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Exadata V3 – Oops – EXADATA X2-8

Oracle had the new version of the Exadata Machine on display at Oracle Open World this week. It’s called the Exadata X2-8. That’s a catchy name. It sounds very Iron Manish! In fact they had these fellows on display next to the demo machines.


The X2-8 uses two 4U Sun Fire x4800 servers which each have 8 x eight-core intel CPUs (X7560) and 1 Terabyte of memory along with 14 Exadata Storage Servers. Here’s a link to the spec sheet for the X2-8 and for the Oracle Sun X4800. Below are a couple of pictures. The first one shows one of the database servers (X4800) with one of the CPU modules out.

The storage cells have not changed much from the original V2. They still have 2 CPUs and 12 drives and 384G of flash cache. Although I’ve been told they have newer (faster) 6 core Intel CPUs. (I did get a look at an unpublished spec sheet on an Oracle employee’s iPhone and it said they were using the 5670 CPUs) Oh, and they will allow you to run Solaris on the database servers. Of course they will have to finish a new version of Solaris 11 before that can happen. It’s worth noting that X2-8 can be ordered but that they don’t have a firm delivery date yet.

So this configuration is definitely for the high end market and addresses a couple of issues. The increased memory will allow us to have a more robust consolidation platform. It will also allow bigger OLTP type systems to run better (i.e. the additional memory means we can support many more concurrent users and have much larger buffer caches). Note that Exadata’s offloading generally reduces the memory requirements, but nevertheless, very large systems, particularly ones with lot’s of fast OLTP type transactions and lot’s of users will be better satisfied by this type of configuration. Also note that there is no little brother version of the X2-8. It comes in a full rack only. Which makes sense because there are only two database machines. I don’t believe the price has been set yet, but the word on the street is that the hardware will be about 50% more than the full rack version with the small 2 CPU blades (now renamed X2-2 by the way).

I did a post a couple of weeks ago (Thoughts on Exadata V3) about what I thought we might get to see in the way of Exadata changes. We got most of the things I was expecting but not all of them. Among the things we got are bigger/beefier servers with more memory and available slots for HBAs to provide some additional connection capabilities (although I’m not sure if Oracle is going to want people to open the machines up and put additional controllers in). I did see mention in the x4800 spec sheet of an HBA so they may actually have one in there already (I need to check that out). They also announced that they will be offering a version of Solaris that can run on the database servers which I was expecting, although they are still using Intel chips. The thing I was expecting that didn’t happen was a change of mind set about flexibility of configuration. They seem pretty set on maintaining a fixed configuration that will be the same for every customer. That is probably not such a bad idea. Certainly it’s easier to support and faster to deploy. But you know how customers are, they want their hamburgers with extra mustard and no pickles. So we’ll see how that works out over time. But for now, it’s a fixed menu. To quote Henry Ford, “You can get it in any color you want as long as it’s black”.

So that’s all I can think of at this point. Please let me know if you have any questions and I’ll see what I can find out.

OpenWorld Day 1-3…

This years OpenWorld has been a little unusual for a couple of reasons. First, in previous years the OTN Lounge (now The Zone) and the Unconference have been in Moscone West, which meant it was really easy to bounce between those and the database sessions in Moscone. This year The Zone and the Unconference venue are near the Hilton, which make for a lot of walking and clashing sessions for anyone with a database focus. I guess the extra walking will do us all good. :)

Second, the wifi this year has been really bad. There are always glitches, and don’t get me started on the schedule builder, but this year the wifi has been unusable for extended periods of time. In fact, I’ve never managed to get on it in Moscone South yet. It makes life very difficult when you are trying to use an online schedule builder. :(

Enough of the moaning. Let’s focus on the good…

The best thing about being at OpenWorld is all the cool people you meet. Lots of new faces and lots of old friends. I’ve also really enjoyed The Zone this year. At first the location and layout felt a little odd, but I’m now used to it and it feels even more relaxing than previous years. I’ve been hanging around there a lot, chatting to people rather than trying to attend every conference session on my agenda. Most importantly I won the Google sponsored Lego competition today. I play with Lego a lot with my nephews, so I felt like I had an unfair advantage. :)

A Cloud over San Francisco for OpenWorld 2010

Oracle OpenWorld 2010 is just bursting with big cloud-related announcements this week.  As I prepare to present on the Amazon cloud at OOW2010 on Thursday (http://bit.ly/aSKdIQ), I thought I would highlight two of the biggest cloud-related announcements of the week.

Exalogic

We all know about Exadata, Oracle’s hardware-based storage-optimized RAC monster capable of over 1 million IOPS.  In his keynote, Larry Ellison announced Exalogic, an appliance that is meant to provide cloud-like private internal infrastructure.  Oriented towards  middleware, Exalogic’s marketing materials emphasize the elasticity of resources and promote middleware consolidation onto a small set of Exalogic nodes.

Oracle Open World presentation uploaded… Optimizing Oracle Databases on SPARC Enterprise M-Series Servers.

As promised, I have attached the slide deck we used for our presentation at Oracle Open World.  A big thanks to Allan for asking me to help… glad to do it!

ID#: S315915
Title: Optimizing Oracle Databases on Sun SPARC Enterprise M-Series Servers
Track: Sun SPARC Servers
Date: 20-SEP-10
Time: 12:30 – 13:30
Venue: Moscone South
Room: Rm 270
Slides : oow2010_db_on_mseries.pdf

There are a bunch of OTN white papers that were produced to show how to run the Oracle stack best on Sun servers.  I will try to post an index soon but feel free to peruse the OTN site, there is lots of new content.

