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.”
New Oracle Exadata System Uses Custom Intel Xeon Chip
Intel is expanding its processor customization capabilities to address increasing demands from large end users—including online cloud businesses like Google and Facebook—for systems that are more optimized for their workloads. The giant chip maker already is expanding the number of versions of each chip it releases, but also is increasing the number of products it customizes for particular users.
Intel officials last month announced a program in which the giant chip maker will offer customizable Xeon E5 processors that integrate field-programmable gate array (FPGA) technology into the same package. FPGAs enable businesses to program the chips for one workload, and then reprogram them for another job.
Such capabilities are needed in a changing compute environment, according to Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Data Center and Connected Systems Group.
“Two significant changes are the move to software defined infrastructure (SDI) and the move to scale-out, distributed applications,” Bryant wrote in a post on the company blog when announcing the FPGA program. “The speed of application development and deployment of new services is rapid. The infrastructure must keep pace. It must move from statically configured to dynamic, from manually operated to fully automated, and from fixed function to open standard.”
She noted that last year Intel built 15 custom processors for particular customers, such as eBay and Facebook, and that there are more than twice as many products planned for 2014.
Intel’s Goldman said the chip maker has been working with Oracle since the early 1990s on optimization projects.
Oracle entered the hardware business after buying Sun Microsystems in 2010. The company has since focused much of its efforts on offering converged systems—what officials call engineered systems—aimed at particular workloads, such as Exadata for databases and Exalogic for clouds. According to numbers from IDC analysts, Oracle leads the integrated platforms space with 48 percent of the market.