Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Oracle Open World, Day 1 - Key Conference I

This year the slogan is ... "Engineered for Innovation" According to the slogan is the kind of surprise Larry Ellison will have prepared for the Oracle community, so if you have some intuition and track the recent history of Oracle you may guess what the surprise from the big boss is about.

Larry Ellison entered in his own personal style, and the first phrase that he pronounced gave the guideline to what this was about ... he said "Sometime back when we bought Sun the customers said that Oracle was already into the hardware business, but we didn't receive the memo" ... referring to the hardware he was displaying on the stage he pointed at it and he said ... "we have a lot of hardware on the desktop". These keywords were the elements that defined what Larry Ellison wanted to show to the world this year.

The main goal of the hardware is to deliver the power of the hardware with highest performance and the lowest price. As usual the comparison against the IBM P795. Larry Ellison seems to enjoy these comparisons. The Exadata and Exalogic are aimed at achieve the maximum performance with the minimum cost, he referred the price of the servers is cheaper than the x86 servers world's cheapest servers.

What's the magic behind the servers ? The magic word is Parallelism and compression. The philosophy is to parallelize everything, this way data can be moved faster. The X machines parallelize both hardware and software. Since the current hardware cannot be made faster due to physical limitations, unless new technology arrive, in the mean time we have to use what's available and the challenge is to configure it so the best performance possible can be taken out of it.

Oracle is not creating a faster hardware, you cannot make the hardware faster due to physical constraints, so how can the hardware be made faster? Using the same hardware in a more efficient configuration. Not one big machine, not one big storage server, but a fundamental parallel everything architecture. If properly configured this increases throughput, performance, reduces energy and space consumption. The Exadata and Exalogic machines architecture probably is well known by now, infiniband connectors parallel infiniband network pipe connections moving data in and out. Infiniband is the fastest network. Faster, more reliable, and with a better performance than that of the internet.

"Performance is about moving data, not about processor", So if you think technology from this perspective, your goal will be to reduce the amount of data and increase the speed of moving it, if you are able to move less data at a faster speed the result will be the eXtreme performance.

The OS for the X machines was engineered to exploit the advantages of the parallelism, with all the advantages parallelism provides, such as no single point of failure and increased throughput and performance.

How can the amount of data be reduced? Well, from the hardware perspective the magic is created by compression. 10x data compression which means 10x less data to move, 10x data to store and another power related indirect consequences which makes this machine to require less physical space and have a small carbon dioxide footprint.

And what other surprises has revealed the big boss of Oracle? ... the Exanalytic machine (another X) and the Sun Supercluster (S), ... and I'll be talking about it in my next post.

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