storage servers in x2-8 and x2-2 (not dramatically more but definitely noticeable) will speed up smart scans accessing data compressed with high level. As more and more operations can be uploaded to the storage cells, boost in CPU capacity there is quite handy. Note that this doesn’t impact licensing in any way — Exadata Storage Server Software is using number of physical disk spindles as the licensing metric.

Regarding claims of the full database encryption — need to understand how it works and what are the improvements. Oracle Transparent Data Encryption was available on Exadata v2 but had many limitations when using with other Exadata features. I assume that Exadata x2-x addresses those but need to follow up on details so stay tuned. I believe that customers of Exadata v2 will be able to take advantage of all new Exadata software features – the platform architecture hasn’t changed.

Intel Xeon 7500 (Nehalem EX) Finds Its Way Into Exadata Database Machine. So Does Solaris!

Many folks have been wondering about when or if Oracle will integrate servers based on the Intel Xeon 7500 (Nehalem EX) family of processors. As of this morning, there are two freshly-announced packaging options that include: Exadata Database Machine X2-8 HP Full Rack Exadata Database Machine X2-8 HC Full Rack Both of these configuration options [...]

OOW 2010 – the highlights

I started my week with a blast by sky diving at Parachute Center – Sacramento, it was an awesome experience!

Then we went to Redwood Shores to check out the Oracle office

Hot stuff! Oracle Closed World Secret presentation webcast!

After hours of careful planning (as you’ll see from the images) I decided to webcast my tomorrow’s Oracle Closed World hacking session…

This session isn’t necessarily going to be useful, but it definitely should be fun !!!

You can register here:


Liveblogging: Oracle OpenWorld 2010 Sunday Keynote (Exalogic)

Liveblogging announcements from Sunday’s Oracle OpenWorld Keynote.

It’s 5:36 PM now – stay tuned…

@fuadar: Exadata smoothie and java juice in moscone south #oow10

5:44pm: Larry couldn’t get his boat under the Golden Bridge — next yer he needs a smaller boat or rebuild the bridge? :)

5:50pm: Oracle Partners Specialization awards… oh well, why is Pythian not on stage with our 4 Specializations? :(

5:51pm: Wow… Ann Livermore, EVP of HP, is on stage… about HP Oracle partnership… I don’t supposed she will talk about Mark Hurd. :)

@gvwoods 40% of Oracle on HP

5:58pm: I was all pumped for Larry and getting bored now… come on already!

6:02pm: Hm… while HP is focused on services, I think Oracle’s strategy is to leverage partners for that. HP is pitching completely different approach then Oracle… and HP is talking about software they have… HP (h/w company) talks about their software at Oracle’s event (HP’s s/w partner)? Weird… Completely misaligned messaging!

06:07pm: @alexgorbachev: NOT INTERESTED in HP cloud solutions… audience is not even applauding – I hear snoring around… Give us Exalogic already!

06:07pm: Very interesting slides about HP storage – X9000 IBRIX (iBrick?) Indeed, NAS rocks for manageability

06:22pm: OK… pumping up again… I won’t be able to do it more than three times in a day! (my first pumped up state was at my presentation)


06:24pm: Damn… they did it again :( I was just getting excited… I wonder if there is any time left to announce anything. Is Larry sleeping or late by any chance?

06:28pm: @paulvallee: RT @DarylOrts: #oow10. 41,000 attendees: 36,236 are currently asleep. Thanks #hp.

06:36pm: Don’t know if I can be excited again… Trying really hard now… I think I manged – pumped up!

06:41pm: @oracleopenworld: OK, sorry for the false start, but here we go now #oow10 – Larry intro video and keynote NOW

@alexgorbachev: @oracleopenworld false starts like that can cause loosing a race! #oow10

06:45pm: Larry is out…

Larry clarifies what cloud computing it according to Oracle. Calls an “old SaaS Technology” and Amazon EC2 — “Innovative”.

06:51pm: @RoelH: @paulvallee Exalogic is on the machine in Larry’s back. #oow10

So Oracle’s definition of cloud computing is pretty much what Amazon.
Heh… I think Larry just stole slides from my presentation on Thursday!

06:54pm: Finally, Exalogic Elastic Compute cloud:
* Virtualization
* InfiniBand 40Gbit – so as expected no InfiniBand upgrade
* High performance storage
* 30 severs in “the box” (he calls it a box!)
* 360 cores (12 cores per server – I’m sure that’s 2 x 6 cores CPUs – expect Exadata v3 database server to use the same)
* Super simple patching – yes we like it!
* Guest OS’s – Linux and Solaris x86 (yay – I knew that)
* Apps hosted – WebLogic, Coherence, JRockit
* Virtualization is Oracle VM

Exalogic – Speed, Utility, Availability, Scalable, Manageable, Secure

Exalogic delivers 1 million HTTP requests per second.

960GB Solid state disks
1.2 microsecond latency
10Gbe connecton to data-center
40TB SAS disk storage
4TB read cache
72GB write cache

Tech geekery: “Looks like WebLogic has now node affinity working via UCP (instead of JDBC drivers) connecting to Oracle RAC – it can keep same web connection on the same RAC node.”

Exalogic will consolidate all apps that Oracle delivers (I guess if they run on Linux of Solaris x86).

1 Exadata rack and 1 Exalogic rack can run the whole Facebook according to Larry. I have troubles believing this but that’s a nice bold comparison.

You know what… it’s enough – off to ACED dinner – need to be at Pier 40 by 8pm.