As Published In
Oracle Magazine
November/December 2010


Hardware and Software, Engineered to Work Together

By Rich Schwerin


Oracle debuts dozens of products and technologies at Oracle OpenWorld, JavaOne, and Oracle Develop.

From the opening keynote through the final session, Oracle unveiled dozens of new products and technologies during Oracle OpenWorld, JavaOne, and Oracle Develop 2010 in San Francisco, California. “This week, we’ve announced more new technology innovations than at any time in the history of Oracle,” said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison during his second keynote address at Oracle OpenWorld. Two of the products introduced at Oracle OpenWorld—Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud and Oracle’s Exadata Database Machine X2-8—exemplify Oracle’s focus on integrating its software with next-generation hardware, Ellison said. “If you engineer hardware and software to work together, you get a much better overall system,” he explained, “and the overall user experience is better.”

Ellison summarized those two key product announcements, as well as several others, including Oracle Fusion Applications and Oracle’s Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel. He also offered a roadmap for the Java platform. 

Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud

Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud is an integrated hardware and software system that provides a complete cloud application infrastructure for consolidating a wide range of Java and non-Java application types and workloads. Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud combines 30 64-bit x86 processors, an InfiniBand-based I/O fabric, and solid-state storage with Oracle WebLogic Server, other enterprise Java middleware products, and a choice of Oracle Solaris or Oracle Linux operating system software.

“Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud is a complete system of servers, network, storage, VM [virtual machine], operating system, and middleware, all engineered to work together,” said Ellison. “This delivers stunning results, including the fastest Java performance, elastic capacity on demand, and a completely fault-tolerant system.”

Engineered for large-scale, mission-critical deployments, Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud provides the foundation for enterprise-class multitenancy or cloud applications. Ellison explained that it can support thousands of applications, making it an ideal platform for enterprisewide datacenter consolidation. “Exalogic runs everything. It’s a cloud in a box,” said Ellison. “Exalogic is Big Iron without a big price. It replaces millions of dollars of hardware and software, it’s a much lower-cost solution than a configuration delivering similar performance, plus it’s fault tolerant with no single points of failure, unlike IBM’s SMP [symmetric multiprocessing] boxes.”

Exadata Database Machine X2-8

The Exadata Database Machine X2-8 is the latest addition to the Oracle Exadata Database Machine product family, and it delivers a high-capacity system for high-volume online transaction processing (OLTP), data warehousing, and consolidated workloads. The Exadata Database Machine X2-8 runs Oracle Database 11g, Oracle Real Application Clusters, Oracle Enterprise Manager, and Oracle Exadata Storage Software to provide software, servers, storage, and networking. Supported operating systems include Oracle’s Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel for Oracle Linux and Oracle Solaris Express 11.

“The newest Exadata system, X2-8, has all of the advantages of the current Exadata, but more,” said Oracle President Mark Hurd at his Oracle OpenWorld keynote address, who described it as a secure, fault-tolerant, complete grid, or private cloud. “[It has] beefier processors in the database to handle more users, two 8-processor Intel servers, and 2 terabytes of memory to hold large amounts of data. The advantage is speed—raw speed.

The Exadata Database Machine X2-8 features two 8-socket database servers with a total of 128 Intel CPU cores and 2 terabytes of memory; 14 Exadata Storage Servers with 168 Intel CPU cores and up to 336 terabytes of raw storage capacity; more than 5 terabytes of Oracle Exadata’s Smart Flash Cache; 40-gigabit InfiniBand internal connectivity; and 10-gigabit Ethernet external connectivity.

Oracle Fusion Applications

Delivered as a complete suite of modular applications, Oracle Fusion Applications—the next generation of Oracle’s business applications—coexist with existing Oracle Applications, and include more than 100 modules in seven different product families for a range of industries and geographies, including financial management; procurement and sourcing; project and portfolio management; human capital management; customer relationship management; supply chain management; and governance, risk, and compliance modules.

“Oracle Fusion Applications are built using industry standards–based Java middleware, and integrated with business intelligence [BI], not just process automation,” said Ellison, outlining the key design principles. “The user experience is modern, consistent, and productive, with Web 2.0, social networking, and collaboration built in. And they’re SOA based, to simplify integration, and SaaS [software as a service] ready.”

Ellison, who described the launch of Oracle Fusion Applications as the largest in Oracle’s history, detailed the three key benefits of Oracle Fusion Applications: a SOA, which gives users the ability to manage functions across a heterogeneous environment; a role-based user experience; and embedded BI.

“Oracle Fusion Applications bring a new era of application software and technology investments going forward,” said Steve Miranda, senior vice president of application development at Oracle, during his keynote address. “[They] define how organizations innovate, work, and adopt technology.”

Oracle’s Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel for Oracle Linux

Oracle’s Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel for Oracle Linux—a fast, modern, reliable Linux kernel that is optimized for Oracle software and hardware—is based on the combined efforts of Oracle’s Linux, database, middleware, and hardware engineering teams. Both Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud and the Exadata Database Machine X2-8 rely on the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel for extreme Linux performance.

“We spend considerable effort to find and repair regressions, and we do a lot of enhancements to Linux,” said Ellison. “As we build these high-end Linux machines, we can’t afford to be four years behind in software.” While Oracle continues to offer a Red Hat Enterprise Linux–compatible kernel, the new Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel is built and tested to run Oracle hardware, databases, and middleware with the best Linux performance and reliability available. “It’s now the only Linux kernel Oracle recommends for use with Oracle software,” said Ellison.

In tests versus a Red Hat–compatible kernel, the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel boosts OLTP performance more than 75 percent, accelerates InfiniBand messaging 200 percent, and is 137 percent faster in solid-state disk access. It provides optimizations for large Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) servers, improved power management and energy efficiency, and fine-grained CPU and memory resource control.

Java Roadmap

At his JavaOne keynote address, Thomas Kurian, executive vice president of product development at Oracle, outlined plans for the future of the Java platform and demonstrated the latest Java technology innovations.

Next Steps

LEARN more about
 Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud

 Oracle’s Exadata Database Machine X2-8

 Oracle Fusion Applications

 Oracle’s Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel for Oracle Linux


“With our increased investment in the Java platform, a sharp focus on features that deliver value to the community, and a relentless focus on performance, the Java language and platform have a bright future,” said Kurian. “Oracle remains committed to OpenJDK as the best open source Java implementation, and we will continue to improve OpenJDK and welcome external contributors.”

Kurian’s presentation and product demonstrations highlighted four key areas of Java technology: Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE); Java on the client; Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE); and Java on devices. Oracle is advancing the Java platform and optimizing it for new application models and hardware, including extended support for scripting languages, increased developer productivity, and lower operational costs, Kurian said.

Oracle is also planning an enhanced programming model that combines the power of Java with the ease of JavaFX to deliver advanced 2-D, 3-D, and vector graphics; high-fidelity media; and the best HTML 5, JavaScript, and CSS Web capabilities—along with native Java platform support.

Oracle is supporting the evolution of Java EE to make application servers more modular and programming more efficient, with improvements such as dependency injection and reduced configuration requirements. Oracle is also working to modernize the Java mobile platform by delivering Java with Web support to consumer devices.

“We are really excited about Java,” Kurian concluded. “We are committed to giving you the world’s best programming language, the world’s most popular deployment platform, and the ability to build really amazing graphics and other kinds of clients, all in Java.”


Rich Schwerin is Oracle Magazine’s features editor. Previously he was senior product marketing manager for Linux and open source at Oracle.



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