I just watched Larry Ellison’s webcast announcing the new Exadata-2, the Database Machine made for both data warehouse and OLTP systems. The new Exadata contains both DDR3 (about 450 GB) and Flash (around 5.6 TB) cache areas (not SSD) and up to 100 TB of SAS or 336 TB of SATA raw disk capacity in a full rack of 8 DB servers and 14 Exadata-2 cells. Of course formatted and ASM redundancy will eat at least half of that disk capacity or more.
Larry promises 10X at a minimum improvement in speed and response with 1,000,000 IOPS per full rack.
All of this is wonderful news except for one thing, it locks you completely into Oracle technology. The Oracle database, Oracle Linux OS and Oracle SUN hardware. None of this new toy works without special Oracle software and licensing. You can’t run anything else on it but Oracle. It comes preconfigured with Oracle and OS. The cost for a full rack is 1.15 million plus around another million in license fees.
Interesting thing that you could take the 8 DB servers with a normal amount of memory, not the massive 72 GB per server in the Database Machine, 4 RamSan-620’s and 2 RamSan-420’s, a couple of FC switches and some HBAs and get that 1,000,000 random IOPS Flash plus an additional 1,200,000 random IOPS DDR and have 5 TB of Flash, fully redundant, and 512 GB of DDR2 fully redundant and still come in at less than 1.15 million and a lot less on license fees. Shoot, even add in some SATA or SAS drives and use the preferred read technology in 11g ASM or other global filesystems and viola! The same configuration. Nice thing, you can run anything on it. Of course Oracle runs really sweet on this configuration but so will SQLServer, MySQL, BSD, or anything else. It can also run Windows, Linux, or with IBM servers, AIX as well as Solaris’ various flavors.
So you get the same bang, since Oracle11g software will run (with its compression technology, query optimization and partitioning) the only thing you don’t get is the added power requirements of the SAS or SATA drives in the 10 extra Cells needed to get what we get out of 12-U of space.
One other point Larry made was that to expand you just add more servers of more cells. Supposedly in Oracle11gR2 RAC allows this anyway. Now we don’t have fancy software that automatically rebalances the whole storage array, but guess what, Oracle provides ASM for free and it does.
Ok, I will concede one point, the parallel query software at the cell level (10K USD per disk license fee in Exadata-1) will probably result in some queries (who knows, maybe all) running a wee bit faster than without it, but I would love to see a comparison between equal configurations just to see!