Monday Feb 16, 2015

7-Eleven's Digital Guest Experience

7-Eleven embarked on an innovation campaign to connect with customers through a digital guest experience - learn how the Digital Guest Experience is used in 8,500+ stores for 8+ million customers every day, 24x7, by deploying private cloud, PaaS and SaaS on Oracle Exalogic.

Related 7-Eleven blog posts - 

7-Eleven 10-minute application provisioning

7-Eleven mobile app powered by SOA Suite

Monday Feb 09, 2015

PeopleSoft on Exalogic

This blog post is brought to you by Oracle Product Manager Latha Krishnaswamy.

Peoplesoft is another popular ERP application that benefits from running the application tier on Exalogic engineered system. Here is a short list of various references to MOS Docs and whitepapers that users and administrators of Peoplesoft software will find invaluable in an Exalogic environment.

Thursday Jan 22, 2015

Exalogic Elastic Cloud 12c Software and X5-2 Hardware Launch

Today’s blog post is brought to you by Oracle Product Manager Kelly Goetsch.


We're excited to announce the release of the first of two fundamental innovations in Oracle Exalogic - our planned 12c Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software and our new X5-2 hardware, the latter of which is available immediately.

Beginning with software, we're seeing a massive shift from traditional pure virtualization to cloud. In our 12c release, Exalogic is aligning with Oracle's public cloud to offer the same IaaS and PaaS layers, with Java Cloud Service being offered as our first PaaS solution. By adopting the same IaaS and PaaS layers, we're able to offer our customers the exact same experience whether on or off premise. Performance continues to be a defining characteristic of Oracle Exalogic, with workloads having 5-10x greater performance and throughput compared to traditional systems.

To see how we got to this point, let's look back at the 1990s.That era was characterized by big monolithic apps running on large, non-virtualized servers. This is known as "Generation 0." In the 2000s, many workloads were virtualized. This is known as "Generation 1." While an enormous evolution over physical, virtualization didn't change the equation all that much - in fact it made it worse. Rather than having one large server, there are many smaller virtual machines. The maintenance problems only multiplied as it became easier to provision virtual machines.

In today's world, cloud is beginning to take over and Oracle is the leading vendor in the transition to cloud. Cloud is known as "Generation 2." Cloud offers virtualization as well but it offers a number of new features that make it distinct from Generation 1. Cloud offers simple provisioning, elasticity to support ever-changing workloads, automated backup/recovery/patching and more. Resources - from compute to network to storage to Java - are offered up as services, with the consumer of the services detached from the back-end work required to offer and maintain the services. As much as possible, end-consumers provision some software, with the hardware behind the software being provided, configured, updated, backed-up seamlessly. Cloud is often consumed off premise, but with the introduction of Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software 12c, customers will be able to consume the same IaaS and PaaS services in Oracle's public cloud, or on premise on Oracle Exalogic hardware.

Exalogic X5-2 is the next Generation of our hardware platform, built to support Generation 2 (although the 12c software will support existing hardware platforms). Ahead of defining specifications for the platform, we performed extensive research to look at how we can continue to have a balanced architecture to support the workloads our customers have. Thinking of Exalogic X5-2 in the context of a Generation 2 cloud model, high density of virtual machines on each individual server is a prerequisite, in addition to a shared network, storage system and most important, high I/O throughput (which is achieved through Exabus on Exalogic). In order to deliver on a balanced architecture, we've increased the density of cores per compute node up to 36, meaning customers can have up to 1,080 physical cores in a single rack of Oracle Exalogic X5-2. There are a number of other enhancements including a move to DDR4 to provide faster memory, an increase in SSD per compute node to 800 GB, and an 800 GB write cache in our storage appliance. Collectively, these changes make Exalogic X5-2 the best available hardware platform for Generation 2 computing.

To learn more, have a look at the Elastic Exalogic Elastic Cloud X5-2 launch video.

Friday Jan 16, 2015

July 2014 PSU Quarterly Exalogic Update – Patches, Lifecycle, Tools

This blog post provides an overview of the latest available Exalogic Elastic Cloud patch set update, lifecycle automation and lifecycle tools.

Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software – July 2014 Patch Set Update

All Exalogic Infrastructure Patches are cumulative within a major release - this means that users can directly apply the latest PSU without any intermediate PSU’s.

The section below provides a summary of the July 2014 PSU for all three Exalogic platforms. This includes:

  • PSU contents
  • Components affected
  • Minimum EECS version required to apply the PSU
  • Final EECS version after the PSU is applied

Exalogic OVS

Hardware Platform: X3-2/X2-2 Machines

Minimum Release required to apply the July PSU: 2.0.6.0.0, 2.0.6.0.1

Note: Older versions (2.0.4.x.x) must be upgraded to 2.0.6.0.0 before any patches can be applied.

