Dubbed the HP Oracle Database Machine, the appliance is aimed squarely at challenging data warehousing vendors Teradata and Netezza. At the core of the product is the Exadata Storage Server, which can support up to 12TB of raw storage data and leverages InfiniBand connectivity.
Oracle officially pulled the covers off the product Sept. 24 at the Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco. The announcement had been cloaked in secrecy, with many people initially guessing the "database innovation" Oracle CEO Larry Ellison was going to discuss during his keynote had to do with Oracle Database 11g Release 2.
Each database machine contains 14 storage servers as well as eight Oracle database servers with 64 Intel processor cores. The hardware for the device will be manufactured exclusively by Hewlett-Packard.
Prior to the keynote, Oracle President Charles Phillips said the release of the hardware moves Oracle into a segment of the database business the company hadn't participated in. He pointed out, however, that this was not part of a move into general-purpose hardware by the company, only an extension of its database product line.
"It's a hardware product combined with software, essentially a database appliance, to compete directly against Teradata and Netezza," Phillips said. "If you look at IBM, they sell a lot of different hardware configurations but they actually don't package it in this way, they don't have anything directly comparable to this. In storage, everybody has some sort of storage, but none of them have the offloaded query processing."
Shifting the data-intensive part of query processing away from the database layer and putting it at the storage layer is a key part of the company's strategy for speeding up data warehousing. Performance bottlenecks are one of the main problems enterprises face in data warehousing, explained Charles Rozwat, executive vice president of product development at Oracle.
"There's storage and then there's database servers that actually do processing of the data, and the bandwidth between them is such ... it's just not fast enough to process all the data that's being requested," Rozwat said during an interview with eWEEK.
Oracle's solution is to reduce the amount of data flowing between the storage system and the database server and improve connectivity speed.
"With our storage software here, we actually do some of the processing down on that [storage] device as opposed to doing all of it back up in the database server," Rozwat said. "So we're shipping significantly less data back from the storage subsystem up to the database server, which is a huge speed-up."
The HP Oracle Database Machine and Exadata Storage Server are available now.