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Exadata Economics: The Real Cost of Ownership

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With all the benefits of Oracle Exadata, why do some people still run Oracle databases on other platforms?  That’s a question I’ve been pondering, and while there is no single answer, a common perception is that Exadata is too expensive.  In this post, we discuss the economics of operating databases and show why Exadata has the lowest Total Cost of Ownership for most enterprises.

The disconnect between those who believe Exadata is more expensive and those who believe it is less expensive comes from a difference in how you measure your costs. Exadata systems, when viewed as a simple server, are more expensive to acquire than build-your-own Linux servers from any vendor, including Oracle.  But most experts agree you should not compare acquisition costs when evaluating technology—rather, you should look at the total cost of ownership. Several factors contribute to the lower Exadata TCO:

•    Rich/Flexible Elasticity
•    Much higher density database consolidation
•    Simpler integrated management, tuning, and support
•    Business value of new solutions


Rich/Flexible Elasticity

Oracle Exadata allows you to license a subset of the cores in your system and grow it as demand increases. In addition, Exadata elastic configurations allow you to independently add compute and storage servers as required.  These expansions do not require any outages or forklift migrations.  Together, these features dramatically simplify capacity planning: You purchase what you need and grow your system only when and if required. Also, because Exadata offloads work from database servers to storage servers, fewer database server cores and licenses can support the same database workloads. Move to a cloud environments, and get even finer grained elasticity with pay-by-the-hour licensing.


Much Higher Density Database Consolidation

Improved consolidation density is the source of some of the greatest savings in an Exadata.  Because of the system’s extreme performance and database-aware resource management capabilities, Exadata provides the highest consolidation density in the industry. With fewer resources to manage comes a reduction in the management burden—there are fewer physical servers, virtual servers, operating systems, and databases to manage. License costs are also lower. Finally, fewer resources directly reduce data center operational costs such as power, cooling, and floorspace.


Simpler Integrated Management, Tuning, and Support

Customers running Exadata also spend less on management and administration.  Unlike a generic server, Exadata is designed specifically for running Oracle Databases.  Best practices are built in.  The system is tuned specifically for the database and provides many advanced features that just work—no administration required.  For example, Exadata figures out what to cache, what work to prioritize, and how to most quickly recover from both soft and hard failures, without time consuming administration.  Lastly, Exadata costs less to support.  The single vendor solution eliminates the need for vendor management, and the included Platinum Support offloads common maintenance.  


Business Value of New Solutions


A last input on your total cost of ownership is business value of the solution.  Oracle Exadata, with its improved performance and manageability allows customers to do things that were previously impossible.  Customers can build new real-time business processes, embed deeper analysis into their processes, and get better answers to more sophisticated queries more quickly. For example, top financial services companies use Oracle Exadata to near-instantly analyze payments for risk across petabytes of data.  Exadata also provides the highest levels of availability—think of your cost of downtime, and what this means to your business.

Want more proof?  In 2016, IDC quantified the savings of running Exadata.  They found Exadata provided 429% 5-year ROI with hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings. Although a few years old, the methodology still applies.  With the recent enhancements in the X8M, it’s likely the results today are even more compelling. It’s no wonder some of our largest customers have just standardized all Oracle database deployments on Exadata.

This is the eighth in a series of blog posts celebrating the 10th anniversary of the introduction of Exadata, exploring the unique features of Exadata, and why they are important.  Next, we will look at the key role Exadata is playing for customers transitioning their workloads to the cloud.

About the Author

Bob Thome is a Vice President at Oracle responsible for product management for Database Engineered Systems and Cloud Services, including Exadata, Exadata Cloud Service, Exadata Cloud at Customer, RAC on OCI-C, VM DB (RAC and SI) on OCI, and Oracle Database Appliance. He has over 30 years of experience working in the Information Technology industry. With experience in both hardware and software companies, he has managed databases, clusters, systems, and support services. He has been at Oracle for 20 years, where he has been responsible for high availability, information integration, clustering, and storage management technologies for the database. For the past several years, he has directed product management for Oracle Database Engineered Systems and related database cloud technologies, including Oracle Exadata, Oracle Exadata Cloud Service, Oracle Exadata Cloud at Customer, Oracle Database Appliance, and Oracle Database Cloud Service.


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