New Oracle Exadata System Uses Custom Intel Xeon Chip

Oracle's Exadata Database Machine X4-8 is powered by a custom 15-core Xeon E7 v2 processor optimized for database workloads.

Oracle Exadata

Oracle is rolling out its latest Exadata database system, which officials said is aimed at such new workloads as database in-memory and is powered by an Intel Xeon E7 v2 chip customized for the software giant's converged solution.

Oracle officials on July 17 unveiled the Exadata Database Machine X4-8, which they said offers up to 6 terabytes per compute node for up to 12TB per rack, twice the Infiniband interconnect speed of the previous generation due to a new PCIe card, almost twice the local disk space, and up to 672TB of disk storage and 44TB of PCI flash per rack.

In addition, the new system leverages the 15 processing cores in the customized Xeon E7 v2 chips to offer 50 percent more database compute cores, according to Oracle officials.

The new Exadata system—which includes 240 CPU cores, two eight-socket database servers and 14 Oracle Exadata storage servers, intelligent storage, PCI flash cards and 40G-bps Infiniband connectivity—can run any type of traditional database workloads, from online transaction processing and data warehousing, company officials said. However, it is optimized for database in-memory and database-as-a-service (DBaaS) jobs, they said. The system is designed to consolidate massive numbers of databases and run them entirely in-memory.

"Exadata Database Machine X4-8 … provides an ideal platform for Oracle Database In-Memory," Juan Loaiza, senior vice president for systems technology at Oracle, said in a statement. The system "enables customers to evolve into real-time enterprises."

A key to the new system's capabilities is the customized Xeon E7-8895 v2 processor, which can elastically scale the frequency and number of active cores that can deliver the peak performance for workloads. Such capabilities are becoming increasingly important as businesses have to deal with the influx of data generated by such trends as cloud computing, big data, mobile computing and the burgeoning Internet of things, and find ways to respond quickly to rapidly changing business demands.

The customized Xeon E7 v2 chip is an example of what can be done when Intel and software companies work together to optimize the chip for the software and the software for the chip, according to Intel CTO Edward Goldman.

"In our most recent collaboration with Oracle on their Exadata X4-8 engineered system, we created an optimized SKU of our latest Intel Xeon processor E7 v2 family, that when coupled with Oracle software enhancements allowed them to deliver an 'elastic' compute environment for their customers," Goldman wrote in a post on the Intel blog. "This elastic computing solution required optimization of the Intel Xeon processor E7-8895 v2 SKU and changes in Oracle software to allow Oracle applications to dynamically scale the frequency and number of cores available to Oracle software in order to maximize application throughput. This type of collaboration requires complete understanding of what the software is doing, and what the hardware can do better to take advantage of the software capabilities."