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June 2013

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Q&A: Oracle SVP Loaiza on the Development of Oracle Exadata Database Machine X3

Oracle Exadata Database Machine is redefining the future of computing. Recently, Juan Loaiza, Oracle's senior vice president of systems technology, sat down with the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG) Director of Communities, Alex Gorbachev, to reflect on the journey that led to the creation of the next-generation Oracle Exadata Database Machine X3.The following is an excerpt of that interview.

A 24-year Oracle veteran, Loaiza joined Oracle in 1988 and has contributed to every Oracle Database release since Oracle Version 6. Currently, he is in charge of developing mission-critical capabilities of Oracle Database, such as data and transaction management, high availability, performance, backup and recovery, enterprise replication, and Oracle Exadata Database Machine.

Q. What was the initial inspiration to create an engineered solution: Oracle Exadata?
A. In the early 2000s, our customers started experiencing bottlenecks, particularly in warehouse systems, but also in online transaction processing (OLTP) systems—areas where the hardware wasn’t really keeping up. We started a project to design the best possible hardware platform for Oracle Database. In doing so, we took into account decades of experience to determine the ideal platform for running Oracle Database. This process generated the Oracle Exadata platform as we know it today.

Q. How did Oracle's acquisition of Sun contribute to the delivery of Oracle Exadata?
A. Oracle has always worked very closely with Sun, but of course, when Sun became part of Oracle, our relationship became that much closer. We also had a very clear directive from Larry Ellison that engineered systems were critical to Oracle’s overall strategy. When you are a single company and the direction is set very clearly by the leadership, then the hardware and the software integration can advance much faster.

Q. Briefly describe how Oracle Exadata has evolved over the three major releases.
A. When Oracle Exadata first launched, it was really a purely disk-based system. We added Flash in Oracle Exadata X2. However, it remained an on-disk system that only used Flash for acceleration.

The big change with Oracle Exadata X3 is that we’ve quadrupled the Flash memory capacity—22 terabytes in the Oracle Exadata X3 full rack. At the same time, enhanced software helps us use that Flash memory very effectively.

So between compression technologies, 22 terabytes of Flash per rack, and the new technologies that put all the I/Os in Flash, the vast majority of customers can fit all of their active data in Flash. That really represents a turning point, not just for us but for the whole industry.

Q. Any other exciting features in Oracle Exadata Database Machine X3?
A. First, we've continued to keep applications front and center. The latest version has been designed to work really well for all kinds of applications, including OLTP, warehousing, mixed workloads, and clouds. I also think the move to Flash and dynamic random-access memory technology—in-memory technology—is going to improve across all kinds of applications.

The latest release also helps drive consolidation. When you're consolidating a lot of databases or putting a lot of databases into the cloud, you have to worry about I/O capacity. In response, we essentially increased the headroom of the system by about 20 times on the I/O side. That means you don’t have to worry nearly as much about one database in a consolidated environment swamping out all the other databases.

Finally, thanks to new airflow design and a new generation of fans—plus the increased efficiency of high-capacity disks themselves, we've lowered power and cooling by about 30 percent.

Read the full interview with Loaiza in the Northern California Users Group May 2013 NoCOUG Journal.

Learn more about Oracle Exadata Database Machine X3.

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