During this week's Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison unveiled two new products for data-warehousing applications. Called the Database Machine and the Exadata Storage Server, both offerings meld standard hardware from Hewlett Packard with Oracle's business software.
The new HP Oracle Database Machine, which is packaged in a single rack that can be ordered as a complete system, integrates a grid of Oracle database servers with a grid comprised of Oracle's new Exadata Storage Servers, each of which integrates two InfiniBand pipes capable of delivering 1GB/sec of data to the database grid.
"This is the most dramatic announcement in storage in a decade, and could have the effect of significantly lowering total cost of ownership and improving performance across database applications of all kinds," said Andrew Reichman, a senior analyst at Forrester Research. "If they can deliver on their promises, all the major storage vendors should be watching their backs."
Minimizing Data Movement
Though each Exadata Storage Server can be equipped with up to 12TB of raw storage, Ellison said the new offering is much more "than a bunch of dumb disk drives." It's intelligent, he said, because the platform integrates two Intel quad-core processors.
"This allows us to put intelligence right next to every disk drive in the storage system to reduce the amount of data that flows across that interconnect between the storage servers and the database servers," he said.
Exadata is designed to eliminate performance bottlenecks by shipping less data through larger pipes. "We've taken a tremendous burden off of the interconnect between the storage grid and the database grid by returning selected query results rather than all the disk blocks," Ellison said.
Oracle's new storage server also employs a massively parallel architecture and smart storage software to offload data-intensive query processing from Oracle Database 11g Servers. Instead, query processing is performed closer to the data, which minimizes data movement through higher bandwidth connections.
Partnering with HP
Aimed at customers who don't want to configure their own grid, interconnect, storage servers, and software, the new Database Machine incorporates a grid of eight database servers featuring 64 Intel processor cores, together with a second grid of 14 Exadata Storage Servers that can collectively support up to 168TB of raw storage. According to Oracle, the integrated platform is capable of delivering up to 10 times faster performance than current-generation Oracle data warehouses.
"We have 64 Intel cores for database processing and another 112 Intel cores for storage-server processing," Ellison said. "And that's a lot of compute power in one box."
Empowered by Oracle Enterprise Linux, the Database Machine comes preconfigured, pretuned and certified for Oracle's Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition tools and Real Application Clusters. Exadata Storage Servers also can be ordered separately by customers with the data warehouse who want the product's storage enhancements.
One advantage of the hardware technology that Hewlett Packard is supplying to Oracle is that it is completely open, noted Mark Hurd. "It integrates standard storage technology and we are bringing it through our standard manufacturing and supply chain," HP's chief executive said.