Post PSU EECS Version: 2.0.6.0.2

Components Affected:

  • Compute Nodes
  • IB switches
  • ZFSSA Appliance
  • Exalogic Control Stack
  • Guest vServers

Contents:

  • Exalogic Control update version 12.1.4 b2502
  • Infiniband Switches
    • Sun Network QDR InfiniBand Gateway Switch firmware version 2.1.4-1
    • Sun Datacenter InfiniBand Switch 36 firmware version 2.1.4-1
  • ZFS Storage Appliance (ZFS_Storage_7320)
    • Storage control head software (2013.1.1.11)
  • Compute node base image version 2.0.6.0.2
    • UEK kernel update ( 2.6.39-300.32.6.el5uek )
    • OVS and OVMM 3.2.8 upgrade
    • OFED Update (OFED-IOV-1.5.5-1.0.0154)
    • Updated disk controller firmware (12.12.0-0178)
    • Updated Infiniband firmware (2.11.2010)
    • Automation of compute node configuration (dom0 RAM, swiotlb, BIOS, USB)
  • Exalogic Control vServer template update
  • Guest vServer update
    • Updated RPMs with security fixes on top of Oracle Linux 5.8

Hardware Platform: X4-2 Machines

Minimum Release required to apply the July PSU: 2.0.6.1.0, 2.0.6.1.1

Note: Older versions (2.0.4.x.x) must be upgraded to 2.0.6.0.0 before any patches can be applied.

Post PSU EECS Version: 2.0.6.1.2

Components Affected:

  • Compute Nodes
  • IB switches
  • ZFSSA Appliance
  • Exalogic Control Stack
  • Guest vServers

Contents:

  • Exalogic Control update version 12.1.4 b2502
  • Infiniband Switches
    • Sun Network QDR InfiniBand Gateway Switch firmware version 2.1.4-1
    • Sun Datacenter InfiniBand Switch 36 firmware version 2.1.4-1
  • ZFS Storage Appliance (ZFS_Storage_7320)
    • Storage control head software (2013.1.1.11)
  • Compute node base image v2.0.6.1.2
    • UEK kernel update ( 2.6.39-300.32.6.el5uek )
    • OVS and OVMM 3.2.8 upgrade
    • Automation of compute node configuration (dom0 RAM, swiotlb, BIOS, USB)
  • Exalogic Control vServer template update
  • Guest vServer update
    • Updated RPMs with security fixes on top of Oracle Linux 5.8

Exalogic Linux

Hardware Platform: X3-2/X2-2 Machines

Minimum Versions required to apply the July PSU: From 2.0.0.0.0 to 2.0.3.0.6

Note: Older versions (2.0.4.x.x) must be upgraded to 2.0.6.0.0 before any patches can be applied.

Post PSU Version: 2.0.3.0.7

Components Affected:

  • IB switches
  • ZFSSA Appliance
  • Compute Nodes
Content:
  • Infiniband Switches
    • Sun Network QDR InfiniBand Gateway Switch firmware version 2.1.4-1
    • Sun Datacenter InfiniBand Switch 36 (NM2-36p) firmware version 2.1.4-1
  • ZFS Storage Appliance (ZFS_Storage_7320)
    • ILOM on the storage control head (3.0.16.10.d_r74499)
    • Storage control head software (2013.1.1.11)
  • Compute node base image v2.0.3.0.7
    • X2-2 Compute Node ILOM 3.1.2.20.b_r82465
    • Base image
      • Updated RPMs with security fixes on top of Oracle Linux 5.8
      • Updated disk controller firmware (12.12.0-0178)
      • Updated Infiniband firmware (2.11.2010)
      • Disables CPU frequency scaling

Hardware Platform: X4-2 Machines

Minimum Versions required to apply the July PSU: 2.0.6.1.0, 2.0.6.1.1

Note: Older versions (2.0.4.x.x) must be upgraded to 2.0.6.0.0 before any patches can be applied.

Post PSU Version: 2.0.6.1.2

Components Affected:

  • IB switches
  • ZS3-ES Appliance
  • Compute Nodes

Content:

  • Sun Network QDR InfiniBand Gateway Switch firmware version 2.1.4-1
  • Sun Datacenter InfiniBand Switch 36 firmware version 2.1.4-1
  • ZFS Storage Appliance (ZFS_Storage_ZS3-ES)
    • Storage control head software (2013.1.1.11)
  • Compute node base image v2.0.6.1.2
    • UEK2 Kernel inclusion (2.6.39-400.214.5.1.el5uek)
    • Updated RPMs with security fixes on top of Oracle Linux 5.9
    • Disables CPU frequency scaling

Exalogic Solaris

Hardware Platform: X3-2/X2-2 Machines

Minimum Versions:

For Compute nodes

  • Upgraded from Solaris 11 Express to Solaris 11.1 using the "Oracle Exalogic 2.0.4.0.0 Upgrade Kit for Exalogic Solaris x86-64 (64 bit)" (patch 15931901)
  • With fresh installation of Oracle Exalogic 2.0.4.0.0 for Exalogic Solaris x86-64 (64-bit)
  • Upgraded to versions 2.0.4.0.2, 2.0.4.0.3, 2.0.4.0.4, 2.0.4.0.5 or 2.0.4.0.6

Post PSU Version: 2.0.4.0.7

Components Affected:

  • IB switches
  • ZFSSA Appliance
  • Compute Nodes

Content:

