One extreme performance deserves another, and ORACLE TEAM USA is pushing the performance boundaries even farther thanks to Oracle Exadata Database Machine.
"The absolute core of our technical performance analysis is based around collecting information while sailing, and processing it to provide useful feedback to the sailors and designers to improve the performance and design of the boat," says Ian 'Fresh' Burns, design team coordinator for ORACLE TEAM USA. "But we had outgrown our current hardware setup—our usage has grown dramatically, and it was getting relatively slow at serving up information."
With speed an essential element of success, it was clearly time to turn to Exadata's record-breaking performance.
"Now that we've got this machine, I think we're going to be able to do things very differently," says Asim Khan, performance database programmer and director of IT for ORACLE TEAM USA. "Combined with the 4G connection to the boat, we can now move large amounts of data rapidly and easily."
Oracle Exadata Database Machine uses the latest Intel® Xeon E5 and E7 families of processors. Extensive coengineering, testing, and validation by Oracle and Intel have yielded an optimal balance between processor, memory, and I/O resources to deliver extreme performance for demanding OLTP and data warehouse applications—and that's exactly the type of extreme performance ORACLE TEAM USA demands.
The team's Exadata currently holds about 80 gigabytes of weather information, boat data, and performance metadata from the current campaign, and Khan plans to migrate over the team's cache of historical data in the coming weeks.
Although the team has only had the system since April, Khan has already seen dramatic performance improvements with Exadata, which runs an optimized version of Oracle Database 11g that's tuned for speed. "When you look at CPU-intensive tasks, there is roughly a 10 times speed improvement, while I/O-intensive tasks have improved by roughly 20 percent," says Khan, who expects that performance will continue to improve.
For Khan, however, the real satisfaction lies in how fast he can get critical information to the sailors as they come off the water. "When they come back, they want to look at the numbers and get some objective sense of whether things were running well or not, so we'll look for standout variables in a certain time period to validate whatever they felt out on the water," he says.
The old systems took 30 to 40 minutes to collect, import, and run the reports—a long wait for sailing team members who have already put in a full day. But it's important to get them that data while the sail is still fresh in their memories, says Khan. "If you wait until the next day, they've lost a lot of information that was fresh in their memories. So getting that time from 40 minutes to 10 is critical, and that's where Exadata is making a huge difference."