Larry Ellison recently bragged about the Exadata Database Machine v2. This appliance was previously aimed at database warehousing use in version 1. Now it sets its target as online transaction processing systems. Version 2 is supposed to be twice as fast as v1. Larry says the thing outperforms the best machines from IBM. He seems to be taking personal initiative on this project.
The Exadata Database Machine has a number of parts. Of course is hosts an Oracle 11g database. It also has an Exadata Storage Server from Sun. The storage server has 12 disks and 2 CPUs. However the real power comes from the huge amount of flash storage in the storage server. We are talking a couple hundred Gigabytes here.
The storage server component in this system is a smart one. It makes use of highly parallel operations. It can also do query processing itself. There is a speed gain from doing the processing close to where the data resides. The box also supports compression to drastically reduce data size.
Although the system comes preconfigured, you still need to do some fine tuning on the device. The cost can be a little more than $1M. However when you factor all the licensing and support costs, and get a bigger box, the cost can be a few million. This is obviously the high end OLTP market. Oracle is going after the market previously dominated by manufacturers such as IBM and EMC.
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