By Steve Tunstall-Oracle on Feb 11, 2013
Ok, so this is pretty cool. If you didn't know, Oracle has this great program called Iaas, which is Infrastructure As A Service. You can go check it out here: http://www.oracle.com/us/products/engineered-systems/iaas/overview/index.html
What this means it that someone who really wants an Oracle engineered system, such as an Exadata, but can't come up with the up-front cost, can do Iaas and put it in their datacenter for a low monthly fee. This can be really cool. Some people can now change their entire budget from a Cap-ex to an Op-ex, save a bunch of up-front costs, and still get the hardware they need and want.
As of this week, the ZFSBA is now included in the Iaas offering. So one can get the ZFS Backup Appliance and use it to backup their engineered system (Exadata, Exalogic, or SuperCluster) over infiniband. They can also use it to then make snaps and clones of that data for their testing and development, as well as use it for general-purpose storage over 10Gig, 1Gig or FC. Pretty sweet way to get the ZFS Storage system in your site without the up-front costs. You can get the ZFSBA in a Iaas all by itself if you want, without the engineered system at all, just to get the ZFS storage.
Now, some of you may be asking, "What the heck is the ZFSBA and how is it different than the ZFSSA?"
I haven't talked about the ZFSBA before. The ZFS Backup appliance. I probably should have. You can get more info on it here: http://www.oracle.com/us/products/servers-storage/storage/nas/zfs-backup-appliance/overview/index.html
Here is the low-down. It's a 7420 cluster with drive trays, all pre-cabled and in a rack, ready-to-go. The 7420 has IB cards in place and the whole system is a single line-item to make it easy for the sales team to have a single line-item part number to use as an easy way to add a ZFSSA to an engineered system deal for backing up the engineered system. There are two versions, one with high-capacity drives and the other with high-performance drives. Either one you get can add additional trays of either type later. Unlike the other engineered systems, the ZFSBA does allow one to use the extra space in the rack, which is nice.
So, if you want a 7420 cluster and a rack, is there a downside to always using the ZFSBA to order a 7420? Not many. Same price, easier to order with less part numbers. You can still customize it and add more stuff. There is one downside, and that's the fact that the ZFSBA does use the 32-core version of the 7420, not the 40-core version. The backup of an Exadata does not require more cores, so they went with the smaller of the two. If you need more power and more DRAM for faster workloads, however, you may want to build a 7420 ZFSSA the normal way.
If this doesn't make sense, please add a comment below or just email me.