As Published In
Oracle Magazine
November/December 2009


Announcing Oracle Exadata V2

By Jeff Erickson

The first database machine for online transaction processing

Oracle and Sun Microsystems have announced a new database machine that delivers Oracle Exadata V2—and a lot more. The Sun Oracle Database Machine is the world’s fastest for any type of database workload, and it’s the only database machine that does online transaction processing (OLTP).

The new machine takes up where Oracle Exadata V1 left off. “Version 1 was the fastest database machine in the world,” says Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, noting that Oracle Exadata V1 customers have reported performance of 10 times to more than 50 times faster than that of their other data warehousing systems. Citing independent benchmarks, Ellison says that Oracle Exadata V2 is twice as fast as Oracle Exadata V1 for data warehousing. But what’s more interesting about Oracle Exadata V2, he says, is that the new machine also does OLTP, something that competitors such as Netezza and Teradata cannot do. The Sun Oracle Database Machine is the “fastest machine in the world for data warehousing, but now it’s by far the fastest machine in the world for online transaction processing,” says Ellison.

Oracle Exadata Smart Flash Cache

At the heart of the Sun Oracle Database Machine is the Oracle Exadata Storage Server, which has smart storage software that offloads data-intensive query processing from Oracle Database 11g servers and brings it closer to the data.

New to Oracle Exadata V2 is Oracle Exadata Smart Flash Cache, based on Sun FlashFire technology. Oracle Exadata Smart Flash Cache addresses the random disk I/O bottleneck by transparently moving “hot data” to Sun FlashFire cards. A smart memory hierarchy allows Oracle Exadata V2 to process transactions faster. “We can do random I/O very quickly. In fact, a single-rack Sun Oracle Database Machine can do over a million random I/Os in a second,” says Ellison.

John Fowler, executive vice president at Sun Microsystems, has a technical term for a machine that can deliver that kind of extreme performance: “ridiculous,” he says with a smile. While Fowler agrees that Sun’s FlashFire technology is a key component of the million random I/Os delivered by a single-rack database machine, the machine’s overall performance is a product of integrated engineering. “It’s about bringing together the network, the server technology, and the storage technology to create database performance that has never been achieved out of a single machine ever before.”

Available and Efficient Architecture

Next Steps

LEARN more about
Oracle Exadata V2
Sun Oracle Database Machine

The componentized, massively parallel architecture of the Sun Oracle Database Machine allows it to be expanded incrementally by adding storage servers, database servers, and network switches to its fault-tolerant grid architecture. “Data is mirrored across storage servers, and Oracle RAC [Oracle Real Application Clusters] creates a grid of compute servers,” says Ellison. “Any of the components can fail, and the machine keeps running. There is no single point of failure in this box.”

Fowler adds that Oracle Exadata V2 using Sun hardware delivers 14 percent better power efficiency than Oracle Exadata V1. “For people who are focused on delivering performance at the minimum possible power, this is another breakthrough technical capability,” he says.

Choose and Deploy

The Sun Oracle Database Machine is available in four models: a full rack (8 database servers and 14 Oracle Exadata Storage Servers), a half-rack (4 database servers and 7 storage servers), a quarter-rack (2 database servers and 3 storage servers), and a basic system (1 database server and 1 storage server).

On a price-performance basis, Ellison says, Oracle Exadata V2 costs significantly less than competing systems from IBM and other manufacturers—and that’s before a customer figures in the cost of configuration. “All of the hardware and all of the software is preconfigured,” says Ellison. “You get it in the morning, and you’re running by the afternoon with your existing applications unchanged.”


Jeff Erickson is a senior editor with Oracle Publishing.

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