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Series: Oracle Exadata Commands Reference

by Arup Nanda
Published June 2011

In this four-part guide, you will learn all the commands necessary to administer the Exadata Database Machine, especially the storage-related commands.

Oracle Database Machine

In 2007, Oracle introduced the first Exadata Database Machine. Customers generally loved it. A complete package of servers, storage, networking, and software for data warehousing applications, Exadata came preconfigured and pre-tuned to be used immediately without a lot of preliminary design cycles and guesswork, resulting in a much smaller deployment plan. Riding on its success, Oracle introduced the second generation (Exadata V2), which brought the power of this database machine to any type of workload – both OLTP and DSS. With the introduction of the third-generation Exadata Database Machine (X2), the hardware/software juggernaut continues to flourish. (Oracle has also released a “middleware machine”, the Exalogic Elastic Cloud, which is based on similar technology.)

Meanwhile, in IT organizations throughout the world, the existence of Exadata poses an interesting question. Traditionally, the tasks of managing various components that make up a database system - database, operating systems, network and storage – are usually handled by different teams with entirely different skillsets. But Exadata puts all these components inside the same package. Which group should manage it? No single team possesses all the required skillsets, at least not in a typical organization. For that reason, a new role emerged – the database machine administrator (DMA) - that combines the necessary skills for managing an Exadata Database Machine.

In many organizations, the DBA group assumes the administration of this machine, making the transition from DBA to DMA. But this transition is often an anxious one for the DBA. For example, although storage is a key component of any database, it’s also one area where the knowledge of many DBAs falls short - storage is usually handled by a different team. Managing other components – the operating system, the Infiniband network, the flash-based storage, etc. - is also new to most traditional DBAs.

While this anxiety is completely understandable, is it really that tough making the transition from a DBA to a DMA? Not as much as you might think. If you are already a DBA managing an Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) database on Oracle Database 11g Release 2, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that you already know more than 60% of Exadata Database Machine operations already. Why? Because under the covers, Exadata Database Machine is an Oracle Database 11g Release 2 database cluster, with support for all the expected commands.

There is the other 40%, however. The Exadata Storage Server, which is one of reasons that Exadata is so blazing fast, is one example of technology that most DBAs will need to explore.

But have no fear: In this four-part guide, you will learn all the commands necessary to administer the Exadata Database Machine, especially the storage-related commands.


The series has four parts:

  • Part 1: Jumpstarting on Exadata – a quick primer on Exadata, its components and inner workings. If you are new to Exadata, this installment is definitely for you.

  • Part 2: Command Categories, Configuration, and Basic Commands – an overview of the categories of commands you need to master, and a look at the different configuration activities after you get a brand-new Exadata rack

  • Part 3: Storage Management – a detailed explanation of the CellCLI and DCLI commands, all their parameters and options, and how they are used for managing storage cells

  • Part 4: Metrics and Reporting – a system is not very useful unless you can measure its effectiveness and fine-tune it. This installment will explain the commands related to gathering statistics and reports on Grid Control and how they are used for troubleshooting.