Exadata Database Machine and Oracle Database Software Features

Exadata and Database software features, focused on all Oracle Database workloads. Each tile represents an area of focus for Exadata. Click the tiles to view software and database features that relate to the area you are interested in. Click the heading to be directed to the documentation, or click "Explore More" for a more in-depth look at the feature.

Focus on Analytics
# Software Features

Exadata extreme performance does not just improve business efficiency, it enables business users to make smarter decisions, discover growth opportunities, and reduce costs. Users can analyze data in real-time, explore different possibilities, and perform rapid iterations to find better solutions. Here are just some of the software features that enable Exadata's extreme performance for Analytics workloads:

Row Filtering and Column Projection

Smart Scan technology offloads data intensive SQL operations from the database servers onto the storage servers, allowing data filtering and processing to occur immediately and in parallel across all storage servers.

Hybrid Columnar Compression

An innovative method of organizing data within a database table that uses a combination of both row and columnar methods for storing data. This hybrid approach achieves the compression benefits of columnar storage, while avoiding the performance shortfalls of a pure columnar format.

Storage Index Data Skipping

Maintained automatically, transparent to the Oracle Database, Exadata Storage Indexes are an extremely powerful feature of Oracle Exadata System Software that enables storage servers to avoid I/O operations.

I/O Resource Management

I/O Resource Management (IORM) is a tool for managing how multiple databases and the workloads within the databases share I/O resources.

Smart Flash Caching for Table Scans

Exadata Smart Flash Cache intelligently determines the data that is most useful to cache based on data usage, access patterns, and hints from the database that indicate the type of data being accessed. It also avoids caching data that will never be reused or will not fit into the cache.

Automatic Data Columnarization

If you are running the Oracle Database In-Memory option, Exadata will automatically store data in columnar format in the flash cache if it will improve performance.

Focus on OLTP
# Software Features

The combination of Oracle Database software, Exadata System software, and Exadata infrastructure enables several additional unique capabilities that offer unparalleled performance levels for OLTP workloads. Here are just some of the software features that enable Exadata's unparalleled OLTP performance:

Shared Exadata RDMA Memory Data Accelerator

Exadata RDMA Memory (XRMEM) in the Exadata Storage Servers is leveraged as a shared read accelerator, enabling orders of magnitude lower latency accessing remotely stored data.

Database Aware NVMe Flash

Exadata uniquely understands database workloads. High performing NVMe flash storage technology is deployed in Exadata Storage Servers as an automatic caching tier, while most data is kept in very cost-effective disk (or capacity-optimized flash in Extreme Flash storage servers) storage. Caching occurs automatically and requires no user or administrator effort. Exadata knows when to avoid caching data that will negatively affect overall performance.

Smart Flash Caching

Exadata automatically caches frequently accessed data while keeping infrequently accessed data on disk, delivering the high I/O rates and fast response times of flash with the large capacity and low cost of disk.

Smart Flash Logging

Smart Flash Logging improves transaction response times by accelerating performance-critical log write operations.

Smart Write-back Flash Cache

Enables database write I/Os directly to Exadata Storage Server's Smart Flash Cache technology, taking advantage of the fast latencies provided by flash, absorbing write-intensive workloads and saving I/O bandwidth that can then be used to increase application throughput or service other workloads.

Exafusion Direct-to-Wire Protocol

Exafusion is the next generation of networking protocol using Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA), which allows RAC messages to be directly written to the network, bypassing the OS kernel and any overheads and context switches it would cause.

Database Intelligent Network Resource Management

Exadata automatically and transparently prioritizes critical database network messages through the Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) network fabric ensuring fast response times for latency critical operations. Prioritization is implemented in the database, database server RoCE adapters, Exadata Storage Server Software, Storage RoCE adapters, and RoCE Network Fabric switches to ensure end to end prioritization.

Cell-to-Cell Rebalance preserving Exadata RDMA Memory amd Flash Cache

Data rebalancing across storage servers may occur for a variety of reasons including maintenance, real, or predictive failures. When a rebalance operation moves data to a different storage server, some data might be cached in Exadata RDMA memory (XRMEM) or flash cache which is also rebalanced preserving both performance and availability of the data.

