Exadata for Retail
By David Dorf on Oct 30, 2009
Strictly speaking, Exadata is the intelligent storage server, not the entire solution. The Database Machine is the combination of multiple Exadata storage servers, database servers, and network switches pre-configured and hooked together in a rack. The Database Machine is the whole system, but its frequently referred to as "Exadata" since that's a more unique brand.
Typically applications "ask" the database a question in the form of a SQL query, like "who are all my customers in Texas?" To answer this question, the database server asks the storage for all the data in a table, then does comparisons to find the matching records. There are two big benefits of using Exadata storage servers. First, they are intelligent so they will do the comparisons and return only matching records. That reduces the load on the database server and the network that connects them. Second, Exadata storage servers use flash technology, which is faster than disks and cheaper than memory.
The Database Machine simplifies implementations because the storage, database servers, and networking are all included and optimized to work together. It uses Oracle Enterprise Linux and the Oracle 11gR2 database with RAC. Its also fully redundant and scalable. No big decisions, no expensive consultants, no arguments over configurations.
Oracle Retail plans to benchmark both our data warehouse and transactional applications on Exadata and measure the performance gains. The retail industry is in desperate need of ways to increase performance while reducing costs, and I expect this "systems" approach will yield awesome results. Stay tuned.