Oracle’s Tim Shetler Talks About the New Oracle Exadata Database Machine X4

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“With X4, Oracle is again increasing the raw flash capacity – in this case by a factor of two so now instead of 22TB per full rack we can hold 44TB of raw flash,” said Shetler.  In addition there is compression that comes along with the flash cards that has the potential to double the capacity of that flash, effectively quadrupling the capacity of flash yet again. “We quadrupled it with X3 and we quadrupled it with X4 so the raw flash is 44TB per full rack times two which is 88TB.”

Support for Consolidated Workloads in Exadata X4

Observing that 88TB is “a lot of data,” Shetler said that the majority of customers on Exadata probably have total database volumes that are less than that so effectively they are sitting in flash. “That is the trend that you see from storage vendors and that is the trend you are seeing from infrastructure vendors. They are trying to remove the slow parts of the system so that if you are running a consolidated workload, where you are letting people come in and do whatever they want to do, you can make sure that one person’s workload is not going to slow down another person’s workload.”

According to Oracle, in X4, random I/O rates for OLTP applications have been improved close to 100% to 2.66 million 8K database reads and 1.96 million writes, even with full flash compression enabled. This ability to perform compression at millions of I/Os per second eliminates the tradeoff between high performance and high efficiency. Data throughput of a single rack Oracle Exadata is 100 GB/sec, while retaining the benefits of low-cost disk-tiering.

Performance of Data Warehousing in Exadata X4

The performance of data warehousing workloads is accelerated by new flash caching algorithms that focus on table and partition scan workloads that are common in data warehouses. Tables that are larger than flash are now automatically partially cached in flash and read concurrently from both flash and disk to speed throughput.

Latest Intel Processors in Exadata X4

As in previous Exadata releases, X4 incorporates the latest Intel processors in the system. Intel comes out with a major new process release roughly once a year and Oracle comes out with a new release of Exadata shortly after to stay on the leading edge of the price-performance curve, said Shetler. “And then from a hardware perspective, every time we do that we bring out the latest disk, the latest memory, the latest flash, the latest networking gear - and we have done a lot of that here that is detailed in the announcement. “Disk drives have gotten bigger, we are doubling the amount of memory you can put on that database server nodes, the processors have gone from Intel’s 8-core processors to the latest, fastest 12-core processors – so roughly a 50% increase in computing capacity in this generation.”

Continuation of Path for Oracle

Oracle Exadata Database Machine X4 is a continuation of the path Oracle has been on for a while, said Shetler. “It is designed completely to optimize the performance, the availability, and the security of any Oracle Database application. And, in fact, that is all you can run on it. You can’t run any other database or file system application. It is completely tuned and optimized around the Oracle Database.”

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LSI Corporation has announced that its Nytro flash accelerator cards have been selected as the PCIe flash acceleration technology for Oracle's Exadata X4. According to the companies, the Nytro DLC technology extends the logical flash storage capacity of Exadata beyond the system's physical flash capacity. This software feature dynamically extends the flash capacity of Exadata X4 systems with the same physical hardware and power requirements for a reduced total cost of ownership.

Posted January 22, 2014