  • InfiniBand switches:
    • Sun Network QDR InfiniBand Gateway Switch firmware version 2.1.4-1
    • Sun Datacenter InfiniBand Switch 36 firmware version 2.1.4-1
  • ZFS Storage Appliance (ZFS_Storage_7320)
    • ILOM on the storage control head (3.0.16.10.d_r74499)
    • Storage control head software (2013.1.1.11)
  • Compute node base image version 2.0.4.0.7
    • X2-2 Compute Node ILOM 3.1.2.20.b_r82465
    • Operating System update (Oracle Solaris 11.1 SRU#17.5)

Hardware Platform: X4-2 Machines

Minimum Versions required to apply the July PSU: v2.0.6.1.0, v2.0.6.1.1

Post PSU Version: 2.0.6.1.2

Components Affected:

  • IB switches
  • ZFSSA Appliance
  • Compute Nodes
Content:
  • Infiniband Switches
    • Sun Network QDR InfiniBand Gateway Switch firmware version 2.1.4-1
    • Sun Datacenter InfiniBand Switch 36 firmware version 2.1.4-1
  • ZFS Storage Appliance (ZFS_Storage_7320)
    • Storage control head software (2013.1.1.11)
  • Compute node base image v2.0.6.1.2
    • Operating System update (Oracle Solaris 11.1 SRU#17.5)

Wednesday Jan 07, 2015

E-Business Suite 12.2.4 VM Templates for Exalogic

Oracle VM Templates for E-Business Suite release 12.2.4 for Exalogic are now available. These templates can be downloaded from EDelivery and imported in to Exalogic via EMOC to deploy E-Business Suite Linux 64-bit environments on Exalogic VMs.

Four templates are being provided

  • VISION Demo Database Tier
  • Production Database Tier
  • EBS Application Tier
  • Sparse OS Application Tier (for horizontal scaling of EBS app tier VMs)

Details are in MOS Doc 1954255.1 and also on the E-Business Suite Technology blog.

These VMs are based on Oracle Linux 6.5 OS image, and require Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software (EECS) July 2014 PSU version 2.0.6.1.2 or 2.0.6.0.2 or higher for Exalogic Virtual platforms - see MOS Doc 1937272.1.

E-Business Suite 12.2.3 VM Templates for Exalogic were released previously.

Wednesday Dec 17, 2014

E-Business Suite on Exalogic and Exadata

This blog post summarizes important references available for E-Business Suite customers on Exalogic and Exadata.

For general E-Business Suite recommendations, refer to the current quarterly blog post on the E-Business Suite Technology blog.

For new deployments/installations of E-Business Suite on Exalogic and Exadata, refer to MOS Doc 1460742.1 - Deploying Oracle E-Business Suite on Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud and Oracle Exadata Database Machine.

Migrating an existing E-Business Suite to Exalogic and Exadata consists of two major phases -
1. Migrating the E-Business Suite database to Exadata - detailed steps in MOS Doc 1133355.1
2. Migrating the E-Business Suite application tier to Exalogic - detailed steps in MOS Doc 438086.1

The list of E-Business Suite (and other software) versions that are currently supported on Exalogic are documented in MOS Doc 1302529.1

Best practices for managing concurrent manager log and out directories are outlined in MOS Doc 1616827.1 - these recommendations are applicable to all platforms, and there is a specific reference pertaining to Exalogic.

E-Business Suite VM templates built specifically for Exalogic are available -
1. For 12.1.3 VM templates, see details in MOS Doc 1499132.1
2. For 12.2.3 VM templates, see details in MOS Doc 1633952.1

These templates provide an easy way to quickly install the latest EBS software bypassing the traditional "install from media and then apply the latest EBS database/techstack/application patches" method. Customers can customize these installs as appropriate and create their own templates as outlined in the Exalogic documentation. Although these templates will create an E-Business Suite database on a Linux VM running on Exalogic, for optimal performance it is recommended that the EBS database tier be migrated to Exadata.

The E-Business Suite 12.1.3 Maximum Availability Architecture whitepaper for Exalogic and Exadata outlines various OS and storage best practices specific to E-Business Suite on Exadata and Exalogic that customers should uptake.

Various functional whitepapers, authored by EBS product teams, detailing the advantages of running E-Business Suite on Engineered Systems are also available.

There are several other documents that EBS customers may find useful -

MOS Doc 1934250.1 - CVE-2014-7169 Patch Availability for Oracle E-Business Suite (Bash Code Injection Vulnerability)
MOS Doc 1924645.1 - Intermittent Application Hangs Occur On An Exalogic Physical Or Virtual Server Due To A Race Condition That Occurs While Updating Memory Mapped Files Located Under NFS
MOS Doc 1439407.1 - Oracle Demantra Exadata Exalogic Benchmarking Performance Technology Configuration
MOS Doc 1512711.1 - Oracle E-Business Suite on Exadata Resources

Some details about Oracle's internal EBS R12 instance (known as GSI) are available in this previous blog post.

Monday Dec 08, 2014

Exalogic Case Study - Oracle's Internal E-Business Suite R12 environment

As you may be aware, Oracle runs a world-class single instance of R12.1 E-Business Suite which is primarily used to process business transactions related to Financials, Human Resources, Order Management and Purchasing, supporting all of our internal global back-office operations in these functional areas. Details of this EBS instance, internally known as GSI, were presented in an OOW 2014 session and also on the EBS Technology Stack blog.

