Oracle's Ellison Introduces Exalogic: New Cloud-in-a-Box System

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison moves Oracle's cloud strategy into a new phase with a system that features hardware and software to run public and private clouds.

SAN FRANCISCO-Oracle has announced a new system that enables enterprises to run their own cloud in a self-contained system.

When it comes to cloud computing, Oracle agrees more with Amazon Web Services' definition than's. That's why the company has announced its own cloud-in-a-box system, known as Oracle Exalogic.

During his keynote address opening the Oracle OpenWorld 2010 here on Sept. 19, Oracle Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison announced the new system-the Exalogic Elastic Compute Cloud, or a "cloud in a box," that is a system of "hardware and software engineered to work together to run all your apps."

The sleek-looking box sporting the joint Sun and Oracle logos features 30 servers with 360 cores, as well as networking and storage. It also features Oracle's own virtual machine (VM) technology and two guest operating systems-Solaris and Linux. Indeed, the entire stack of software in the Exalogic system includes the core Exalogic software, the operating system, Oracle's JRockit and HotSpot, and WebLogic and the Oracle Coherence caching solution.

"The Coherence software synchronizes the logic to create the illusion that there is one central memory system," Ellison said.

Ellison started his keynote striving to describe what the cloud means to Oracle. He asked if it means what it means to, which he called 10+ year-old software-as-a-service (SAAS) technology, or if Oracle's view is more in line with that of AWS.

Never one to be shy, Ellison ripped as really being "one or two apps on the Internet-sales and services apps. But it's really not a platform, it is not virtualized; in fact it's just the opposite. It has weak security, it's not fault-tolerant, it's not secure and it's not elastic."

However, "Oracle agrees with," Ellison said. "We believe it [the cloud] is a platform-a standards-based application development and execution platform. It includes hardware and software. It is virtual and elastic, and it runs a variety of apps."

However, despite his praise and the fact that imitation is the best form of flattery, Ellison admitted that Exalogic and Oracle's accompanying Fusion apps that will run on it are specifically targeting AWS.

Thus, the new Oracle Exalogic system has the fastest Java performance available, Ellison said. It features elastic capacity, and it's fault-tolerant, scalable, secure and easily maintained. It is so easily maintained that users can patch all the software on the system by downloading one file from Oracle.

In terms of performance, Ellison showed benchmark results that showed the Exalogic system having a 12 times improvement in Internet applications performance. Indeed, the system can support more than 1 million HTTP requests per second. "That means we could handle Facebook's traffic on two racks." In addition, Ellison said the Exalogic system showed a 4.5 times improvement over previous systems running messaging applications, meaning the system can handle 1.8 million messages per second.

Moreover, the Exalogic system costs less to run, he said. The system is faster and four times lower cost than IBM's best server, Ellison claimed. He said the Exalogic can scale to up to eight racks, whereas IBM's top Power 795 system cannot.

In another announcement, Ellison said Oracle has delivered a new version of Linux that slightly differs from the Red Hat Linux system Oracle's existing offering is based on.

"Red Hat is four years behind the times with Linux, which is a huge problem for us," Ellison said. "We can't afford to be four years behind in software." Therefore, Oracle is announcing it new Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel, which is five times faster in some cases, he said.

Ellison then preannounced a few other bits of news, including that Oracle will announce a new online transactional processing (OLTP) machine on Sept. 20.

He also noted that Joanne Olsen, who had recently been tied up in an employee poaching lawsuit between Oracle and IBM, will be heading up Oracle's new cloud services division. Olsen will address the Oracle OpenWorld attendees later in the conference, he said. IBM sued Olsen after she left the Big Blue systems giant and Oracle leveled its own countersuit. However, the two companies settled their differences in August. At IBM, Olsen had held the position of general manager of IBM Business Continuity and Resiliency Services, among the many positions she held at the company during her more than 30-year tenure there.