Oracle Exadata X3 gives customers a leg up on big data, analytics, and the cloud.
by Kate Pavao
In Juan Loaiza’s keynote at Oracle OpenWorld 2012, the senior vice president of systems technology called this the most exciting period of his 24 years in database development. And it’s no wonder; the newly announced Oracle Exadata X3—the world’s fastest database machine—delivers up to 40 percent faster response times, uses up to 30 percent less power, and stores massive amounts of enterprise data in memory.
“We optimized all aspects to make it much more effective, much higher in performance, much more reliable, and achieve time to value much more quickly,” Loaiza tells Profit. Here, he explains how Oracle’s strategy for integrated systems benefits customers, and he describes how Oracle Exadata X3 makes it easier for customers to load data, run reports, and move to the cloud.
Profit: How has Oracle’s “Engineered to Work Together” strategy changed the industry?
Loaiza: Vendors like Oracle that own a complete vertical stack—meaning applications, database, middleware, OS, and hardware—will have an advantage moving forward. We can create an integrated system for customers. This is going to change the industry from being extremely horizontally oriented to being much more vertically oriented, from emphasizing technology to emphasizing solutions.
Profit: How do customers benefit from this?
Customers are very excited about it. They see the transition that’s happening . . . and they can see that it’s going to provide big benefits.
Loaiza: An integrated system moves value toward customers. Nobody builds their own car. Nobody builds their own airplanes. Almost nobody builds their own house. So why are they building their own database systems? It’s actually very complicated to do that, especially as customers move to a scale-out architecture to improve performance. It makes much more sense to have a vendor like Oracle put it all together, test it, debug it, optimize it, check availability, support it, make it easy to use, and just give it to customers as a big, complete package.
Also, when thousands of users all over the world are using the same system and the same configuration, everyone benefits from a shared experience—especially because the Oracle development organization and Oracle Support are also using the same system. When one customer finds an issue, they tell us, we fix it, and then the whole world benefits from that. Compare that to a custom-built system, where you’re much more likely to run into a unique problem that nobody else in the world has experienced.
Profit: What’s new in the Oracle Exadata X3 database machine that Larry Ellison announced at Oracle OpenWorld?
Loaiza: The big highlight is that we’ve put a lot more memory into Oracle Exadata X3—both flash memory and RAM. Technology advances very quickly between generations, but normally very quickly means 20 to 30 percent a year. In Oracle Exadata X3, we’ve quadrupled the amount of flash memory.
There’s a lot of other new technology in Oracle Exadata X3, too. It has faster chips and uses less power, and we’ve introduced a number of new software algorithms to take better advantage of all the memory. And we introduced the Oracle Exadata X3 eighth-rack configuration, which is a more affordable version of Oracle Exadata.
Profit: How will Oracle Exadata X3 impact customers?
Loaiza: Customers are very excited about it. They see the transition that’s happening to memory-oriented configurations, and they can see that it’s going to provide big benefits.
Broadly, there are three big markets that Oracle Exadata is in: there’s OLTP [online transaction processing], warehousing, and consolidation or cloud.
Factor of growth predicted for global data volumes between 2009 and 2020 (Source: McKinsey Global Institute)
For OLTP, batch and write-intensive workloads are now going to run much faster. What used to take hours or days can now be done in minutes. For example, executives in Oracle’s PeopleSoft business unit reported that their quarterly close processing has improved by a factor of 20.
In the data warehousing world, the extra flash memory—along with Oracle’s compression technologies—means that most customers will be able to fit all their active data in memory. This allows customers to run scans faster and, therefore, run reports faster, too. Also, customers will be able to load new data into the warehouse much faster, particularly if the data is indexed.
Finally, when you move to a consolidation or cloud environment, you’re putting many different database systems into a single platform. If one database uses too much I/O, it can affect the performance of the other databases. One advantage of having all this flash memory technology is that we get 20 times better I/O capacity. You’re much less likely to run into a situation where one user or one application hogs all the I/O on the system. Plus, we also have other technologies to control how many resources each database in a consolidated environment uses. Oracle Exadata X3 is a much safer and more effective platform for database clouds.
Kate Pavao is a regular contributor to Profit.