The application tier for GSI is hosted on Oracle Exalogic X3-2 hardware, which is an Engineered System that provides breakthrough performance, reliability, availability and scalability for a wide variety of business applications, including E-Business Suite, in both conventional (on-premise) and cloud deployments.

Configuration details -

There are 32 OEL VMs implemented on Exalogic for GSI, and their breakdown is –

EBS Concurrent Manager – 4 VMs – each with 6 vCPUs and 48 GB RAM

EBS Self Service Apps (for Oracle internal users) – 4 VMs – each with 8 vCPUs, 103 GB RAM and 14 JVMs

EBS Configurator - 4 VMs – each with 9 vCPUs, 141 GB RAM and 19 JVMs

EBS Forms - 2 VMs – each with 16 vCPUs and 167 GB RAM

APEX Applications - 2 VMs – each with 1 vCPU and 16 GB RAM

External Facing Self Service Apps (iModules etc) - 16 VMs – various configurations totaling 80 vCPUs, 1012 GB RAM and 130 JVMs

The shared EBS binaries take up about 170GB of disk space, the INST_TOP size is about 600GB and CUSTOM_TOP is about 28GB – all of which are hosted on a ZFS Storage Appliance and mounted to all of the VMs noted above.

The backend database tier runs on an Oracle M6-32 SuperCluster hosting a 4-way RAC Oracle database, with each RAC node having 96 cores (768 threads) and 4TB of RAM.

Tuesday Nov 04, 2014

Oracle Traffic Director on Exalogic

Today’s blog post is brought to you by Oracle Product Manager Sriram Natarajan

Oracle Traffic Director is an on-board Application Delivery Controller for Exalogic, designed to handle Reverse Proxy and application-to-application communication use cases. For more information, check out 

· Oracle Traffic Director Data Sheet

· Oracle Traffic Director within Oracle Technology Network

Versions / Patches

· Oracle Traffic Director 11g PS6 (11.1.1.7) is the recommended version. This is available for download either from Oracle Software Delivery (under Exalogic) or from OTN.

· Oracle Traffic Director July 2014 CPU patches is the critical patch required on top of 11.1.1.7. This patch addresses several potential security vulnerabilities, and is available within Oracle Support

Platforms Supported

· Oracle Traffic Director 11g currently supports Oracle Linux 5.6+ and Oracle Solaris 11.1+ on Exalogic

Useful documentation available within Oracle Technology Network and Support Knowledge Base

· Deploying Traffic Director in Exalogic - Topology Overview and Best Practices

· Tuning Traffic Director for high throughput traffic - Technical White paper

· Protecting Traffic Director from POODLE vulnerability - MOS Note 1938044.1

· Oracle Traffic Director Knowledge Base Information Center - MOS Note - 1626139.2

· For additional information, please visit Traffic Director’s Learn More section within Oracle Technology Network 


Monday Oct 27, 2014

Webinar: How Grupo Famacos Achieved Cost Control and Operational Efficiency

How Grupo Farmacos Achieved Cost Control and Operational Efficiency

Webinar replay

Grupo Farmacos is the leading distributor of medical equipment and medicine in Mexico, and services customers across the public and private sectors. In order to support its diverse business operations, the company built a high-performance virtualized infrastructure in the cloud.

Watch this webcast for an in-depth look at how Grupo Farmacos implemented Oracle’s engineered systems and middleware to:

  • Consolidate its architecture to control costs and improve IT efficiency
  • Support high-volume transactions and ensure high availability of critical Oracle applications
  • Leverage common, SOA-based integration architecture for Oracle and third-party applications
  • Speakers:
    • Alfredo Funes Chief Information Officer Grupo Farmacos
    • Elias Solomon Corporate Vice President Grupo Farmacos
    • Yoav Eilat Director of Product Marketing Oracle Fusion Middleware Oracle
    • Alfredo Medina Customer Service and Delivery Manager Oracle Latin America, Oracle

http://event.on24.com/r.htm?e=860418&s=1&k=86BEE4B466A4B3C00E078961D6CE968A&partnerref=internal

Tuesday Apr 22, 2014

New Environment-as-a-Service Demo

Read the full story below, and see the demo for yourself here:
Replay: "Environment as a Service" Demo with Accenture and Oracle


[Read More]

Thursday Apr 03, 2014

ROI of Exalogic & Exadata: Q&A with Forrester and Oracle

On March 28, Oracle and Forrester hosted a joint webcast titled "The Total Economic Impact of Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic", an overview of Forrester's ROI study at Oracle customer SquareTwo Financial. In case you missed it, you can view the webcast on demand at:

http://bit.ly/1qynGZr

For easy reading, here's the Q&A from the webcast, slightly edited for clarity.

What's the difference between Exalogic and Exadata, and why do I need two systems?
Oracle Exalogic is the best platform for Middleware, Applications and a great consolidation platform while Exadata is a the best platform to run Oracle Databases. A company looking for the best performance and ease of management of their solution can benefit the most by using both these platforms together.

Is it good for small/mid- size business?
Yes there definitely small to midsize companies using these systems. I wouldn't recommend them to tiny companies, but if you need need to scale Oracle apps or databases they are very helpful.

