Oracle Launches Low-Cost Storage Initiative

Using the same "tie together cheap boxes" mindset that it cooked up for its Database 10g push, this time Oracle is applying the idea to cheap storage arrays.

Oracle Corp. is using the same "tie together cheap boxes" mindset that it cooked up for its Database 10g push, but this time, its applying the idea to cheap storage arrays.

The company earlier this week announced the Resilient Low-Cost Storage Initiative, in which its teaming up with storage vendors Apple Computer Inc., Dell Inc., EMC Corp., Engenio Information Technologies Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., MPC Computers LLC and Network Appliance Inc.

Andy Mendelsohn, Oracles senior vice president of Database Server Technologies, told that Oracle is determined to use the initiative to show customers how they can use storage boxes that are entering the market at the low end and which have been greeted initially with a hairy eyeball.

"Were showing how you can use Serial ATA storage, which people running data warehouses pooh-pooh, saying that the reliability is too low," Mendelsohn said. "Now we say you can run a lot—[although] maybe not the high-end mission-critical [stuff]."

Oracle has done "a lot of work" to make sure customers can run grids on these low-cost boxes, which include EMC and Dells AX100 and HPs MSA 1500, entry-level SANs (storage area networks) that came out this spring and summer, respectively.

While these boxes are "not as capable" as highly scalable servers, given that they typically can hold only 14 or 15 drives, Oracles ability to network them and spread the load across a database storage grid paints an entirely different picture in terms of scalability and reliability, according to Juan Loaiza, Oracles vice president of systems technologies.

"Traditionally, people have used fairly high-cost storage for databases in general," said Loaiza, in Redwood Shores, Calif. "Similar to the way things have been done on the server side, where they use high-cost servers.

"We introduced RAC [Real Application Clusters] on the server side to tie together low-cost servers. This is the same idea on the storage side: Buy several low-cost storage servers and we spread our data across those to ensure high availability and performance."

Next Page: What a low-cost storage array needs.