Technically, SuperCluster has always included every single Exadata feature of note. This is because every SuperCluster configuration is built around the same Exadata Storage Servers and InfiniBand switches that are used in every other Exadata system configuration.
In the case of the SuperCluster configurations, however, we have added Oracle T and M-series microprocessors to the compute nodes (used for running Oracle Database and other software) and ZS3-ES storage (used for pre-11gR2 Oracle Database storage, virtual machine images and other data needed by the system). SuperCluster is a ‘hybrid’ system that integrates both x86 processors and Oracle’s T and M-series microprocessors in the interest of achieving the greatest flexibility, performance, efficiency and reliability possible.
Both SuperCluster and Exadata X-series configurations are equally well suited to all of the major classes of Oracle Database use cases: OLTP, Data Warehouse, Database Consolidation and Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS). There are technical differences, however, which make SuperCluster the right first choice for some customers or projects.
SuperCluster offers several important features that are not available today in other Exadata configurations:
Exadata configurations, on the other hand, offer some capabilities that are essential in some cases:
So which configuration should you choose?
The guidance we offer customers about whether to choose an Exadata or SuperCluster configuration is fairly simple: both Exadata and SuperCluster configurations are equally optimized for Oracle Database and can, in fact, be deployed together to create a single system for customers that require maximum flexibility. For customers currently running Oracle Database (or other databases) in mission-critical deployments on UNIX/RISC platforms (such as Power, SPARC or Itanium), SuperCluster would be the natural first candidate because of it's familiarity, technical similarity and feature set. Conversely, customers running Oracle Database with Oracle Real Application Cluster (RAC) in commodity x86 server environments will likely find the Exadata X-series configurations to be the most natural first choice. In most cases, the decision about which configuration to deploy will be driven by technical needs, and the distinctions outlined above are sufficiently straightforward to interpret without appreciable risk or uncertainty.