Is it better than the IBM i platform?
We have many customers who went through extensive evaluations across various vendors, including IBM, and decided to move to Oracle’s engineered systems, Oracle Exalogic and Oracle Exadata (hardware and software optimized to work together) based on various benefits they saw in performance, ease of management, ROI, TCO etc.

Both of them can reside on same hardware?
If you mean multiple applications, then yes. You can take advantage of the virtualization capabilities to run even hundreds of different apps on the same box.

Who are Oracle's main competitors in this segment, in terms of technology used by customers?
Probably the only company with similar products is IBM. However there are important differences between the Oracle and IBM products.

What about HP? Your first Exadata machines were built by HP right?
That's correct, the first Exadata machines were built by HP. Now HP has some converged infrastructure systems that they sell, but they don't have optimizations for databases or applications.

Is it hardware or software which differentiate Exadata and Exalogic?
In discussions with companies using Exadata and Exalogic, they said it is the combination of both software and hardware in a preconfigured (optimized) solution that was the real differentiator.

Do customers run Exalogic in a virtual environment?

There are many customers running Exalogic in a virtual environment and taking advantage of the benefits these systems have to offer.

Thursday May 16, 2013

Oracle VM Templates – Provisioning Made Easy

Business application deployment and maintenance is one of the most complex projects faced by the enterprise. In many cases, these are high visibility and high risk efforts, with substantial budgets, and, if done right, will result in transformational change. Conversely, if things do not work out as planned, the results will almost certainly be disastrous.

It’s no secret that keeping a business critical application running at optimal efficiency is no easy task. Depending on which study one is to believe, operational aspects of an IT organization can consume up to 70 percent of the IT budget, so keeping these costs in check can go a long way in enhancing the resources available for more innovative activities. This post will focus on how Oracle VM Templates leverage Oracle virtualization technologies to deliver success in this area.

Oracle VM Templates encapsulate best deployment practices allowing organizations to simplify scaling of applications, speed patching, and enjoy the latest application releases all the while decreasing application deployment time to minutes instead of hours. One doesn’t need a mathematician to see the potential for savings here.

Moreover, Oracle VM Templates provide an innovative approach to deploying a fully configured software stack by offering pre-installed and pre-configured software images. This reduces both installation and configuration costs and ongoing maintenance costs, so organizations can achieve faster time to market and lower the cost of operations.

Oracle VM Templates are available directly from Oracle, free of charge, for a broad spectrum of world-class applications. The key item of note here is that these are being continually updated even as the applications themselves evolve. Oracle has pushed the bar further with the first set of Oracle VM Templates specifically built for Oracle Exalogic, adding to the Oracle VM Templates already available for standard hardware platforms.

Oracle Exalogic Oracle VM Templates for Oracle E-Business Suite12.1.3, Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.1, Oracle’s PeopleSoft PeopleTools 8.52, Oracle’s Siebel CRM 8.1.1.8 and 8.2.2, Agile PLM 9.3.1.2 and Value Chain Planning 12.1.3.8 are available now.

Making the Right Choice

Choosing the right VM Template is a critical decision in the process. With the proliferation of deployment models including cloud-based, on-premise, and hybrid approaches, the decision for an application manager is not an easy one. As one might expect, there are a variety of choices available in this area, although a closer examination suggests that an Oracle VM Template selection is the best approach.

Let’s start with a comparison against VMware. As one of the legacy providers in the virtualization area, the vendor knows a thing or two about the topic. The company’s Virtual Appliance Market Place has become a place where the company’s partners, user community and third-party vendors can post virtual appliances - similar to Oracle VM Templates - and the vCloud Director can then use them to build multi-tier applications or launch them as needed.

Here is where the differences start to come in:

  • Certified and Supported: Oracle provides 100+ fully certified Oracle VM Templates for all Oracle Applications, O/S, DB, Middleware and Enterprise Manager at eDelivery. With VMware, the responsibility to deliver and support is with numerous individual providers.
  • Cost: Oracle provides all its VM Templates free. Oracle VM license has zero cost and the templates are engineered by Oracle. Did I mention available for free? The only licensing fee required is the Oracle Application(s). With VMware, it is left to the providers whether and how much to charge.
  • Automation: Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder (OVAB) allows you to manually build virtual assemblies or one can introspect an existing Oracle Application deployment and automatically build equivalent assemblies to launch as needed. With VMware, introspection is a manual process which is very time consuming and prone to errors and omissions.
  • Stability: Oracle provides stable solutions for the Oracle Exalogic environment. VMware has announced its intention to divest the vFabric products to parent company EMC-owned Pivotal Initiatives subsidiary, resulting in a lot of uncertainty.
  • 7-10x Faster: An independent study by the Evaluator Group found that “Oracle VM Templates on Oracle VM 3.1.1was magnitudes faster than traditional install performed on a VMware vSphere 5 deployment.” Magnitudes!

The decision should be fairly clear versus VMware.

