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Exadata Database Machine

Oracle’s Timeline, Copious Benchmarks And Internal Deployments Prove Exadata Is The Worlds First (Best?) OLTP Machine – Part I

I recently took a peek at this online, interactive history of Oracle Corporation. When I got to the year 2008, I was surprised to see no mention of the production release of Exadata–the HP Oracle Database Machine. The first release of Exadata occurred in September 2008.

Once I advanced to 2009, however, I found mention of Exadata but I also found a couple of errors:

Recent SPARC T4-4 TPC-H Benchmark Results. Proving Bandwidth! But What Storage?

On 30 November, 2011 Oracle published the second result in a recent series of TPC-H benchmarks. The prior result was a 1000GB scale result with a single SPARC T4-4 connected to 4 Sun Storage F5100 Flash Arrays configured as direct attached storage (DAS).  We can ascertain the DAS aspect by reading the disclosure report where we see there were 16 SAS host bus adaptors in the T4-4. As an aside, I’d like to point out that the F5100 is “headless” which means in order to provision Real Application Clusters storage one must “front” the device with a protocol head (e.g., COMSTAR) such as Oracle does when running TPC-C with the SPARC SuperCluster.

I’m No Longer An Oracle ACE But Even I Know This: SPARC SuperCluster Will “Redefine Information Technology.” Forget Best Of Breed (Intel, EMC, VMware, Etc).

Before Oracle recruited me in 2007, to be the Performance Architect in the Exadata development organization, I was an Oracle ACE. As soon as I got my Oracle employee badge I was surprised to find out that I was removed from the roles of the Oracle ACE program. As it turned out Oracle Employees could not hold Oracle ACE status. Shortly thereafter, the ACE program folks created the Oracle Employee ACE designation and I was put into that status. In March 2011 I resigned from my role in Exadata development to take on the challenge of Performance Architect in the Data Computing Division of EMC focusing on the Data Computing Appliance and Greenplum Database.

Oracle Expertise Within EMC
Knowing a bit about Oracle means that I’m involved in Oracle-related matters in EMC. That should not come as a surprise since there are more blocks of Oracle data stored on EMC storage devices than any other enterprise-class storage. So, while I no longer focus on Exadata I remain very involved in Oracle Database matters in EMC—in at least an oblique fashion. So you say, “Remind me what this has to do with SPARC SuperCluster.” Please, read on.

Off-On-Off-On-Off
So, my status in the Oracle ACE program has gone from non-ACE to ACE to non-ACE to ACE to non-ACE. It turns out that readers of this blog have noticed that fact. Not just two weeks ago I received email from a reader with the following quote:

Kevin, I read your blog for many years. I really like learning about system and storage topics and Oracle. You are not an Oracle ACE so I want you to remove the logo from you (sic) front page

I responded in agreement to the reader and am about to remove the Oracle ACE logo from the front page. She is right and I certainly don’t want to misrepresent myself.

Ace Director
Some of my fellow OakTable Network members started the paperwork to refer me into ACE Director status. They needed me to supply some information for the form but before I filled it out I read the ACE Director requirements. As ACE Director I would be required to speak at a certain number of conferences, or other public forums, covering material that helps Oracle customers be more successful with Oracle products. I gave that some thought. I certainly have no problems doing that—and indeed, I have done that and continue to do that. But, Oracle has acquired so many companies that no matter where I decided to go after leaving Oracle I couldn’t avoid working for a company that Oracle views as competition. To put it another way, Oracle views everyone in the enterprise technology sector as competition and everyone in return views Oracle as co-opetition or competition.

In my assessment, Oracle’s acquisitions have moved the company into a co-opetitive posture where companies like EMC are concerned. EMC and Oracle share customers. Conversely, EMC shares customers with all of Oracle’s software competitors as well. That’s the nature of industry consolidation. What does this have to do with the ACE program? Well, my current role in EMC will not be lending itself to many public speaking opportunities—at least not in the foreseeable future. For that, and a couple other reasons, I decided not to move forward with the ACE Director nomination put in motion by my fellow OakTable cadre. And, no, I haven’t forgot that this post is about SPARC SuperCluster goodness.

