The Exadata Storage Server

Posted in: Technical Track

Update, July 9, 2010: Pythian has now announced our range of services for Oracle Exadata, along with successful implementations and reference customers.

Notice to readers:
This is an excerpt of my liveblogging of the Keynote where the Exadata Storage Server was announced.

It is a mix of my comments in real time, and my quotes from things Larry Ellison said that I felt were worthy of mention.

You may be interested in reading more about Oracle’s Exadata platform. I would suggest taking a gander at Oracle’s product page and also reading up on Christo Kutrovsky’s Analysis of the Exadata and Oracle Database Machine announcement from a different point of view.

You may also be interested in the complete liveblog transcript of the keynote which includes my liveblogging of the rather boring HP advertiseynote before the big show.

I also separated out the Oracle Database Machine liveblog if you just want to get to the rest of the juicy stuff.

So here goes with the liveblogging transcript:

Announcing Oracle’s first ever hardware product.

The exadata programmable storage server.

Building intelligence into the storage server.

Allows us to reduce the amount of data.

Confirming HP is the partner.

Storage server does not pass disk blocks back to the database server, it actually passes query results.

Note: A few startups are doing this sort of thing already. They should be totally freaking out right now.

Slide explaining how query processing works in traditional storage.

Stark contrast to a grid of exadata storage servers, with processing ability local to each and every disk drive.

“We actually pass the query from the database server directly into the storage servers.”

Explaining how this works.

This reminds me hugely of kickfire for mysql, but for Oracle.

Cool, they’re provisioning two infiniband pipes per storage server. Nice. 40gbps.

Marc Fielding: “The problem is still the disk drives.”

Larry: 1gb/s per exadata storage server, you can have dozens working in parallel.

Christo: 1gb/s??? that’s not that good.

Immediately available for Linux., will work with any Oracle database.
Available for x86. Christo: “not 64 bit???????”

By the way, I made a bet with Paul Cunningham that Kickfire would fail because of Moore’s law. I wonder if I should bet against this tech too.

More details to come…

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

As Pythian’s Chief Executive Officer, Paul leads this center of excellence for expert, outsourced technical services for companies whose systems are directly tied to revenue growth and business success. His passion and foresight for using data and technology to drive business success has helped Pythian become a high-growth global company with over 400 employees and offices in North America, Europe, and Asia. Paul, who started his career as a data scientist, founded Pythian when he was 25 years old. In addition to driving the business, Paul is a vocal proponent of diversity in the workplace, human rights, and economic empowerment. He supports his commitment through Pythian’s hiring and retention practices, his role as board member for the Basic Income Canada Network, and as a supporter of women in technology.

3 Comments. Leave new

Paul, do you have more comments on the kickfire thing? I can’t understand that very well.

By the way, I made a bit with Paul Cunningham that Kickfire would fail because of Moore’s law.


Hi Paul,

thanks for passing on the news, much appreciated.

Just wondering about this:

“By the way, I made a bit with Paul Cunningham that Kickfire would fail because of Moore’s law.”

Maybe it’s ignorance on my part, but I don’t see what you mean. Genuinly interested, can you pls. explain? TIA,


Karl Van den Bergh
September 25, 2008 1:35 pm

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the mention of Kickfire. On the question of Kickfire vs Moore’s Law I would point your readers’ to a blog posting we did on the topic: In essence, the Kickfire chip architecture is based on dataflow, not instruction-flow. The dataflow architecture is fundamentally more efficient for large data volume processing. This is why, as has happened in other industries before, once the transition to dataflow has been made it is next to impossible for general-purpose CPUs to catch up. This is why Nvidia still leads in graphics, not Intel, and why Juniper and Cisco use specialized routing chips not processors from Intel or AMD.

Btw, Oracle’s Exadata server is much more akin to Netezza than to Kickfire. Both use hardware to filter from disk to memory. In both cases though SQL is still executed on general-purpose CPUs, not on a SQL chip.



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