Oracle, Sun Show Off Super-Fast, Flash-Based OLTP Server

Dubbed the Exadata Database Machine Version 2, the new server package is a Sun server-and-storage combination loaded with lots of flash memory to run Oracle 11g Release 2 -- the first flash-enabled database, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said.

Oracle and its soon-to-be-acquired partner, Sun Microsystems, made their first joint product announcement since the April 20 merger announcement on Sept. 15 when they unveiled a souped-up, NAND flash-based database server designed for both enterprise-level data warehousing and extreme-performance online transaction processing.
As the trend has been playing out for the last two years, it's all about solid-state data center hardware moving to the fore.

Oracle founder and CEO Larry Ellison and Sun Executive Vice President John Fowler spoke for their companies in the press/analyst briefing, which was produced as a Webcast.

Oracle and Sun obviously are not bothering to wait until final approvals of the acquisition are handed down by the European Commission, which probably won't happen until mid-October. The U.S. Department of Justice, charged with enforcing antitrust law, tendered its approval of the deal on Aug. 20.
Dubbed the Exadata Database Machine Version 2, the new server package is a Sun server-and-storage combination loaded with lots of flash memory to run Oracle 11g Release 2-the first flash-enabled database, Ellison said.
The package is tuned for specific duty in scale-out data archiving and for high-performance transactional use. It employs standard Sun hardware components plus Sun's solid-state FlashFire memory cards to go with Oracle's Exadata Storage Server Software Release 11.2, Ellison said.

The Oracle storage software will orchestrate potential raw disk capacity of 100 TB (SAS) or 336 TB (SATA) per rack.

Ellison said the Sun Oracle Database Machine Version 2 is twice as fast as Version 1 for data warehousing.

"Exadata Version 1 was [at the time] the world's fastest machine for data warehousing applications," said Ellison. "Exadata Version 2 is twice as fast as Exadata V1 for data warehousing, and it's the only database machine that runs OLTP [online transaction processing] applications.

"Exadata V2 runs virtually all database applications much faster and less expensively than any other computer in the world," Ellison said.

Using the new server/storage combination, users can store more than 10 times the amount of data and search data 10 times faster without making any changes to applications, Fowler said.

Other features of Exadata Version 2 include Intel Xeon (Nehalem) processors, 600GB SAS disks at 6G bps, DDR3 memory, a 72GB-per-database server, 40G-bps InfiniBand connectivity, and raw disk capacity of 100TB (SAS) or 336TB (SATA) per rack.
IBM's Take on the New Server

Bernie Spang, IBM's director of data management product strategy, told eWEEK's Brian Prince, "Oracle's plans for Oracle Database and Sun hardware sounded very similar to what IBM announced in July with the Smart Analytics System-highlighting high performance and low costs.

"Looking at last year's Exadata announcement, there was a significant difference between the cost in the announcement versus the true costs; e.g., they left out the Oracle software costs."

It was "interesting that this is an x86-based system after they [Oracle] ran full-page ads attempting to calm fears regarding commitment to Sun's SPARC," Spang said.

"They can talk all they want about cheap configurations, based on Intel chips, calling into question the commitment to SPARC, but customers want more than raw performance, and when they look at the total package it appears they are all coming to [IBM's] Power [servers]," Spang said.

"IBM has logged 1,760 customer wins in its Power servers from 2006 through the second quarter '09, including 815 versus Sun (250 in 1H09 alone) and 753 versus HP," he said. "That's an average of one customer per day moving to IBM. And on top of that, more than 100 SAP clients alone have switched from Oracle Database to DB2 in the last six months for higher performance and lower cost. IBM has the technology lead across servers, storage and database software-this trend will continue."

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...