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Oracle Exadata and DataWarehousing Impact - Part I

The Oracle Exadata journey if i were to start from Version 1 to version 2, and now we have X2-8 version is quite interesting in terms of how it scales from an effecient platform for not only OLTP but a perfect recipe for what one can ask from a Data Warehousing platform. This blog is more about a sneak preview of some of the key features that one can expect out-of-the-box, and what really does an Exadata machine contains. Idea certainly is not to burden you with numbers, terms which one may not be able to grasp but to understand how Oracle is strategically aligning itself with the changing demands of the Information Age. Considering the topic and to do justice i am planning to split this into a series of blogs to focus on each of the key aspects.
So why Oracle Exadata, and what is the big talk about handling big data. Am sure you might have read about the Data Warehousing appliance and how vendors claim the multi-fold performance gains in your data warehousing performance and effeciency. What seems quite unique about what Oracle has in offering is target end-to-end performance gains right from your OLTP Database, applications to your integration and OLAP storage, queries and all that in real-time with near no-impact on performance of your OLTP systems.

Oracle has reasons to claim Exadata being the only data machine that provides extreme performance for OLTP applications and DWH, makes it uniquely ideal for consolidation on grids or private clouds. Sun's Oracle Database Machine (as it is popularly know as) contains following key devices/softwares that make it complete, unique and integrated unit - its plug-n-power, connect to network and ready to run Database Platform:
  • Database Server Nodes (Grid)
  • Exadata Storage Servers (Cells)
  • InfiniBand Switches (High Bandwidth)
  • Ethernet Switch
  • Pre-cabled
  • Keyboard, Videos, Mouse Hardware
  • Power Distribution units (PDU's)

Before we get into details of what each of those do and their roles, let's understand the potential benefits and power those components bring together to the table. These are components are pre-defined, pre-configured in a balanced fashion.
  1. Consolidation of the mixed workload environments like ERP, CRM, Data Warehouse, Data Marts consolidate onto the database machine
  2. Enhanced high performance and lower cost of ownership
  3. Predictable response time in a shared environment - especially when its a multi-user, multi-environment and multi-node platform
  4. Provides a complete, open and integrated platform for handling all the data management needs of any organization viz
    • Bulk Data Processing as in case of Data Warehouse
    • Random updates and frequent I/O needs as in case of OLTP
    • Streaming files and multimedia needs
  5. High availability and disaster recovery with protection from server, storage, network and site failures
  6. Features like Online Indexing and table re-definition
  7. Real-time remote standby platform open for queries/reporting over WAN (Active Data Guard)
  8. Exadata plug-in to Oracle Enterprise Manager provides seamless integration and provides statistics, and performance monitoring of the Exadata Server environment with events & alerts to administrators
  9. CLI (Command Line Interface) capabilities for administrators to manage multiple environments and servers
  10. Sun's ILOM (Integrated Lights Out Manager) for providing remote administration and management of hardware e.g. power cycling the servers

Exadata Server Machine 2.jpg
Figure 1 - The Oracle Exadata Server Machine

A) Database Server Grid - provides tremendous gains in performance of transaction speed, queries and the amount of data that's processed per minute. The numbers claimed by Oracle being of the order of:
1. Millions of Transactions/minute
2. Millions of Queries/minute
3. Billions of Rows/minute

B) InfiniBand Network - from the Sun DataCenter InfiBand switch 36, provide a fully redundant non-blocking paths from Servers to the storage resulting in high bandwidth and low latency.
1. Provides 880GB/sec aggregate throughput
2. 2.88 TB/sec bi-directional bandwidth per switch

C) Exadata Storage Server Grid - The Exadata storage server software enables query processing in the storage, which otherwise was typically handled in the Oracle Database server nodes resulting in significant query performance gains. Exadata Storage server comes with interesting features like Smart Scans, Storage Indexes, Hybrid columnar compression and Flash cache (which removed spinning magnetic media bottleneck). We will explore some of those features in subsequent up coming blogs
1. 21 GB/sec disk bandwidth
2. 50GB/sec Flash bandwidth
3. 1 Million I/O per sec

Remember few of those points, and we will in next blog try to cover features more relevant to the Data Warehousing world and how those provide a great combination when looked in a wholistic prespective of OBIEE 11g.

To summarize we looked at key ingredients of Oracle Exadata, the benefits those ingredients when put together bring on table. The 3 key components Server Grid, InfiniBand Network switches and Exadata storage server grid together are making Oracle Exadata an all data management best of breed solution for OLTP and Data Warehousing platform.

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