Co-opetition
Oracle dominates the database market today. That is a fact. Oracle got to that position because choosing Oracle meant no risk of hardware lock-in. Remember “Open Systems?” Oracle was ported and optimized for a mind-boggling number of hardware/operating system platforms. I was a part of that for 10 years in my role within Sequent Computer System’s database engineering group.

This is all fresh in mind because I had dinner with one of the Vice Presidents in Oracle Server Technology just three nights ago. We’ve been friend for many years–about 15 or so if I recall. When we get together we enjoy discussing what’s going on in the IT industry today while wincing over the fact that the industry in general seems to enjoy “re-discovery” of how to solve problems that we already solved at least once over the period of our relationship. That’s just called getting old in a fast-paced industry.

So, while I’m no longer in the Oracle ACE program I can still enjoy putting aside my day job as co-opetitor-at-large (my role at EMC) and enjoy the company of friends—especially with those of us who, in one way or another, helped Oracle become the dominant force in open systems database technology.

Your Best Interest In Mind: SPARC?
With the topics from my dinner three nights ago in mind, and my clean-slate feeling regarding my status in the Oracle ACE program, I sit here scratching my head and pondering current IT industry events. Consider the meltdown of Hewlett-Packard (I could have wiped out 50% of HP’s market cap for less than 25 million dollars and I speak a good bit of Deutsch to boot), Larry-versus-Larry, Oracle’s confusion over the fact that Exadata is in fact commodity x86 servers) and how, on September 26 2011, we get the privilege of hearing how a has-been processor architecture (SPARC) in the latest SuperCluster offering is going to “redefine the IT industry.”

Redefine the IT industry? Really? Sounds more like open systems lock-in to me.

I personally think cloud computing is more likely to redefine the IT industry than some SPARC-flavored goodies. That point of view, as it turns out, is just another case where a non-Oracle ACE co-opetitor like me disagrees with Oracle executives. Indeed, could the pro-cloud viewpoint I share with EMC and VMware be any different from that of Oracle corporation’s leadership? Does anyone remember the following quote regarding Oracle Corporation’s view of the cloud?

What is it? It’s complete gibberish. It’s insane. When is this idiocy going to stop?

We’ll make cloud computing announcements. I’m not going to fight this thing. But I don’t understand what we would do differently in the light of cloud.

Don’t understand what to do in light of cloud computing? Is that a mystery? No, it’s called DBaaS and vFabric Data Director is most certainly not just one of those me-too “cloud computing announcements” alluded to in the quote above.

Life Is A Series Of Choices
You (IT shops) can choose to pursue cloud computing. You can choose x86 or SPARC stuff. You can choose to fulfill your x86 server sourcing requirements from a vendor committed to x86 or not.  You can fulfill your block and file storage requirements with products from a best of breed neutral storage vendor or not.  And, finally, you can choose to read this blog whether or not I hold Oracle ACE program status. I’d prefer you choose the former rather than the latter.

By the way, Oracle announced the SuperCluster about 9 months ago:  http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/press/192208

Summary
I lost my Oracle ACE designation because I became an Oracle employee, SPARC Supercluster isn’t going to redefine anything and I still remember the real definition of “Open Systems.” I also know, all to well, what the term co-opetition means.

Filed under: Exadata, Exadata Database Machine, oracle, Oracle Versus Intel, SPARC Supercluster, vFabric Data Director Tagged: OpenWorld 2011

Application Developers Asking You For Urgent Response To A Database Provisioning Request? Tell Them: “Go Do It Yourself!”

…then calmly close the door and get back to work! They’ll be exceedingly happy!

