Oracle Rolls Out Exadata Storage Expansion Rack

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2011-07-12 Print this article Print

Oracle calls Exadata Storage Expansion Rack "a cost-effective way to add extreme performance storage servers" to an Oracle Exadata database machine.

Oracle, which has about 1,000 big data-type Exadata storage systems currently running in customers' daily production but whose CEO expects that number to triple in the next year, is looking ahead at what the expected increase might require.

So the company on July 12 made available an Exadata Storage Expansion Rack, something the company calls "a cost-effective way to add extreme performance storage servers" to an Oracle Exadata database machine.

The Exadata, launched in 2010, is an Intel Xeon-powered (originally it was Sun SPARC-powered), self-contained unified data center system featuring computing and storage nodes and internal InfiniBand networking. It is designed solely to run the Oracle database; no other applications need apply.

As one might imagine, since the servers have been out in the field working for more than year collecting scads of data, there is a need to handle the data overflow without having to buy and install new Exadata units.

These are not inexpensive. A quarter-rack Exadata system costs $300,000; a half-rack is priced at $550,000; and the full racks range from $1 million to $1.5 million, depending upon how much horsepower you desire.

The new expansion rack for a full Exadata system costs $750,000; the half-rack is $425,000; and the quarter-rack is $225,000.

All these prices do not include services. Here's the latest price list Oracle provides.

Tim Shetler, who serves as vice president for product management for Oracle's Systems Technology group, told eWEEK that the Exadata Storage Expansion Rack is designed primarily for storing massive amounts of structured and unstructured data, such as historical relational data, backups of Oracle Exadata Database Machine, Weblogs, documents, images, LOBs and XML files.

"To this point, the storage that came with the Exadata-for the vast majority of customers, whether they were doing data warehousing or not-was quite enough," Shetler said. "But as of late [the last quarter or so], we've started to see customers begin to run out of storage.

"Over time, people just collect more data than they get rid of, so at some point they need to extend the storage and not necessarily extend the compute capacity. If they did that, they'd have to get more database, InfiniBand and so on, then hook everything together with switches.

"The Expansion Rack is prebuilt and ready to cable together with InfiniBand, so it's ready to go."

Standard Oracle Exadata Storage Expansion Rack configurations come with 96TB to more than 3PB of raw disk storage using only the included InfiniBand switches, Shetler said. More than 10PB of user data can be stored using the Exadata Hybrid Columnar Compression, which is included, he said.

Flash PCI Card capacity-included with the Expansion Rack-ranges from 1.5TB to 47TB. The Intel Xeon processing power in the Exadata storage servers range from 48 cores to about 1,500 cores, Oracle said.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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