IT Innovation

Built for Speed

November/December 2012

by David Baum

Oracle unveils new releases of Oracle Exadata Database Machine and Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud.

Pausing for waves of applause in the packed keynote hall on the first evening of Oracle OpenWorld, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison announced a new generation of engineered systems anchored by Oracle Exadata X3.

“If you thought the old Exadata systems were fast, you ain’t seen nothing yet,” he said.

One of the major performance drivers in the Exadata Database Machine X3-2 and Exadata Database Machine X3-8 is their mass memory system, which permits these engineered systems to store hundreds of terabytes of compressed user data in flash and RAM memory, virtually eliminating the performance overhead of reads and writes to disk drives. The Exadata flash components are part of a memory hierarchy that includes 4 TB of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) for Exadata Database Machine X3-8, 22 TB of flash cache, and 500 TB of disk storage.

Intelligent storage optimization in Oracle Exadata Smart Flash Cache automatically keeps all active data in flash memory and RAM, while keeping less-active data on low-cost disks. Exadata Smart Flash Cache now also sends write I/Os to flash in addition to read I/Os, accelerating write performance by 20 times.

“As we move more and more of our databases onto Exadata machines, those databases aren’t going to go onto disk drives,” he predicted. “They’re going to go into flash memory where the information is available instantaneously, where you can ask a question and get an answer at the speed of thought, where the new generation of clouds delivers answers faster than you ever imagined was possible because of Oracle Exadata X3, the world’s fastest computer for business.”

Upgrade Advantage

Organizations using Oracle Exadata X2 can also take advantage of the new write I/O support simply by upgrading their Exadata Storage Server Software. “When you push the button and upgrade your Exadata software, you will suddenly speed up write I/Os by someplace between a factor of 10 and a factor of 20,” Ellison estimated.

With the Oracle Exadata X3, speed is easy. “Everything’s faster with Exadata X3, and they consume less power,” Ellison said. “We now can do a million writes per second in a single rack of Exadata. You would need 10,000 disk drives for that kind of write capacity, or 100 racks compared to a single Exadata rack.”

In addition to previously available Oracle Exadata full-rack, half-rack, and quarter-rack configurations, the new Oracle Exadata X3 eighth-rack configuration provides an entry point for smaller workloads, including testing, development, and disaster recovery systems.

Faster Performance, Same Cost

Also announced at Oracle OpenWorld, Exalogic Elastic Cloud X3-2, the second hardware generation of Oracle’s engineered system for running business applications, offers similar boosts in functionality and performance, thanks in part to the eight-core Intel Xeon E5-2600 series of processors, which are resident in the new Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic systems. The new Exalogic platform builds on the recent release of Oracle’s Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software 2.0 (see “Optimized Application Performance”) to provide extreme performance, reliability, and scalability for Java, Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle Applications, rehosted CICS/IMS TP, and other business applications.

Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic are key components of Oracle’s new infrastructure-as-a-service cloud offering, which Ellison announced during the same keynote presentation.

“What we’re offering is OS, VM [virtual machine], compute services, and storage services on the fastest, most reliable, most secure machines in the world—our engineered systems, Exadata, Exalogic, SuperClusters, and Exalytics—all networked together with a modern InfiniBand network,” Ellison concluded. “The reason we’re making these systems faster is to improve not just their peak performance, but to improve their cost performance. You can save a lot of money by using these engineered systems, Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic.”

Next Steps

LEARN more about
 Oracle Exadata
 Oracle Exalogic


Photography byTim Arterbury,Unsplash