New Oracle Exadata Storage Expansion Rack Helps Customers with Big Data to Increase Capacity of Exadata Database Machines

Oracle has introduced the Oracle Exadata Storage Expansion Rack to offer customers a cost-effective way to add storage to an Oracle Exadata Database Machine.

"There are customers, earlier Exadata Database Machine customers, that have now started to fill up the disks that they have on the Database Machine and they are starting to look for ways to expand their storage capacity, and so this is going to be really welcome for them," says Tim Shetler, vice president of Product Management, Oracle.

The Storage Expansion Rack is a prebuilt rack just so users can expand the storage elements around the Exadata Database Machine, says Shetler. "It is a prepackaged solution for just extending the storage."

According to the company, the Oracle Exadata Storage Expansion Rack is ideal for storing massive amounts of structured and unstructured data including historical relational data; backups of Oracle Exadata Database Machine; weblogs; documents, images, LOBs and XML files. While the Expansion Rack is expected to be particularly needed by Oracle Exadata Machine customers in retail, financial services and telco - industries in which there is the biggest traction around Big Data Solutions - it is also anticipated that customers in other market segments will add it as well because it is so economical, says Shetler. Organizations tend to accumulate data faster than they delete it, whether they need it or not,  Shetler points out, so probably all industries will start to fill up their existing capacity and look for storage expansion.

Standard Oracle Exadata Storage Expansion Rack configurations come with 96TB to more than 3PB of raw disk storage using only the included InfiniBand switches. More than 10PB of user data can be stored using the Exadata Hybrid Columnar Compression which is included.

"It certainly allows you to add large amounts of storage capacity relatively cheaply. We priced the Storage Expansion Racks very aggressively," says Shetler. It was not that long ago that appliance vendors were talking about $20,000 per terabyte being inexpensive storage, Shelter said, and with storage priced at roughly $2,000 a terabyte using the new expansion rack,  "you can see how much less expensive this is now."

Also included, the Flash PCI card capacity ranges from 1.5TB to 47TB. The Intel Xeon CPU processing power in the Oracle Exadata Storage Servers ranges from 48 CPU Cores to more than 1500 CPU Cores.

The Oracle Exadata Storage Expansion Rack has complete redundancy built in to support the demands of critical applications including redundant 40Gb/sec InfiniBand connectivity. Each server also features hot-swappable disks, power supplies and fans for high availability.

"Of course, you get all the Exadata compute capabilities surrounding that storage - the compression, the query offload and the Flash capacity so when you do need to run a report against the data that is stored in that Expansion Rack, the report is going to come back just as fast at if the data were stored in the Database Machine storage elements," says Shetler.

The Oracle Exadata Storage Expansion Rack supports the range of Oracle Exadata Storage Software features including:

  • Oracle Exadata Hybrid Columnar Compression that typically provides 10x compression;
  • Oracle Exadata Smart Scan that runs database queries directly in storage;
  • Oracle Exadata Storage Indexes;
  • Oracle Exadata Data Mining Offload;
  • Oracle Exadata Backup Acceleration; and,
  • Oracle Exadata I/O Resource Manager prioritization by database user or job.

Automatic Storage Management (ASM) dynamically and automatically balances the data across Oracle Exadata Storage Servers, evenly balancing the I/O load across the racks to fully utilize all available hardware. ASM also provides disk mirroring (normal or triple mirrored) to protect against disk failures, loss of data and safeguard data accessibility.

Just like the Exadata Database Machine, customers can buy Expansion Racks in different sizes - a full rack, half rack and quarter rack, says Shetler. However, unlike the Exadata Database Machine, which can be ordered with two sizes of disks, either the high performance 600Gb disk drives or the high capacity 2TB disk drives, the Expansion Racks only come with the 2TB drives "since obviously the reason for getting it is to expand your storage so you want to get as much as possible," he says.

The Full Rack with 18 Oracle  Exadata Storage Servers delivers up to 6.75TB of Oracle  Exadata Smart Flash Cache, 432 TB of raw disk storage, and 216 CPU Cores for SQL processing in storage; the Half Rack with 9 Oracle Exadata Storage Servers delivers 3.4TB of Oracle Exadata Smart Flash Cache, 216TB of raw disk storage, and 108 CPU Cores for SQL processing in storage; and, the Quarter Rack with 4 Oracle Exadata Storage Servers delivers 1.5TB of Oracle Exadata Smart Flash Cache, 96TB of raw disk storage, and 48 CPU Cores for SQL processing in storage.

Up to eight Oracle Exadata Database Machine racks and Oracle Exadata Storage Expansion Racks can be simply connected via InfiniBand cables to achieve single storage grid with a raw disk capacity of 3,360TB. Larger configurations can be built with additional switches.

Oracle Exadata Storage Expansion Rack continues the logical extension of the product line, and there will be other announcements later this summer and at Oracle OpenWorld, added Shetler.