Following the recent release of Oracle’s Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software 2.0, Tom Haunert, editor in chief of Oracle Magazine, sat down with Mohamad Afshar, vice president of product management at Oracle, to talk about Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud, the new software release, and what’s next for Oracle Exalogic. The following is an excerpt from that interview. Download the full podcast at oracle.com/magcasts.
Oracle Magazine: What is the history of Oracle Exalogic, what does it do, and how does it integrate with other Oracle engineered systems?
Afshar: Larry Ellison launched Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud at Oracle OpenWorld in 2010. The vision for the product was to deliver a complete infrastructure to data centers for running their middleware and packaged applications. Oracle’s engineered system for the database tier, Oracle Exadata, was already available, and the idea behind Exalogic was to deliver a machine that would work in tandem with Oracle Exadata to run applications and midtier workloads. Effectively, the combination of the two products becomes the foundation for the modern data center on which applications are consolidated.
Oracle Magazine: Other Oracle engineered systems are optimized to run specific installed Oracle software, but Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud is optimized for the installed Oracle software and a variety of Oracle and other applications. How is this possible?
Afshar: When we started looking at building Oracle Exalogic, we looked at where the bottlenecks are in the midtier and the application tier, and we noticed that the primary bottleneck that hinders performance and throughput tends to be in the network. So we built Exabus technology, which encompasses technologies spanning InfiniBand switches, gateways, host channel adapters, firmware, device drivers, operating system extensions, and software libraries. Exabus provides an interoperability layer that enables any application that runs on Oracle Linux on x86 to run on top of it with no code changes and with significantly improved performance and throughput. For Oracle middleware and applications we also built native integration with Exabus to enable breakthrough performance and throughput—and that helps deliver the 5 to 10 times improvements that you see us talk about for Oracle WebLogic Server, Oracle Tuxedo, Oracle Coherence, and Oracle SOA Suite, as well as our applications such as Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle ATG applications, and more.
Oracle Magazine: How does Oracle Exalogic provide optimized support for Java?
Afshar: Oracle has a significant investment in Java and the Java community and is committed to ensure ever-greater adoption of Java. Hence we looked at how we could improve response times and throughput for Java applications by leveraging the Exabus technology within the Java Virtual Machine [JVM], Oracle WebLogic Server, and Oracle Coherence. This engineering effort involved delivering capabilities such as JDBC over SDP [Sockets Direct Protocol] and RDMA [Remote Direct Memory Access]–backed state replication.
Oracle Magazine: Oracle recently announced Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software 2.0. What is the background behind this release, and what are the key features?
Afshar: Many of our customers have been running multiple Oracle applications on Oracle Exalogic—Oracle E-Business Suite, Siebel, Oracle ATG, and PeopleSoft, as well as Oracle Fusion Middleware—and they’ve typically been isolating applications by running one application per compute node. For example, a customer running an Exalogic quarter rack system could dedicate two Exalogic compute nodes for Oracle ATG, two compute nodes for Oracle E-Business Suite, and then two to four compute nodes for integration and Oracle WebCenter components.
With Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software 2.0, we’ve delivered a number of capabilities that enable customers to run more applications on Exalogic by delivering application isolation through virtualization. We built Exabus integration into the virtualization layer in Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software 2.0 to enable near native (nonvirtualized) application performance, and incorporated cloud management capabilities around that virtualized environment based on an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) model. As part of this we also delivered a self-service user interface that provides full IaaS self-service capabilities for cloud users and cloud administrators. With Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software 2.0, we enable customers to have a true IaaS environment where they can deploy a self-service model or provision for different users within groups, and enable those users to go in and spin up environments and start running applications.
Oracle Traffic Director is another important part of Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software 2.0. It is an integrated application delivery controller capable of doing everything from basic load balancing to complex traffic shaping, traffic metering, and security enforcement.
Oracle Magazine: How does Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software 2.0 fit into Oracle’s cloud applications and Java strategies?
Afshar: If you look at Oracle Cloud, Oracle has announced application services such as Oracle Sales and Marketing Cloud Service, Oracle Human Capital Management Cloud Service, and Oracle Social Network Cloud Service, in addition to Oracle Database Cloud Service and Oracle Java Cloud Service. Specifically in the context of Java, Oracle Java Cloud Service runs on Oracle Exalogic, and so we can deliver 100 percent portability between customers’ systems and Oracle Cloud. As far as Oracle’s Java strategy is concerned, you can expect to see continued investment in optimizing Java applications on Oracle Exalogic across the JVM, the virtualization layer, networking, and storage.
Oracle Magazine: What’s next for Oracle Exalogic?
Afshar: We are committed to taking the latest industry-standard hardware and fully testing it within the engineered system environments, certifying it, and delivering it to customers. And that’s exactly what we are doing with the introduction of the Exalogic X3 product series, which brings Intel’s Sandy Bridge chip set to the Exalogic platform, delivering ever-better density, performance, and compute power.
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