According to Oracle, a low-cost storage array must implement these core features: networked storage, Inter-Operability Certification, remote management and failure alerts, and high availability. Thats a list that came at least in part from Oracles internal IT department, whose members got annoyed when they began tinkering with low-cost storage boxes that were a bit too low-cost, Loaiza said. "Originally, we started looking at really cheap boxes made by no-name vendors," he said. "They didnt have some of these capabilities" such as remote management and failure notification. "Our IT department didnt like them," Loaiza said. "They said, The box fails, and we dont know whats going on. They insisted, If youre going to do this, it has to be remote management and notification."Oracle is now internally storing the Collaboration Suite database it uses in development on three Apple Xserve Raid boxes, each holding 3.5 terabytes.Click here to read about a Gartner survey finding that Apple doubled quarterly sales of Xserve G5 servers over a year. Oracle is running the setup on a RAC cluster, and each node runs Oracles ASM (Automatic Storage Management). On the host side, Oracle uses four Dell Linux boxes, and on the storage side resides the array of the three Apple boxes. The setup is housing Oracle e-mail, voice mail, faxes and files. The Xserve boxes were a pleasant surprise, Loaiza said. While Apple doesnt have a big name in the storage industry, it was early to market for low-cost storage arrays, initially coming out with a cheap box about 1.5 years ago and into its third generation by now. The companies in the initiative will work together to develop optimized database storage configurations and best practices for the deployment of low-cost storage with Oracle Database 10g. ASMs data-mirroring in particular will ensure high availability, Loaiza said. "Were providing availability from a higher perspective," he said. "We will mirror the data across boxes: Well write one copy into one storage array and the mirror copy into another storage array. This is not going to be as reliable as your $2 million array, each of these $10,000 boxes. But the way we will configure it, if any box dies, it doesnt matter. We mirror across the boxes." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.