Now let’s take a look at IBM’s offerings in this area. The table below provides the details; however, some of the themes that stand out are the following:

  • Cost: Oracle’s VM Template offerings are available for a zero license fee, fully certified, without risk, and backed by Oracle support. The converse is true for IBM where add-on products are licensed separately, incrementally adding to cost and risk.
  • Ease of Access: Oracle’s VM Templates are available via download. For IBM customers, a myriad of partners and third-party providers create a jumble of separately licensed offerings.  
  • Automation: The Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder (OVAB) can introspect an existing Oracle Application Deployment and automatically create an “equivalent” virtual assembly, without requiring manual work.
  • Standardized IT Process: OVAB allows customers to encapsulate the metadata about the applications, i.e., how it should be deployed, managed, into the assembly. This is critical for IT as it helps to encapsulate expertise inside a format that is repeatable, hence making the error-prone process of deployment risk free and error free. This leads to a reduction of operating expenses—all good for IT!

The detailed table follows, but I think the expected outcome is clear.

Category

IBM

Oracle

Oracle Differentiators

Product

IBM Workload Deployer (IWD) is hardware appliance which needs to be licensed separately. Provides no runtime environment for applications.

Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder (OVAB) is included as a feature of WebLogic Suite (and Exalogic). OVAB is also available for use with purchase of OVM at no additional charge.

IBM provides a hardware appliance with no application runtime capabilities or any real HW/SW optimization. IBM customers cannot repurpose existing hardware. Oracle provides software based solution with WebLogic Application Server runtime that can be installed on existing hardware.

Patterns, Templates, Assemblies

5 patterns from IBM and 134 patterns from third-party vendors need to be licensed separately in addition to the middleware components used in the pattern.

Certified templates and assemblies for Oracle OSes, DB, Middleware and Applications for free download from http://eDelivery.oracle.com.

Support for majority of IBM Patterns has to come from multiple vendors. Oracle provides fully certified templates, and customers and partners can add their own templates.

Software Cost and Complexity

Numerous licenses. Charge for all software, hardware plus patterns and products along with management tools from IBM, VMware, Red Hat, and others

Free OVAB, Oracle VM Templates for Oracle products and Oracle OSes from eDelivery, Oracle VM Manager, Ops Center with basic EM12c Cloud Control. Customers pay only for Oracle DB, Middleware and Apps.

Complexity and cost are very high for IBM. Oracle solution is simpler to use leading to faster time to value and lower TCO.

Build Automation

Heavy dependency on IBM services for customer application patterns beyond the available patterns

“Introspection” and automatic build of virtual assemblies for Oracle Application deployments, pre-built assemblies for key Oracle Applications and interactive assembly building of user applications by users using a GUI.

Customers usually have to engage IBM services for customization and development of custom patterns beyond what is available out of the box.

Choice of Hypervisor Platforms

Broader hypervisor support (VMware vSphere, Red Hat KVM and IBM PowerVM)

Oracle VM only.

IBM choice of platforms also brings in the complexity of multi-vendor support, multiple management tools and numerous licensing requirements. Your particular configuration may not have been tested by IBM. Oracle provides complete stack and single vendor accountability for support.

Unified Management

IWD adds yet another management console to already scattered and overlapping management interfaces and consoles spanning Tivoli, Rational and WebSphere.

Oracle provides manageability into each product and exposes it in a meaningful way through one integrated management environment through Enterprise Manager platform and associated workload specific integrated management packs

IBM customers must decipher scattered and overlapping functionality leading to higher management cost, risk and TCO.

The figure below shows the ease with which organizations can download and deploy Oracle VM Templates.

It should also be noted that engagement-based offerings, such as from IBM, do not receive full support from the vendor, may (and generally do) cost significantly higher and result in risk for customers due to community dependent support.

Oracle’s offering provides the simplicity that IT departments and application managers are seeking primarily as a result of our engineered system approach and control over the full stack: Oracle Exalogic hardware and software, Oracle Linux O/S, Oracle DB, Oracle Apps, Oracle Middleware and Oracle EM Management.

Oracle can provide a complete solution that is ready to go into production with a few clicks. Oracle VM Templates are the fastest, easiest, most reliable way to deploy Oracle solutions.

Wednesday May 08, 2013

Why IT Innovation? Why Now?

Every organization strives to innovate, not only because it drives growth, but also because it helps avoid the unexpected downside that can result from a disruptive new technology, a shift in customer preferences, another company’s game-changing business model or upheaval in the market.


In order to innovate strategically and continually, companies must encourage and manage experimentation at every level throughout the organization. A recent survey by The Economist, ‘Cultivating Business-led Innovation’, shows that while organizations are starting to focus on getting all departments involved in innovation, IT is under-represented. Many enterprises think of IT as a department to implement rather than generate innovation. According to the Economist, this is a huge missed opportunity. IT innovation is more important now than ever as organizations look for ways to harness technology trends like big data, mobile, cloud and social to make better decisions, improve business processes and engage more effectively with customers.

How can your organization address this missed opportunity? What strategies can be used to promote innovation inside and outside of IT? How can the right business application platform help drive innovation?

Register here for the on-demand webcast “Cultivating IT Innovation with Oracle Exalogic and Oracle Exadata”. Find answers to these questions; get an overview of the report, “Cultivating business-led innovation”, and hear stories from leading companies that support IT innovation.


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Tuesday Apr 23, 2013

Exalogic: System Administrator-Friendly Software

As a system administrator, you’re asked to pull together a huge array of technologies, tools, and products into a working system while addressing performance problems, security threats and tight timelines. The last thing you need is yet another product that adds to your list of challenges.

Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud is an engineered system that integrates compute, networking and storage hardware with virtualization, operating system and management software, for the purpose of running business applications. It comes with its own built-in management tool. So is Exalogic system administrator-friendly? Absolutely!

Exalogic is easy to manage
Exalogic is easier to manage than traditional, non-integrated platforms. It is built from standard x86 based hardware components and runs standard Oracle Linux, Solaris and Oracle VM. The architecture is simpler with all components designed to work together in a limited number of pre-defined configurations requiring fewer tasks, less administration effort and simpler tooling.

New environments can be provisioned in hours versus weeks
With Exalogic, sysadmins can provision new environments in hours rather than weeks. Because Exalogic is a shared pool of high density compute, storage and network resources, provisioning of new environments for development, testing or other projects simply involves allocation of these existing resources. The process can be fully automated and reduced to minutes if implemented as a cloud computing platform.

Patching is easy
Like any system, Exalogic benefits from regular patching. Oracle makes patching easier by providing patches for all Exalogic components in the form of pre-certified and pre-tested bundles. 

Centralized management of all Oracle systems
Oracle Enterprise Manager 12C (EM) is Oracle’s strategic systems management toolset for centrally managing all Oracle systems, including Exalogic. The core EM infrastructure is provided free of charge. In addition to integrating with lower level, hardware-centric tools, EM integrates with your existing systems management and helpdesk tools.

Leverage your system administration skills with Exalogic
Computing platforms still need experienced system administrators who understand business applications and can achieve the business goals of system performance, reliability and security. At the same time, Exalogic provides the integrated, cloud-aware management system that can simplify your administrative tasks and give you more time to focus on IT innovation and business growth.

For the more information about achieving your performance, consolidation, manageability and supportability goals, read our white paper, "Oracle Exalogic: A Guide to Administration Tasks and Tools".

Monday Dec 24, 2012

The Exa-Logical Choice: Proven, High Performance, Cost-Effective. The Comparisons Pale.

Oracle introduced Engineered Systems to the world in 2008. Two years later, Exalogic built on this success with an integrated solution that delivered extreme performance, simplified maintenance, and also ran all of your applications. Since then, the engineered systems trend caught fire, with several industry analyst studies giving it credence.

Now IBM comes out with its me-too offering, the PureApplication System, a converged infrastructure system from IBM that doesn’t quite make the cut for a truly engineered system.

A closer look reveals that Exalogic is the logical choice for running business applications.

For this post, we’ll compare the latest release of Oracle’s Exalogic to IBM’s PureApplication System and look at this from the customer’s eye. We’ll focus on three critical items: Performance, Simplicity, and Cost. I could argue the merits of an arcane esoteric feature that allows me to play buzzword bingo. But, from a business’ perspective, it’s hard to argue there are three more vital considerations.

Proven Business Performance

Oracle Exalogic has been in the market for two years, with customers in 43 countries, 22 industries, along with 340 certified partner solutions. The question I would ask is: How many production customers does PureApplications have? The silence is deafening. PureApplication Systems are the very definition of unproven.

What about business applications performance you ask?

Good question. Here’s where a picture is worth a thousand (or more) words. Take a look at the charts below. Each successive Oracle Exalogic release is delivering better performance. The benchmark results show record performance for every application. (Note that the Standard Hardware configurations mentioned below are Intel Xeon processors running with the same CPU and memory characteristics as Oracle Exalogic - meaning Intel Xeon @ 2.93 GHz with 96 GB RAM, NFS mounted storage, over a 1GigE network.)

This is quite impressive in an age where even a one second delay in page load time results in decreasing customer satisfaction and lower conversion rates. This is the kind of performance business applications need and receive with Oracle Exalogic.

How is this possible? Well, an Oracle Engineered System is a complete package of best-of-breed storage, compute, network, operating system and software products that are integrated, tested, tuned, optimized, delivered and supported as a single factory-assembled unit. With specific configurations, all the guesswork around sizing, configuration, and compatibility is removed.

What’s left is just extreme performance.

Application performance is the other piece here. 70,000+ application customers give Oracle deep domain expertise in the applications space. It is this expertise that is on full display via the application optimizations achieved through engineered integration between software and hardware components. This is why Exalogic customers receive benefits like quicker time to value, better manageability, faster performance and lower risk.

The problem with PureApplication Systems is that IBM runs a variety of Operating Systems and hypervisors, each of which has different performance characteristics so it cannot possibly optimize for performance. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, PureApplication Systems integrate computing, storage, and networking but there is nothing around deep hardware and software integration.

This is where Exalogic shines making it the logical choice for running business applications.

There are a number of other performance related areas to consider. These include:

  • An Optimized Network for Software Performance via Exabus
  • Middleware optimized for running business applications including WebLogic, Coherence Data Grid, and Oracle RAC
  • Built-in Intelligent Application Load-Balancing, Traffic Routing & Load Control, and Content Caching

Unfortunately, IBM’s PureApplication Systems are unable to match Oracle in these areas as well.

Simplicity

When the discussion is around simplicity, unified management is a critical component. Exalogic has this in spades. Unfortunately, IBM generally tends to score on the low end of “ease of use” surveys.