Fast Data File Creation

Exadata utilizes write-back flash cache to persist the metadata of the new data file being created, rather than writing the newly formatted blocks to disk, more than doubling the speed at which new data files are created.

Control of Flash Cache Size per Database

With multiple databases, and pluggable databases (PDBs) sharing the storage, flash cache space becomes a critical resource that needs to be managed. I/O Resource Management (IORM) can reserve space for critical databases or PDBs while preventing less important or rogue entities from consuming the entire flash cache.

In-Memory OLTP Acceleration

For InfiniBand based Exadata X6, X7, and X8 generations, Exadata Storage Servers provide a memory-based cache in front of flash cache. When buffers are aged out of the database buffer cache, the database notifies the cells so that the cell RAM cache can be populated with these buffers according to caching policies.

Focus on High Availability
# Software Features
Instant Detection of Node or Cell Failure

Exadata uses heartbeats to detect the failure of various components. Server failure detection normally requires many missed heartbeats to avoid a false failure diagnosis. Exadata uniquely uses remote direct memory access (RDMA) on the RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) network to quickly confirm server failures. Since RDMA uses hardware, the remote ports respond quickly even when the server is heavily loaded.

In-Memory Fault Tolerance

A unique feature on Exadata for the In-Memory column store is In-Memory fault tolerance. All in-memory sections for a table in the column store can be populated into the memory of two database instances on different database servers in the same Real Application Clusters (RAC). This means that if any instance fails, there is zero application impact from having to repopulate the lost IMCUs since each IMCU is safe on another instance.

Offload backups to storage servers

Exadata Storage Server offload capability combined with RMAN block change tracking will efficiently perform large I/Os at the storage-tier level, returning only individual changed blocks for incremental backups and increasing the backup performance of the system.

Exadata Data Validation (extended H.A.R.D.)

Exadata Hardware Assisted Resilient Data (HARD) validation provides a unique level of validation for Oracle block data structures such as data block address, checksum and magic numbers prior to allowing a write to physical disks. HARD validation on Exadata is automatic.

Prioritize Recovery of Critical Database Files

Using Exadata I/O Resource Management (IORM), Exadata Storage Servers can raise or lower the prioritization and scheduling of I/O related to Recovery Manager (RMAN) backup and copy operations. Automatic and dynamic resource management ensures I/O intensive backup operations do not interfere with other database operations. Conversely, Exadata Storage Servers raise the prioritization of I/O for database datafile restore and recovery operations.

Preservation of Storage Index on Rebalance

Data rebalancing across storage servers may occur for a variety of reasons including maintenance, real, or predictive failures. Storage Indexes represent physical storage regions within a Storage Server. When data that is also represented in a Storage Index is rebalanced, the associated Storage Index data is also maintained to ensure ongoing efficacy.

Focus on Manageability
# Software Features
Real-Time Insight

Real-Time Insight enables the Exadata infrastructure to automatically stream up-to-the-second metric observations from all servers in your Exadata fleet to customizable monitoring dashboards for real-time analysis and problem-solving.

EXAchk full-stack validation

Oracle EXAchk provides a lightweight and non-intrusive health check framework for the Oracle stack of software and hardware components of Exadata.

Oracle Embedded Integrated Lights Out Manager with upgrade pre-staging optimizations

Exadata Hardware - Database and Storage Servers - all contain an embedded Integrated Lights Out Manager (ILOM) for remote system management. ILOM version 5 on X7 Exadata Database Mahine and newer generations pre-stages firmware updates during patching to reduce the overall patch window for database and storage servers.

Oracle Enterprise Manager Exadata Plug-in

Oracle Enterprise Manager is uniquely positioned to monitor and manage Oracle Exadata hardware and software by virtue of its plug-in architecture. As new Exadata hardware generations and software features are released, Enterprise Manager is able enhance managebility of Exadata in lock-step.

Exposure of Exadata metrics in Automatic Workload Repository

Oracle Database Automatic Workload Repository (AWR) is enhanced on Oracle Exadata with Storage Server performance metrics included alongside Oracle wait event metrics to speed up database performance management and tuning tasks. AWR collects and stores performance metrics for all key Exadata performance metrics including from Exadata RDMA Memory (XRMEM), Flash Cache, and HDD devices.

