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Oracle OpenWorld 2012 took place last week. As usual, there was plenty of talk around storage. After all, when you focus on enterprise applications, databases and cloud computing, you need an awful lot of storage to support your operations. Oracle, of course, took this a stage further when it bought Sun Microsystems a couple of years ago.
Here are some of the top storage takeaways from the show.
1) Oracle Goes Cloud Crazy
Oracle hasn’t just gone cloud, it has gone cumulonimbus (those are the huge clouds that extend vertically and dominate the sky).
From no cloud offerings two years ago, the company now has more Software as a Service (SaaS) applications than any other vendor, according to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.
And Oracle is seeking to extend the cloud concept by offering everything on one cloud. Instead of just applications, it provides the complete package – applications, compute power and the supporting infrastructure.
“We also provide things like compute power and storage services in the cloud,” said Ellison. “That enables you to buy your storage as a service.”
Its portfolio of Platform Services, Application Services, and Social Services are available on a subscription basis. And it believes it has moved beyond a hardware or software struggle with the likes of IBM and HP to where the primary competitor is now Amazon.com’s cloud services.
2) Private or Public Cloud
Oracle’s cloud offering is available as a vast public cloud. But they also have the options of the exact same cloud services being available as a private cloud.
“We will place the same infrastructure as we use in the Oracle cloud behind your firewall for those with security or regulatory sensitivities,” said Mark Hurd, President of Oracle.
Oracle owns and manages the infrastructure using its Exalogic, Exadata and SuperCluster engineered systems to provide virtualized compute and storage services. That infrastructure is then installed in your data center but is operated by Oracle.
3) New Cloud Services
A couple of years back, Ellison was one of the cloud’s biggest naysayers. Since shifting course, the Oracle Cloud now boasts more than 10,000 customers and more than 25 million users.
Thomas Kurian, executive vice president, Oracle Product Development, unveiled new Oracle Cloud Services such as: Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service to streamline financial planning, budgeting and forecasting processes (this is Oracle Hyperion Planning in the cloud); and Oracle Storage Cloud Service to manage digital content in the cloud. This service is integrated with other Oracle Cloud services that require online storage.
4) Better Boxes
Oracle went into engineered systems a couple of years back with the introduction of its first Exadata box. It is now up to version 3.0 in Exadata and Exalogic. The latest versions promise more processor cores, more memory, more flash, better performance and greater levels of consolidation, all at the same price as the previous generation.
The company hopes to tempt users to do away with cobbling together their own data centers by providing abundant processing power, storage and networking in one machine.
“The Exadata X3 database in-memory machine offers 26 TB of RAM and flash memory,” said Ellison.
According to Hurd, Exadata X3 was 20 times faster on report generation and some other workloads than Exadata X2.
5) No More Disk Drives
With Exadata and Exalogic, active data is stored in memory.
“Disk drives are becoming passé,” said Ellison. “With this system, you will virtually never use your disk drives.”
That said, X3 includes 500 TB of disk for cold data.
6) Not SSD
Another sharp distinction is made between solid state storage (SSD) and PCI-based flash. Oracle favors the latter in X3. That puts the flash right beside the processor as opposed to being replacements that are pushed into disk drive slots. “You can do a simple upgrade to Exadata X2 software and you can immediately boost your IOPS, sometimes by as much as 20 times,” said Ellison.