1. Oracle is now offering the third generation of the Exadata Database Machine; the integrated middleware machine, Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud and the first general purpose engineered system, Oracle SPARC SuperCluster, were first announced at OpenWorld 2010, and the newest offering, the Oracle Exalytics In-Memory Machine, has just become generally available.
What have you learned and what has changed since you first started rolling out engineered systems?
Well, our first engineered system - Oracle Exadata V1 - was designed for data warehousing workloads, and with features like Smart Scan customers were able to achieve performance improvements of 10x and more. Then Oracle Exadata V2 came along with Smart Flash Cache and Hybrid Columnar Compression, making it the ideal platform to consolidate both OLTP and data warehousing workloads. By delivering the entire stack, we have been able to exploit the efficiencies of engineering, testing and support elements as one company. This has allowed us to ensure excellent performance, seamless integration with other Oracle products and faster problem resolution for our customers. As you mentioned, Exadata is now in its third generation with the X2-2 and X2-8 database machines, and we have accelerated the roll-out of new engineered systems, including Oracle Exalogic, Oracle SPARC SuperCluster and Oracle Exalytics, to meet customer demand.
2. What is the main advantage to this philosophy versus an à la carte approach to assembling a system?
Technology executives typically look at best-of-breed components to get the features they need, but overlook the time and cost to integrate them, which can be huge. What people sometimes think might be a simple integration might not be as simple as they originally perceived. And they may not get the benefit they expected in terms of performance, time-to-market or reliability.
Instead of going with best-of-breed point products that may or may not integrate with other products on the network and run the risk of introducing unnecessary complexity, customers can benefit by choosing engineered systems that are pre-integrated to reduce risk and cost, while also boosting productivity and performance. These systems embody the principles of simplifying IT by providing computing functionality that arrives pre-tested and ready to run for a given application or workload. They give customers the advantage of simplifying data-center operations and opening up greater opportunities for IT and business innovation.
3. How has the concept of engineered systems been received so far by customers?
Oracle’ s customers have immediately recognized the value of engineered systems and adoption of all engineered systems has been very strong. Oracle Exadata was introduced in 2008 and as of the end of FY11 we had over 1,000 installations. And interest continues to increase - not only for Exadata, but for all of our engineered systems. In Oracle’s Q3 FY2012 earnings call. Oracle president Mark Hurd commented that Exadata recorded triple-digit growth in Q3, Exalogic bookings quadrupled from last year and that our newest engineered system, Exalytics, has the fastest ramp of any engineered system that we've released.
4. What is it about Oracle’s Engineeered Systems that makes them perform better than manually configured systems?
First of all, Oracle has done all the groundwork in terms of piecing all the hardware and software components together, optimizing them and testing everything together. That alone makes life a lot easier for customers. Secondly, these engineered systems include unique software components – sometimes referred to as “the secret sauce” that makes the difference. For example, Exadata Storage Software, Exalogic Cloud Foundation and Oracle Times-Ten In-Memory Database provide exceptional performance and scalability for Oracle Exadata, Oracle Exalogic and Oracle Exalytics respectively. And if you want to run both databases and middleware on the same virtualized system you can do that on a Oracle SPARC SuperCluster. Finally, because all the hardware and software components are configured and delivered by one vendor – Oracle – that makes problem resolution so much easier. We’ve done away with the old ‘vendor finger pointing’ problem, and your Oracle support contact knows exactly what hardware and software comprise your engineered system.