Cell software transparent restart

Exadata System Software is self monitoring and self restarting. Using a regular heatbeat check to core Exadata software processes, the Restart Server daemon automatically ensures constant availbility of key functions.

Automatic Disk Scrub and Repair

Exadata System Software automatically inspects hard disk drives for bad sectors to detect and prevent silent data corruptions. If bad sectors are detected, Exadata automatically repairs the sectors using mirror copies.

Trusted Partitions for Oracle Linux Virtualization

Oracle Exadata may be configured as either a "bare metal" or virtualized deployment. When deployed with Virtual Machines (VM), using KVM on X8M-2 and newer, or Oracle Virtual Machine (OVM) on X8 and earlier, the VMs are considered by Oracle to be Trusted Partitions and Oracle Database and Options may be licensed at the VM level rather than the physical processor level in the database servers.

Automated VLAN Creation

Oracle Exadata Deployment Assistant (OEDA) and Exadata support the use and creation of VLANs on database and storage servers enabling network isolation of database servers and VMs on shared Exadata infrastructure.

Oracle Exadata Deployment Assistant

Oracle Exadata Deployment Assistant (OEDA) is a comprehensive graphical and command line tool to facilitate both initial deployment, and ongoing lifecycle operations including: adding new database and storage servers, creation of new VMs and clusters, installation of Oracle Database releases and release updates, upgrade of Oracle Grid Infrastructure, and more.

Command-line management of Database Servers

The Oracle Exadata Database Machine Command-Line Interface (DBMCLI) utility is used to manage database servers and objects related to database servers, including users, roles, alerts, and metrics.

Command-line management of Storage Servers

The Oracle Exadata Storage Cell Command-Line Interface (CellCLI) utility is used to manage storage servers and objects related to storage servers, including, Smart Flash Cache, Exadata RDMA Memory (XRMEM), I/O Resource Manager (IORM), quarantine, grid disks, cell disks, alerts, and metrics.

Command-line management of remote servers

The Oracle Exadata Command-Line Interface (ExaCLI) utility manages remote database and storage servers using the same commands and objects as those supported by DBMCLI and CellCLI.

Distributed command-line automation tool

The Oracle Exadata Distributed Command-Line (dcli) utility runs operating system commands on multiple servers in parallel threads. The target servers can be Exadata Storage Servers or Exadata Database Servers.

Distributed command-line automation tool for ExaCLI

The Oracle Exadata Distributed Command-Line utility for ExaCLI (exadcli) enables parallel execution of ExaCLI commands and batchfiles (scripts) across multiple database and storage servers.

Automatic Service Request

Exadata continually monitors all physical components of the database and storage servers, rack power distribution units, and RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) fabric switches. If an error or failure is detected, an Automatic Service Request in My Oracle Support is created to accelerate problem resolution, bypassing human interaction for inital data collection and Service Request creation.

Patch Manager

Oracle Exadata consists of many hardware and software resources. To reduce the effort associated with updating server, switch and power distribution unit firmware, operating system, and Exadata System Software, the Patch Manager (patchmgr) provides an integrated and simple way of maintaining Oracle Exadata Database Machines.

Focus on Security
# Software Features
Secure Boot

Secure Boot uses cryptographic signatures to ensure that only trusted Linux binaries and boot chain is capable of booting Exadata database and storage servers. This helps prevent boot-sector malware and kernel code injection attacks.

Full-stack security scanning

Every release of Oracle Exadata System Softwre is scanned for vulnerabilities and malware, and is hardened out of the box, providing a highly secure database platform. Straight from the factory, the latest Exadata Software release exceeded 90% on the Department of Defense STIG SCAP assessment.

Full-Stack Secure Erase

Secure Eraser is a comprehensive solution to securely erase all data from database and storage servers, and reset network switches and power distribution units to factory setting. This ensures that repurposing or decommissioning older Exadata Database Machines can be completed to the highest security standards.