Oracle Closed World presentation links

Thanks to everybody who attended my OCW hacking session!

Sorry to guys who attended via webinar – I’ll do the session again in a few weeks, with audio from end to end hopefully! And I will get someone to assist me with monitoring the transmission quality and attendee questions etc.

Note that this stuff is mostly for hacking and fun – don’t use the undocumented stuff in production!

The links are below:

Download scripts & Tools:

Rlwrap links:

Diagnostic events:

X$TRACE
I haven’t written any articles on X$TRACE yet, but you can find some stuff from one of my very old presentations:

Or just type:

ALTER TRACING ENABLE “10704:4:ALL”

Where 10704 is the KST event number, 4 is the level and ALL means all Oracle PIDs (Oracle PIDs, not OSPID’s).


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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):

http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/exadata/dbmachine-x2-2-datash...

and x2-8:

http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/exadata/dbmachine-x2-8-datash...

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 [...]

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:

http://tech.e2sn.com/secret

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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)

@paulvallee: KIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLL MEEEEEEEEEEEE #oow10

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 SalesForce.com 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.

2.8TB DRAM
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.

Wish List of Oracle OpenWorld 2010 Announcements: Exadata v3 x2-8, Linux, Solaris, Fusion Apps, Mark Hurd, Exalogic Elastic Cloud, Cloud Computing

It’s Sunday morning early in San Francisco and the biggest ever Oracle OpenWorld is about to start. It looks like it’s also going to be the busiest ever OpenWorld for me — my schedule looks crazy and I still need to do the slides for my Thursday sessions (one on ASM and one on cloud computing). Fortunately, my slides for today’s presentation are all ready to go.

OK. Don’t let me carry away — I started this post with the intention to write about what I expect Oracle to announce at this OpenWorld and it seems like the most important announcements happen at tonight’s keynote. I hasn’t been at the Oracle ACE Directors briefing so unlike them, all I can say is pure speculation-based and my wishes of what should be covered. Actually, unlike them, I actually CAN say at least something. :)

  1. Oracle Exadata Database Machine v3 (x2-8) — well, that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody by now. I fully expect upgrade of the hardware — new Intel CPUs (probably with more cores), more memory, possibly more flash (this technology moves really quick these days). Maybe 10GbE network can be introduced to address some of the customers demands but I don’t think it’s needed that much. InfiniBand might just stay as it is — I think there is enough throughput but Marc Fielding noted that moving InfiniBand to the next speed level shouldn’t be very expensive. Other then cosmetic upgrade, I believe that hardware architecture will largely stay the same — it works very well, it’s proven and very successful. Maybe something should be done to let customers integrate Exadata better into their data-centers — folks keep complaining of inflexibility (and I think Oracle should stay firm on this and don’t let customer screw themselves up but who knows).
    On the software side, I expect new Exadata Storage Software release announcement that will be able to offload more and more on the storage side. The concept of moving data intensive operation closed to the disks has proven to be very effective. I also expect to have more Exadata features for consolidation. If you didn’t notice, 11.2.0.2 database release few days ago has Exadata specific QoS (Quality of Service) feature. I think this is what’s going to make Exadata to be a killer consolidation platform for the databases — true private cloud for Oracle databases or a true grid as Oracle insists calling it’s private cloud idea. Speaking about software… hm — see Linux and Solaris below.
    And back to consolidation, there must be the new platform similar to Exadata that integrates Oracle hardware and software and that should fill the gap as a consolidation offering for anything else but databases — Fusion Middleware, Fusion Apps and whole lineup of Oracle software. Whether it’s going to have Exadata in its name — I don’t know. It’s going to be names Exalogic Elastic Cloud. It would make sense to support both Solaris and Linux virtualization technologies on that new platform.
    Oh, and I hope to see Oracle start offering vertical focused solutions based on Exadata. Like Retail Database Machine. Maybe it won’t come at the OpenWorld but I think it would be a good move by Oracle.
  2. Solaris and Linux — I’ve been preaching for a while that having acquired Solaris engineering team, it would be insane not to take over Linux distribution from RedHat and start providing truly Oracle Linux. I was expecting Oracle to do that for a while. Either that or change Oracle’s commitment from Linux to Solaris on x86 platform. If Oracle is serious about Solaris now then the best indication of that would be Solaris x86 powered Exadata. In other words, the future of Linux and Solaris at Oracle should be made clear during this OpenWorld.
  3. Fusion Apps — god, I really hope something will be out. After all those years talking about it, I can’t stand anymore hearing about the ghost product (or line of products). I think it’s also confirmed by Debra Lilley’s increased activity over the past year — she is buzzing unusually strong about it. ;-) Of course, Fusion Apps will be all about integration of zillion of Oracle products into one system (which is a very difficult task). Oh, and if Fusion Apps are announced then they will run best on Exadata, of course. Oracle Fusion Apps Machine?
  4. Mark Hurd — finally, I’d be very keen to see the first serious public appearance of Mark Hurd as Oracle’s co-president. I think he will set the tone for the future of Oracle’s hardware business. So far it’s been all about profitability which is probably the best thing Oracle could do with otherwise dead Sun hardware business.

That’s all. I’m sure there will be more. I didn’t mention SPARC and that’s not because I forgot.

This OpenWorld promises to be very interesting!