The rate at which new applications pour forth from corporate IT is astounding. Nimble businesses, new and old, react to bright ideas quickly and doing so often requires a new application.  Sure, the backbone ERP system is critical to the business and without it there would be no need for any other application in the enterprise. This I know. However…

When an application developer is done white-boarding a high-level design to respond to a bright idea in the enterprise it’s off to the DBA Team to get the train rolling for a database to back-end the new application. I’d like to tell the DBA Team what to tell the application developer. Are you ready? The response should be:

Go do it yourself! Leave me alone. I’m busy with the ERP system

You see, the DBA Team can say that and still be a good corporate citizen because this hypothetical DBA Team works in a 21st century IT shop where Database As A Service is not just something they read about in the same blog I’ve been following for several years, namely Steve Bobrowski’s blog Database As A Service.

Steve’s blog contains a list of some of the pioneers in this technology space. I’m hoping that my trackback to his blog will entice him to include a joint VMware/EMC product on the list. I’d like to introduce readers of this blog to a very exciting technology that I think goes a long way towards realizing the best of what cloud database infrastructure can offer:

VMware vFabric(tm) Data Director

I encourage readers to view this demo of vFabric Data Director and  read the datasheet because this technology is not just chest-thumping IdeaWare™.  I am convinced this is the technology that will allow those in the DBA community to tell their application developers to “go do it yourself” and make their company benefit from IT even more by doing so.

What Can This Post Possibly Have To Do With Oracle Exadata?
Folks who read this blog know I can’t resist injecting trivial pursuit.

The architect and lead developer of vFabric Data Director technology is one of the three concept inventors of Oracle Exadata or, as it was soon to be called within Oracle, Storage Appliance for Grid Environments (SAGE). One of the others of that “team of three” was a crazy-bright engineer with whom I spent time scrutinizing the affect of NUMA on spinlocks (latches) in Oracle Database in the Oracle8i time frame.

It is a small world and, don’t forget, if a gifted application developer approaches your desk for a timely, urgent request for database provisioning just tell him/her to go do it yourself! They’ll be glad you did!

Filed under: Business Critical Systems, Cloud Infrastructure, Database As A Service, Exadata, Exadata Database Machine, oracle, Postgres, vFabric Data Director Tagged: DBaaS

Exadata Database Machine X2-2 or X2-8? Sure! Why Not? Part II.

In my recent post entitled Exadata Database Machine X2-2 or X2-8? Sure! Why Not? Part I, I started to address the many questions folks are sending my way about what factors to consider when choosing between Exadata Database Machine X2-8 versus Exadata Database Machine X2-2. This post continues that thread.

As my friend Greg Rahn points out in his recent post about Exadata, the latest Exadata Storage Server is based on Intel Xeon 5600 (Westmere EP) processors. The Exadata Storage Server is the same whether the database grid is X2-2 or X2-8. The X2-2 database hosts are also based on Intel Xeon 5600. On the other hand, the X2-8 database hosts are based on Intel Xeon 7500 (Nehalem EX). This is a relevant distinction when thinking about database encryption.

Oracle Exadata Database Machine Offerings: X2-2 and X2-8

For those who followed or attended Oracle OpenWorld last week you may have seen the introduction of the new hardware for the Oracle Exadata Database Machine. Here’s a high level summary of what was introduced: Updated Exadata Storage Server nodes (based on the Sun Fire X4270 M2) Updated 2 socket 12 core database nodes for the X2-2 (based on the Sun Fire X4170 M2) New offering of 8 socket 64 core database nodes using the Intel 7500 Series (Nehalem-EX) processors for the X2-8 (based on the Sun Fire X4800) The major updates in the X2-2 compared to V2 database nodes are: CPUs updated from quad-core Intel 5500 Series (Nehalem-EP) processors to six-core Intel 5600 Series (Westmere-EP) Network updated from 1 GbE to 10 GbE RAM updated from 72 GB to 96 GB The updates to the Exadata Storage Servers (which are identical for both the X2-2 and X2-8 configurations) are: CPUs updated to the six-core Intel 5600 Series (Westmere-EP) processors 600 GB 15k RPM SAS offering now known as HP (High Performance) 2 TB  7.2k RPM SAS offering now known as HC (High Capacity) [previously the 2 TB drives were 7.2k RPM SATA] One of the big advantages of the CPU updates to the Intel [...]