Ellison Pitches High-speed Data Warehouse Server

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Oracle saved the biggest news for last at its OpenWorld conference in San Francisco. CEO Larry Ellison took the stage Wednesday afternoon to announce two hardware products developed with Hewlett-Packard that are designed to provide very high performance for data warehousing applications.

Calling them "Oracle's first hardware products," Ellison introduced the HP Oracle Database Machine and the HP Oracle Exadata Storage Server, which are preconfigured server racks including Oracle software and HP ProLiant servers.

The Exadata Storage Server includes a dozen disk drives and two quad-core Intel processors that are used to perform database query operations on the storage equipment itself, reducing the amount of data that has to be shuttled back to the database server. This gives a 10-fold performance boost compared to Oracle's current data warehouse products, according to Ellison.

"The storage system itself runs the Oracle database's fast parallel query software, so we took the capability you normally find in the database servers and moved it into the storage server next to each and every disk drive," Ellison said.

"We're taking a tremendous load off the interconnect between the server and the storage grid, returning just the query results instead of whole data blocks. It makes a huge difference," he said.

The storage servers can be ordered separately for use with an existing Oracle data warehouse, or as part of the HP Oracle Database Machine, which includes eight Oracle database servers and 14 Exadata Storage Servers in one rack. The database servers include 64 Intel processor cores, Oracle's business intelligence software and its Real Application Clusters technology.

Each storage server is connected to the database server with two Infiniband pipes. Each can carry data at 20G bits per second, although the speed of the system is limited to the speed of the disk drives, which run no faster than 1G bit per second, Ellison said. The storage servers include up to 168 terabytes of storage.

Ellison said the Linux version of the database machine is available today, with other operating systems to follow. The systems can be ordered from Oracle, and Oracle will be responsible for sales and support, while HP will handle the delivery and servicing of the hardware.

Ellison said the storage system will work with "any Oracle database server," suggesting customers won't be tied to the current 11g version. The system is priced at US$4,000 per terabyte of storage, plus the database license costs, Oracle said.

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