Exadata Secure Fabric Isolation

Secure Fabric enables strict network isolation between Virtual Machine clusters on Exadata by preventing network communication from one VM cluster to another across the Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) network fabric. Storage Servers also prevent cross cluster communication while still providing shared access to storage resources such as Exadata RDMA Memory (XRMEM), flash, and disk drives.

Network Access to Storage Servers

Exadata Storage Servers are deployed with a specialized firewall configuration known as "cellwall". In addition, ssh access to Exadata Storage Servers is restriced to the management and Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) Network Fabric interfaces.

Memory Protection Keys

Memory Protection Keys is a hardware feature that prevents memory on storage servers from being manipulated by processes that do not hold the correct keys. Processes that attempt to access data without the appropriate memory protection keys are trapped, eliminating issues associated with memory corruptions.

Advanced Intrusion Detection Environment

Advanced Intrusion Detection Environment (AIDE) creates a database of files critical to Exadata servers used to check file integrity and detect system intrusion, reducing the potential of system compromise.

ASM and Database Scoped Security

Using ASM-scoped security, you can restrict access to only the grid disks used by the Oracle ASM disk groups associated with a Oracle ASM cluster. All Oracle Database instances associated with that Oracle ASM cluster have access to the disk groups and underlying grid disks. Grid disks used in disk groups belonging to a different Oracle ASM cluster are not accessible to these instances.

Using Database-scoped security, you can restrict access for an Oracle Database instance to a specific set of grid disks. The database instance must have access to all the grid disks used by the ASM disk groups for the database. The grid disks used by these Oracle ASM disk groups cannot be used by any other Oracle ASM disk group.

Small Installation Footprint

Oracle Exadata is deployed with a pared down Oracle Linux installation. This reduces the potential for security compromise through unneeded linux packages and software.

Security Enhanced Linux

Exadata database and storage servers can be configured with Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) enabled to further protect access to operating system files and processes, reducing the potential for system compromise.

Focus on Consolidation
# Software Features

Exadata provides KVM virtualization technology with access to SR-IOV virtual functions for Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) network connectivity.

Support for 4,096 Pluggable Databases per Container Database with Multitenant Option

Unique to Exadata, Oracle Database Appliance, and Exadata in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), when multitenant architecture is licensed, support for up to 4,096 pluggable databases per container database is supported.

Focus on Cloud
# Software Features
Exadata Storage Server Cloud Scale Software Update

Exadata Storage Servers include self-update functionality to simplify ongoing maintenance, aiding customers with software currency and security. Whether you have three Storage Servers in an Eighth Rack Exadata or hundreds of Storage Servers across multiple Exadata Database Machines, Exadata Storage Server Cloud Scale Software Update simplifies maintenance without compromising database availability.

Focus on Cost
# Software Features
Capacity on Demand

Capacity-on-demand (CoD) enables customers to enable CPU capacity in Exadata Database Servers as database workload grows. Capacity-on-Demand limits the physical number of activated cores in Exadata Database Servers which empowers customers to benefit from the performance, security, and availability of Exadata, while limiting Oracle Database and Option license requirements to just what is needed.

Exadata Sparse Snapshots

Exadata Sparse Snapshots provide space efficient storage snapshots of Oracle Databases for development and testing purposes.

Exadata Database Machine Eighth Rack

Customers can achieve high Oracle Database performance with an entry-level Exadata system that delivers up to 2.8 million read IOPS. The system includes 64 CPU cores, 40.8 TB of flash cache, and up to 120 TB of high redundancy HDD usable storage capacity.

Oracle Autonomous Database

A fully automated database service that makes it easy for all organizations to develop and deploy application workloads, regardless of complexity, scale, or criticality. Autonomous Database's converged engine supports diverse data types, simplifying application development and deployment from modeling and coding to ETL, database optimization, and data analysis. With machine-learning-driven automated tuning, scaling, and patching, Autonomous Database delivers the highest performance, availability, and security for OLTP, analytics, batch, and Internet of Things (IoT) workloads. Built on Oracle Database and Oracle Exadata, Autonomous Database is available on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) for shared or dedicated deployments, and on-premises with Exadata Cloud@Customer and Dedicated Region Cloud@Customer.