Monday Nov 26, 2012

A Myriad of Options

I am currently working with a customer that is close to outgrowing their Exadata X2-2 half rack in both compute and storage capacity.  The platform is used for one of their larger data warehouse applications and the move to Exadata almost two years ago has been a resounding success, forcing them to grow the platform sooner than anticipated.

At a recent planning meeting, we started looking at the options for expansion and have developed five alternatives, all of which meet or exceed their growth requirements, yet have different pros and cons in terms of the impact to their production and test environments.

The options include an in-rack upgrade to a full rack of Exadata using the recently released X3-2 platform (an option that even applies to an older V2 rack), multi-rack cabling the existing X2-2 to another full rack or half rack X2-2 (and utilizing both compute and storage capacity in the other rack), or simply adding a new X3-2 half rack (and taking advantage of the added compute and flash performance in the X3-2).

While the decision is yet to be made, it had me thinking that one of the benefits of Exadata over a traditional database deployment is that when the time comes to expand the platform, there are a myriad of options.

Tuesday Nov 20, 2012

There's Not an App for That (Yet)

With an earlier-than-normal departure this morning to avoid the stalemate known as traffic congestion, I suddenly realized what I had failed to grab on my way out the door...  my company ID badge.  Unfortunately, at the time of my epiphany, I was far enough into commuter no-man's land where turning back would completely negate my early departure and increase my overall drive time exponentially.  Not being one to retrace my steps, I decided to press on.

Upon arrival at the office and with an hour to go before a security guard would be on duty, I started thinking about the number of times I had forgotten my ID vs. the number of times I had forgotten my phone.  While rare on both accounts, my ID was most likely the missing artifact.

I then wondered why there isn't an app for my smartphone that allows me to verify my credentials with my employer and then, provided with a secure token for the day, have the ability to access my building's card entry system.  On many levels, this seems much more secure than an ID card which can be lost, stolen or even forged and then used simply by tailgating into and around buildings at facilities where card scanning can generally be avoided.  

As it turns out, another building on the campus has 24 x 7 guard coverage, so I was able to gain access in a relatively short time and secure a temporary ID badge.  Once inside and online, a quick internet search on the subject of smartphone badge access shows that efforts are underway to do exactly what I was thinking needed to be done. Having not spent any time studying about the technology, I discovered that it relies on Near Field Communications (NFC) enabled smartphones (of which, mine does not provide).  The only other option would require modifications to the security infrastructure to support alternative authentication technologies, such as barcode readers, which would be extremely costly to implement.

For now, my best option is to put my corporate ID under my car keys... 

Monday Nov 19, 2012

Oracle Day 2012

As a keynote speaker at this year’s Oracle Day 2012, “Your Vision, Engineered” I had the honor and pleasure of speaking to a crowd of about 150 attendees about our recently released, fourth generation Exadata X3 In-Memory Machine in a presentation entitled “Oracle Exadata X3 - Transforming Data Management”. The general theme of the thirty-minute talk was how to improve performance, lower costs, and build the foundation for your cloud service platform using Exadata.

Since its introduction in 2008, I’ve watched first-hand as Exadata has evolved from a data warehouse-only system to an OLTP and DW in-memory database machine capable of storing hundreds of terabytes of compressed user data in flash and main memory.  Many of my Exadata customers are now purchasing additional systems as they continue to standardize Oracle 11g deployments on the best database platform available.

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General observations on Enterprise Architecture, Oracle Hardware, Software, Virtualization, Solaris, Engineered Systems, Cloud Infrastructure and other day to day musings.

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