Oracle Exadata v2 — Truly Oracle (Sun) Hardware

Posted in: Technical Track

Update 9-Jul-10 Pythian has now announced our range of Oracle Exadata Services, along with successful implementations and reference customers.

Update 16-Sep-09: Apparently, all this was true and you can find more details after the announcement that posted here.

OK. It’s not often that I make predictions these days but this was on my mind for a while so here we go. Mind you, I don’t have any confirmed insider information so it’s based on some assumptions, my perspective on Oracle-Sun acquisition and some vibes I can feel in the air.

The rumors are that Oracle Exadata v2 and Oracle Database Machine v2 are going to be announced within few weeks and my take is that it’s going to happen at the Oracle Open World. I don’t think it comes as a surprise to anyone that it will be configured with Oracle Database 11g Release 2.

Moving on to predictions and speculations…

Oracle Database Machine — beyond data-warehousing

Oracle Database Machine will not be targeting ultimately data warehouse environments — it will attack OLTP applications and marketed extensively for consolidated environments. “Old” HP Oracle Database Machine was an ideal consolidation vehicle but there were few design elements incompatible with OLTP and consolidated environments. For example, very thin communication pipe with the external world — no way enough traffic could enter (and leave). Have you paid attention to what Oracle did in 11g Release 2 with its Grid Infrastructure component and how well it now can truly manage the grid including database, storage and application tiers? 11g Release 2 delivered inside Oracle Database Machine v2 — this is the ultimate answer to data-center consolidation… the ultimate data-center consolidation appliance.

Oracle Database Machine — truly Oracle hardware

Did you see the title is missing something? You would if you compare it carefully with the year old entry — “HP” is missing! Yes, I believe that Oracle Database Machine v2 will be delivered on Sun hardware.

The exact figures are not published but Oracle claims that adoption of HP Oracle Database Machine is high. If Oracle makes Database Machine available for generic use and data-centers consolidation (those are very “popular” projects now for our customers) then demand will surge immensely and Oracle will need to meet supply. Of course, Oracle could let HP pocket quite a bit of cash but why not leave it all for themselves?

Oracle is committed to Sun hardware if you didn’t notice.

Oracle's message to Sun's customers

Why on earth would Oracle continue to use HP hardware for it’s Database Machine v2? This is rather highly improbable and the natural choice is… Sun Oracle Database Machine!

I reckon that Sun Oracle Database Machine (or simply Oracle Database Machine) will be still based on the same x86 architecture and not SPARC. Oracle Exadata software is generic and will run on Oracle Enterprise Linux on any x86 platform (it even runs inside a virtual machine if one wants to play with it). So the only work left is to polish and integrate components flawlessly as it’s been done with HP hardware.

The step to introduce SPARC platform is not huge — Solaris on SPARC is still one of the most stable platforms that Oracle Database runs on. What’s left is to make Solaris SPARC playing nicely with InfiniBand and Oracle’s DDP (Direct Data Placement) protocol. I don’t think Oracle could go as far as having it implemented it on SPARC platform already now but I think that database servers can easily be running on SPARC in the future as well as Linux x86_64 while Exadata Storage Server will most likely stay on Linux.

As a summary, I want to quote what I said back in April:
What Oracle intends to do now is to keep all those new acquired products, continue development while work heavily on integration solutions. Integration products and services is where Oracle will find its new direct revenue stream.

Comments are most welcome as usual.

Learn more about Pythian’s services for evaluation, migration to and operational support for Oracle Exadata.

Want to talk with an expert? Schedule a call with our team to get the conversation started.

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.

12 Comments. Leave new

Thanks for the details. It is nice to see old software like Oracle adapt to changes in hardware performance. Exadata has allowed them to get the scalability that is much easier to demo on a shared-nothing RDBMS.


…and I guess that’s going to be the same hardware which Oracle promised beats current IBM DB2 top in TPC-C ?


I really hope you are right, in special the (even) better integration Oracle Solaris.
(Sparc or x86 is more a question of different platform for different purposes).
Half a year is not long to integrate, we will see if it’s enough time for Oracle.
Maybe we will see just an anouncement at OOW, with the real product in Spring 2010?


Thanks for all for the comments.

@Mark: There is nothing that prevents Oracle to scale just as others do with shared nothing architecture. Pythian has had number customers adopted that approach with Oracle SE and have been running for years. However, some applications are not designed (because it’s either too difficult or they are just designed sloppy) to scale easily on shared nothing architecture.

@Alex: that’s very well may be. I have tried to fish some info on that I haven’t got any signs of yes or no.

@Martin: It takes some time for two companies to align and the delay in merger caused by EU investigations might very well impact the OOW release of Exadata on Sun hardware. On the other had, HP is completely different company, even though it is a close Oracle Partner (or was?).


@Alex F: TPC-C is promoted on Sun SPARC platform.


I guess that makes it the more unlikely the harder it is to do a SPARC port…

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September 13, 2009 4:02 am

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@Alex – I am referring to shared nothing RDBMS use for data warehouse queries, not MySQL-style sharding for scaleout. Teradata owns the market, Microsoft is about to enter and there are large number of new companies (Netezza, Greenplum, Aster Data, Par Accell, others). Shared disk and shared everything solutions don’t compete on price-performance.

I want to read more about scale-out deployments based on Oracle. Assuming SE one can be used, this costs about $6k per core plus 20% per year for maintenance (about $50k for the license per 8-core master + $10k per year for maint) and then multiply that by 2 to cover license + maint for the slave. I am not sure how much more it costs to get replication and hot backup for that setup. Replication is a must have and hot backup is really nice to have.



Oracle specifically positions and limits SE databases to avoid customers using it in high scale applications. Online backup is working with any release but it removes parallel backup and I think incremental backup. There is also no way to use normal partitioning in SE unless you want to mess around with “poor man partitioning” using UNION’s. And etc. and etc.

Standard replication is included in SE and even some support for Streams but I wouldn’t use it for bulk data load. I would say that Oracle SE would work in such federated data warehouse when you design it in the application and design your data load appropriately. However, querying federated Oracle SE databases is not straightforward and required either development of, perhaps, using some third party tools. I know Continuent has interesting solution for that.

“Shared disk and shared everything solutions don’t compete on price-performance.”

Shared disk makes writing applications so much easier and that’s where I think the major advantage is. You don’t think about database replication and how to architect you application for that. These days it’s a huge advantage when developers can shorten time to market for their products.

There are, of course, some applications that either absolutely need shared disk architecture or to cumbersome to design with shared-noting. I don’t think there are too many of those, however. :)

Anyway, total cost has many components and licensing might be only a small portion of it.

Unveiling OLTP Oracle Database Machine & Exadata v2 | Pythian Group Blog
September 15, 2009 7:16 pm

[…] that I, apparently successfully, predicted OLTP Database Machine on Sun hardware, I had to wake up before 6AM in Sydney to tune into Larry’s joined with Sun Microsystems […]


I would be interested in hearing from real customers utilizing this product

Alex Gorbachev
January 24, 2010 9:14 pm

@steve: We are working with a Pythian customer on the Exadata project and talking to the number of prospects.

If you are serious about it, there is always a way to arrange a reference call with a current Exadata customer.


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