Oracle Launches Cloudera-Powered Big Data Appliance

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2012-01-10 Print this article Print

Oracle forged a partnership with pioneering Apache Hadoop interface/tools provider Cloudera to use its distribution inside the new Big Data Appliance.

Even though Oracle launched its 12-petabyte data-storage Exadata server in 2008 and its cloud database/analytics Exalogic server to equally high visibility two years later, it still believes it needs a product that is actually named "big data" so there's no mistaking its purpose.

So on Jan. 10 it launched a new data center machine called the Oracle Big Data Appliance, which follows in the footsteps of many Oracle products: Engineered-together hardware and software, previously tested and configured, and stamped with the Oracle and partners "seal of approval" (though not literally). It's all but a turnkey workhorse to provide analyses of large batches of data.

Naturally, there must be high-end analytics software to go with it. So, also on Jan. 10, Oracle announced that it has forged a partnership with pioneering Hadoop analytics software provider Cloudera to use its Apache Hadoop distribution and tools inside the Big Data Appliance.

"A good number of our customers want to just 'load and go' when it comes to big-data batch (warehousing and analytics) use cases," Cetin Ozbutun, Oracle Vice President of Data Warehousing Technologies, told eWEEK. "There is minimal configuration and setup with this appliance, and we've found that customers can save weeks or even months on getting their deployments up and running."

The Big Data Appliance is designed to provision a highly available and scalable system for managing and analyzing massive amounts of data in Hadoop and using R (the open-source programming language) on raw data sources, Ozbutun said.

"It also simplifies and controls costs for the big data analytics process by re-integrating all hardware and software components into a single big data package that complements (existing) enterprise data warehouses," Ozbutun said.

Cloudera: Hadoop Interface Pioneer

Cloudera's was the first commercial implementation of the open-source data analytics package that came out of Yahoo's R&D division in 2006. Cloudera is an equal-opportunity Hadoop developer; last August, the company signed up to provide Oracle competitor Dell with a similar distribution.

The open source Cloudera Distribution with Apache Hadoop element in both the Oracle and Dell packages is the same distribution that Cloudera makes available for free download. Cloudera makes its money by providing production support and the Hadoop management system, Cloudera Manager. Oracle BDA ships with all three elements.

Hadoop is complicated software to deploy and utilize, and it lacked a user-friendly front end until Cloudera and others came in to add their interface expertise. Using Cloudera, Oracle's Big Data Appliance gives users a single source to deploy, manage and scale this Apache Hadoop-based stack.

On the hardware side, the Big Data Appliance comes in a full-rack configuration of 18 Oracle Sun servers with a total of 864GB main memory; 216 CPU cores; 648TB of raw disk storage; 40G bps InfiniBand connectivity between nodes and other Oracle engineered systems; and 10G bps Ethernet data center connectivity.

The new engineered-together system scales by connecting multiple racks together via an InfiniBand network--like Exadata and Exalogic--which enables it to acquire, organize and analyze extreme-size data volumes consisting of machine- and/or human-created data streams, Ozbutun said.

Included in the Big Data Appliance rack is Cloudera Manager and the Oracle NoSQL Database, which can scale horizontally to hundreds of nodes with high availability. The appliance can run both Oracle NoSQL Database Community and Enterprise Editions, Ozbutun said.

The appliance, which was announced at Oracle OpenWorld last September and costs $450,000, includes Oracle's Linux operating system to run the 18 Oracle Sun servers. Oracle's Big Data Connectors to other data warehouse cost $2,000 per processor license.

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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