With its deep integration with Oracle Enterprise Manager - included with the Exalogic license, I might add - Oracle is the only vendor in the industry that can offer complete apps-to-disk management with a single management tool.

This means that all aspects of the application stack (application, middleware, operating system, server hardware, storage & networking) are managed through a single pane of glass, with contextual drill-downs, so administrators spend less time managing and monitoring their critical business infrastructure.

Add to this the rich set of system tools and utilities that are included, and now businesses can perform detailed diagnostics. This approach integrates hardware management across the infrastructure stack and extends the efficiencies associated with virtualization management tools to the application and database layers.

This simplicity makes for streamlined operations, increased productivity, and reduced system downtime. And, it’s all standards based. All good things!

On the flip side, IBM’s PureApplication Systems are built on PureFlex infrastructure, meaning that it inherits all the management shortcomings of PureFlex systems as well. As an example, there are no less than four separate consoles just to manage the hardware elements of a PureApplication System. This, of course, is also completely different from what most IBM customers use to manage existing IBM hardware.

To add to the complexity on the IBM PureApplication Systems, the product does not allow for software installation without virtualization/hypervisor. For many mission critical, performance-bound applications this restriction is unacceptable.

Adding insult to injury, PureApplication Systems requires applications to be bundled in a virtualized pattern. As we know, all applications are not supported by PureApplications Virtual Application Pattern. For example, EJB clustering or applications with remote EJB calls are not supported. Nor are any applications with database backed sessions or memory-memory replication. The black list continues with stand-alone EJB jar, stand-alone connector (RAR), shared libraries, and arbitrary assets (like .zips) for business level applications.

Does that sound simple to you?

Cost

I couldn’t complete this post without a discussion of the cost component. I’ll start with a basic example. Exalogic provides virtualization support at no cost with Oracle VM. PureApplication Systems will require an additional cost for management tools from VMware, Red Hat and others…all leading to increased TCO for sure, not to mention higher complexity.

Speaking of management tools, IBM needs to rely on third-party tools for complete management. For example, a reliance on Quest, Precise or Embarcadero is needed to provide database management solutions for IBM DB2 and Informix. By stitching together this quilt, IBM PureApplication Systems customers will now also pay for additional consulting services resulting in higher TCO.

Taking it one step further, Oracle customers can leverage existing licenses of WebLogic, Coherence, etc. with Exalogic. On the other hand, IBM bakes in the software cost into the price of PureApplication System and does not allow customers to reuse, or migrate, their existing licenses of WebSphere Application Server and DB2.

Wait, there’s more.

IBM PureApplication Systems Virtual Applications pattern provides the kind of customization options that turn flexibility into a four-letter word.  Currently, IBM supports only IBM middleware (WebSphere and DB2) for virtual application patterns. A limited number of third-party patterns are available for purchase. But if you need to customize or build your own pattern to suit corporate needs and requirements, significant time and effort will be required; time and effort that will involve expensive IBM consulting services, which of course, will add to the cost and result in a higher TCO.

Another cost related consideration is that standardization yields dramatic cost benefits. When you have a system that is built to work well in a certain way, well, that is what it does! Take a look at the graphic below. Oracle’s Engineered Systems are purpose-built for speed and cost-effectiveness.

IBM gave it their best try, but they didn’t quite get there. Taken from this perspective, Oracle equals optimized and cost effective, while IBM’s approach is still labor-intensive and costly. But hey, they have to keep their Services business going somehow!

Summing it Up

Imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery. I commend IBM for following in Oracle’s footsteps and validating the Engineered Systems strategy. However, while it may be an improvement for IBM, PureApplication Systems fall short against Oracle’s approach.

It seems clear that Exalogic is the logical choice for running business applications.


Oracle Exalogic

IBM PureApplication System

Proven

System Availability

2 years ago

GA end of July 2012

Customers worldwide

43 countries, 22 industries

None Known

eXtreme Performance

Proven Performance - Documented Enterprise Business Applications Performance Improvement and Java Performance Improvement

Yes – 60+ applications benchmarked

No

Built-in Intelligent Application Load-Balancing, Traffic Routing & Load Control, and Content Caching

Yes

No

HW+SW Engineered Innovation

Optimized Network for Software Performance - Exabus

Yes

No

Optimized Middleware – WebLogic, Coherence Data Grid, Oracle RAC

Yes

No

Simplicity

Unified Application to Disk Management Platform

Yes – Oracle Enterprise Manager Total Cloud Control

No – Several Management and 3rd Party Products required

Common Infrastructure for both Public and Private Cloud

Yes – Oracle Public Cloud is based on Exa-System

No – IBM Public Cloud is not based on PureApplication System

Partner ISV Applications Certified

340

Approx. 80

Easy Application Certification

Yes

No

Cost Effective

Flexible Deployment Choice - Ability to deploy Applications with no-cost mission-critical virtualization or without the use of virtualization

Yes

No

Flexible Licensing – Ability to leverage existing software licenses

Yes

No

Mission Critical Virtualization Support at no cost

Yes – Oracle VM

No - Require 3rd Party VMware

Easy to Manage and Deploy Application for faster time to value

Yes

No

No cost OVAB/OVM templates and assemblies

Yes

No

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