What is the best platform to run your Oracle Database on?

As a Systems Consultant I am often faced with the following question: What does Oracle recommend as the best platform to run the Oracle DB in large enterprise environments on? Is the Exadata DB Machine the recommended platform? Are SPARC/Solaris servers the way to go? Or should customers consolidate on SPARC SuperCluster setups? 

...at this point customers look me deep into the eyes, and ask the critical question: What does Oracle actually recommend?
The answer usually perplexes them, for I say every time: "It depends." 

And that's the best answer one can give - there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Different customers follow different goals, have different requirements, platforms, expectations, experiences. I prefer to recommend a solution that fits the most their platform, their plans and projects. 

To answer the question about the optimal platform for DB Operations in a specific scenario there are a number of aspects to take into account, allow me to provide decision support. I will talk about first the Exadata, then SPARC/Solaris servers and last but not least about the SPARC SuperCluster. 

I. When shall customers go with an Exadata solution? 

With the Exadata Database Machine, the enterprise DB solution customers pursuing the following goals benefit the most: 

  • A worldwide Standardized DB platform
  • Time to market extremely reduced due to fast deployment
  • Hardware and Sofrware preintegrated and verified into a single platform, avoiding platform development and testing expenditure
  • Maintenance efforts reduced due to coordinated, bundled and verified software releases
  • Option to grow fast in terms of both capacity and computing
  • Option to choose between both Linux and Oracle Solaris
  • Extreme performance thanks to the built-in database-aware storage solution
  • Removing burden from the network and the block-storage

II. What customer goals and requirements are addressed well with SPARC/Solaris servers? 

There are several other criteria to consider where SPARC/Solaris benefits weigh a lot in platform-choosing decisions. Customers choosing to deploy Solaris servers for Database platform aim to fulfill the following requirements and enjoy the following advantages:

  • Solaris 11 provides unique features specifically for the Oracle Database that are available on Solaris only
  • Running any other non-DB applications, like Java, Webservices, etc.
  • Multitenancy provided by built-in Solaris and SPARC virtualization
  • Oracle-owned SPARC IP being the only platform where Oracle implements Software-in-Silicon features accelerating applications to hardware-speed
  • Possibility to use software-license boundaries via virtualization enabling customers to start small and grow their capacity on demand
  • Solaris and the Oracle Database being co-developed and harmonized for eachother 
  • Multithreaded applications benefiting from the massively multithreaded SPARC architecture
  • Using existing storage and network infrastructure
For detailed technical recommendation on building Small/Medium/Large/extraLarge platforms see the Technical Whitepaper of the Oracle Optimized Solution for Oracle Database

In the latter situation customers have the option to start with standalone SPARC servers that can grow and scale up to the level of an engineered system - a great example is the SPARC SuperCluster, that utilizes exactly these features for an upgrade path for SPARC customers.

Which is our next topic anyway: 

III. In what scenarios should customers choose a SPARC SuperCluster? 

Actually a SPARC SuperCluster unites the advantages of an Exadata Database machine and the SPARC/Solaris standalone servers. It provides extreme high performance, the same level of integration, the DataBase Storage Cells, the same standardization like an Exadata setup, and utilizes the virtualization features of SPARC/Solaris, runs Java or any other applications as well, does the heavy multithreading and provides strict multitenancy. 

It is the true heavylifting enterprise champion for different applications that incorporate all the benefits listed above. It is even the standard building-block for many Optimized Solutions

For detailed technical recommendation on building Oracle Optimized Solution for Enterprise Database Cloud see the Technical Whitepaper.  

In summary we can say that the choosing best platform running your Oracle Database always depends on the requirements and goals of a company. I sincerely hope to have provided a short overview of the benefits to support your decision process. 


Although not really targeted at large enterprises, the Oracle Database Appliance also has a number of use cases as an x86 appliance where Exadata is not the right solution for the customer.

Posted by Blair Couper on May 06, 2013 at 01:58 PM CEST #

Hi Blair,

I completely agree, I got this feedback from other readers too - you're right, I should've included the ODA as an entry level Engineered System solution as well.

The ODA is an engineered system too, here's a link to the product: http://www.oracle.com/us/products/database/database-appliance/overview/index.html

Posted by Karoly Vegh on May 06, 2013 at 02:02 PM CEST #

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This is the Technology Blog of the Oracle Hardware Presales Consultant Team in Vienna, Austria. We post about our technology fields: server- and storage hardware, operating system technologies, virtualization, clustering, datacenter management and performance tuning possibilities.


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