Larry Ellison to Announce OLTP Database Machine on… Sun Hardware

Posted in: Technical Track

In line with my prediction from few days ago, Larry Ellison is announcing the new Database Machine — the new version is targeting OLTP workloads and is based on Sun hardware.

Larry Ellison announces Sun Oracle OLTP Database Machine

Looks like I just got the date wrong. Oh well, now is the announcement, hype and demo is at the Oracle Open World and shipments are to start upon Oracle-Sun acquisition completion.

So what’s new in Exadata that I didn’t mention in the previous blog post? Ah, right — Sun FlashFire technology. It’s no surprise that the new OLTP version of Database Machine is boosting the IOPS (IO’s per second) capacity by introducing the flash drives. Nothing prevented Oracle to place flash disks into the original Exadata, not from technology perspective.

You should also know that Sun has been investing a lot in its Open Storage concept. This is very similar to what Oracle did with Exadata Server except that Sun initiative is a universal storage solution with ZFS in its core while Oracle Exadata is specialized for Oracle databases leveraging Oracle ASM. What does it tell me? Two leading companies have the opportunity to merge storage technologies. I’ll take that!

I might have underestimated Oracle on how quickly it can leverage Solaris SPARC for the database servers in the OLTP Database Machine (Mark, you might be right). SPARC platform has been an excellent fit for high throughput OLTP systems. Again, we already saw Larry’s commitment to develop SPARC technology so within a month, Sun customers’ mood should be rising higher and higher these days.

I will excuse myself for self-quoting from half a year ago:
… it does look like Sun failed to make money on a number of great technologies and products such as Solaris and Java. Why is another story — there were great deal of speculations from people who must know it much better than me. My conclusion is that IBM is a great money making machine while Sun is the technology making machine.

What about Oracle? Well, I think that so far they have excelled in both – money making and technology making. Isn’t that a wonderful combination?

I must say I’m excited to see that Oracle is picking up all the juicy pieces of Sun technologies and targets to make money on them and not sell them off in bits.

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About the Author

What does it take to be chief technology officer at a company of technology experts? Experience. Imagination. Passion. Alex Gorbachev has all three. He’s played a key role in taking the company global, having set up Pythian’s Asia Pacific operations. Today, the CTO office is an incubator of new services and technologies – a mini-startup inside Pythian. Most recently, Alex built a Big Data Engineering services team and established a Data Science practice. Highly sought after for his deep expertise and interest in emerging trends, Alex routinely speaks at industry events as a member of the OakTable.

9 Comments. Leave new

I’m still expecting Exadata news. I think Oracle may have some exciting performance benchmark results in their back pocket!

Your links doesn’t work for me. Here’s one that does –



ZFS on Flash sounds interesting. Copy-on-write as done by ZFS might cause too much fragmentation leading to too much random IO. But random IO isn’t a problem for ZFS on Flash.


As this thing is called FlashFire, let’s see how this matches with Oracles Flash Cache.
In this combination, I don’t think the development of Flash Cache is pure coincidence.
As a SUN-user, I hope the whole setup os more ‘open’ as Exadata is today.


Thanks all for the comments.

@Mathew: thanks for the link. Will update the post. Re performance – I think we are all wondering if promised TPC-C benchmark is going to be on the new OLTP Database Machine. It must be the best way to enter this market.

@Mark: Yes indeed. ASM doesn’t have anything close to it but that’s the flagship Oracle solution for shared storage. It’s a good possibility that Exadata Storage Servers v2 would use ZFS as volume manager and then RAC database servers access it via ASM. At least that would totally make sense for FLASH disks.

@Martin: you might be right regarding the flash cache. I would think, however, that it’s something that comes from ZFS and Sun Open Storage. It usually takes longer to plan and introduce such a significant feature in Oracle database so Oracle must have been working on this for a while.


…what is stated about SUN, is -fortunately- half the story.
Unfortunately, SUN did not make money on a great number of innovations, arguably the highest being the JAVA platform, but, it did train a market of small business, to meet the next age of computing. Besides several marketing mistakes SUN suffered on other sectors, fairness must acknowledge, that the fate of pioneers and social benefactors -as has been the case of several others we forget, does still not aling well with business; hopefully a predicament that has to be addressed better in the immediate future.

Let the social message be properly understood, that it is now realized how difficult is to combine a brilliand performance of innovation, and yet also maintain a swift commercial agility. Our system is not designed for such strategies -and yet, this is the one we dearly need in the 21st century.
Complexity -or the exterminator of good will if you prefer- has swiftly brought into their knees many nobble endeavors, and this is -unfortunately- another crucial example.

The certain issue for ORACLE to realize now, is that failing to capitalize on the legacy of SUN and expectations from the public domain of expertise raised by SUN, will bring an avalance of bad news for the S/W industry, with a stake held for ORACLE as well.


@E.M.MYLONAS: Well, life is life. I don’t see how the whole software industry will suffer if Oracle fails — many vendors will like it. :) Whether it’s good for us as customers — that’s a tough call.


What makes you think Oracle will do this on SPARC architecture rtaher than Lin-tel ?


@Peter: I personally would still think it’s on Linux and maybe SPARC coming. On the other hand, there is good correlation with what Oracle is preparing for OOW announcement and Larry’s commitment to SPARC platform. Also, interesting rumors regarding new Exadata to be based on Sun’s new 1U storage unit with T2000+ CPU’s.


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