Why invest in Exadata

Jon Lingard Nov 9, 2017 7:29:15 AM

Generic infrastructure gives you generic results.

Exadata is a converged infrastructure solution that solves problems with Oracle Database performance, availability, scalability and recovery. Originally released in 2008, Exadata was actually an “alliance” solution between Oracle and Hewlett Packard and an example of how many converged infrastructure solutions are still created today. Oracle quickly realised that customers were not getting the most benefit from this 1st generation appliance due to the persistence of problems around integration and performance. Oracle decided that they needed to create a “full stack” solution where Oracle owned every layer of the infrastructure and could apply their significant R&D resources to optimise and engineer software to work with hardware to overcome these challenges. “Engineered Systems” was the culmination of this effort and in 2010, following the acquisition of Sun Microsystems, Oracle released their second generation of Exadata – the X2.

At the time, organisations were starting to experience the pitfalls of investing in “best-of-breed-for-budget” infrastructure resulting in a sprawl of vendor logo’s in datacentres. This resulted in endless examples of operational inefficiencies, problem finger-pointing, poor performance, limited scalability and high costs. Exadata was the positioned as a magical black box to address all those issues, albeit only for Oracle Database workloads.

Fast forward to 2017 and we have the X7-2 with new versions released every 18-24 months. The Exadata X7 addresses all the same fundamental infrastructure problems that the X2 did, plus many more. For example, Exadata is optimised for both OLTP and Data Warehouse workloads alike. In short, Exadata’s “secret sauce” of software, engineered with fully redundant, scalable and performant infrastructure, provides a solution to any business running Oracle Database workloads that are experiencing performance bottlenecks, server sprawl and high costs.

Reducing Oracle support costs is another reason why organisations invest in Exadata. For years, Oracle has reaped the rewards of the ever-increasing core count on new chips, meaning that the quantity of Database Enterprise Edition licenses that organisations need to stay compliant increase too! Costs (capex and opex) also go up! Combine that with Oracle’s licensing rules, which mean Servers need to be licensed for every available core, regardless of utilisation, and you have a situation where no matter how “cheap” commodity infrastructure appears to be the total cost of deploying Oracle is significantly higher than one might think.

Exadata, along with other Engineered Systems, have a feature called Capacity on Demand.

It’s unique to Engineered Systems so you cannot use it on IBM or HPE or Dell Servers. CoD gives organisations the benefit of sub-capacity licensing – you only pay for the cores that you enable. This means that despite having 24 cores available on the entry level Eighth Rack Exadata you’re not expected to license all 24 – only 16 as a minimum. That’s 8 Processor Licenses – the equivalent to licensing 2 quad core Servers that were on the market 6 years ago! Imagine being an organisation that owned over 50 Enterprise Edition Processor licenses sprawled across several commodity Servers and now you have the potential to consolidate all Databases onto Exadata; reducing the number of licenses owned by half. That is a big saving towards an ROI within 12 months! You can simply do more with one core of processing power on Exadata than on commodity infrastructure, resulting in less licenses and reducing your Oracle support costs.

Operational inefficiencies are often the ignored cost when looking at the Total Cost of Ownership for commodity infrastructure. With multiple vendors in the datacentre, ageing infrastructure all on different versions and patches, all relying on different and often untested data recovery mechanisms. All these issues result in high internal costs back to the business – the cost of delay, the cost of resource, the cost of downtime, the cost planning, the cost of bringing in 3rd party assistance. All this cost is often overlooked when assessing new infrastructure solutions and is why converged infrastructure has become so popular – the simplification of infrastructure operational management. Engineered Systems go one further because of the additional efficiency improvements that come from Oracle owning the intellectual property between hardware and software – patching is quicker and simpler, recovery is quicker and simpler, provisioning new environments is quicker and simpler – the list goes on.

Imagine being an organisation where you want to reduce your Oracle support costs or refresh ageing infrastructure or solve internal operational support issues or improve performance and have assurances on availability and recovery. Imagine all the costs and pitfalls that come from approaching these challenges with a traditional “best-of-breed-for-budget” mentality. Generic infrastructure gives you generic results; that is why you invest in Exadata.



Author: Jon Lingard

Job Title: Practice Director

Bio: Jon is a member of the Oracle sales team and works with customers from start-ups, SMEs to large corporations to gain maximum value from their investment in Oracle technology. Jon works with the technical and development teams to shape solutions based on customer demands and develops long lasting customer relationships based on his open and trustworthy approach.