Oracle Announces Exadata X3

Oracle Openworld started Sunday in San Fran with Larry Ellison delivering a keynote speech in which he highlighted some major announcements such as release of Oracle Database 12c and Exadata x3.

Ellison introduced  an enhanced version of its Exadata database machine that will allow customers to run all of their databases in-memory. This will deliver to Oracle customers what Ellison termed blazing performance." If you thought the old Exadatas were fast, you ain't seen nothing yet," he said at the OpenWorld conference in San Francisco.

Ellison also provided conference attendees a rundown of Oracle database version 12c, which had been expected as well.

The real big news is Exadata X3. Exadata X3 incorporates 26TB of memory in total, split among 4TB of DRAM and 22TB of flash cache, in one rack. "This is the hardware version of the Oracle cloud," Ellison said. "Everything is in memory. All of your databases are in-memory. You virtually never use your disk drives. Disk drives are becoming passe. They're good at storing images and a lot of data we don't access very often."

Exadata X3 Under the Hood

In addition, data compression allows customers to squeeze their data down by a factor of 10, saving on storage costs, Ellison said.

Database writes are 20 times faster than the previous-generation Exadata machine, and X3 also uses 10 to 30 percent less power, according to Oracle.

Exadata X3 will now compete directly with SAP's HANA in-memory database platform, and Ellison was ready to draw a comparison." I know that SAP has an in-memory machine," he said. "It's a little smaller." Later, Ellison called HANA "really small." 

According to Sam Jones a seasoned Oracle DBA and Consultant, "Formerly, pinning the most active portion of the database index in memory was critical to achieving very high transactional rates across a distributed Oracle environment. Now everything is in memory! What is faster than that? We used to rush to get our data written to disk, now RDBMS rush to get the data off the disk drives. "

Exadata X3 has a "smart memory hierarchy," with the DRAM on top, flash cache in the middle, and lots of traditional disk storage on the bottom, according to Ellison.

Ellison as he typically does was beating his chest about his new products, especially about how much more powerful and fast  X3 is than past versions as well as the competitions' offerings. 

"The reason we're making these things faster is to improve not just their peak performance but their cost performance," he said. "You can save a lot of money. You will save so much money in storage because of our compression."

Exadata machines are a growing profit center for Oracle because they also run many separately licensed database software, which provides steady annual maintenance payments. The combination has meant that a fully-loaded Exadata box tends to require a significant investment from customers.

Oracle and  Ellison see opportunities in growing this business especially by  introducing midsized customers into the Exadata market. He announced a new "eighth-rack" X3 edition that has a list price of $200,000. It is faster than larger Exadata configurations released in 2010 and 2008.

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Bill has been a member of the technology and publishing industries for more than 25 years and brings extensive expertise to the roles of CEO, CIO, and Executive Editor. Most recently, Bill was COO and Co-Founder of CIOZone.com and the parent company PSN Inc. Previously, Bill held the position of CTO of both Wiseads New Media and About.com.

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