Oracle’s Exalogic Software 2.0 Offers Virtualization Muscle

Oracle has unveiled its Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software 2.0, with new features designed to further streamline IT administrators’ cloud management.

Oracle’s Exalogic Elastic Cloud is an integrated hardware and software platform that allows businesses to set up their own clouds. It comes in a box; hardware includes Intel Xeon x86 compute notes, InfiniBand and Ethernet switches, and integrated network-attached storage. In addition to Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) management software, the platform made its debut with a choice of Oracle Linux or Solaris operating systems.

Software-wise, Oracle Exalogic now supports virtualization capabilities at the server level, and—in a benefit for those companies that already rely on Oracle products—integration with applications such as Oracle Traffic Director (an application delivery controller) and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c. With the update, the platform can also support more and larger virtual machines. The company claims its system will offer “10x performance gains” for Oracle applications and Java-based applications, as well as “6x faster” application provisioning.

“Built on open, industry standards, Oracle Exalogic can support consolidation of hundreds of Java and non-Java applications,” Hasan Rizvi, senior vice president of Oracle Fusion Middleware and Java Products, wrote in a July 25 statement, “and delivers lower total cost of ownership by supporting more transactions on less hardware and software with ease of management.”

Some have argued that Oracle’s Exalogic Elastic Compute Cloud doesn’t fit the traditional model of cloud computing. In a speech at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2010, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff famously derided it as “just another server,” adding:

“When [Oracle CEO Larry Ellison] said it starts at a million dollars, I went: Is it democratic? Is it energy efficient? Is it good for the environment, do you have to upgrade it and update it? Because if it isn’t any of those things, it isn’t cloud computing.”

Ellison and Benioff have taken some impressive swipes at each other over the years, mostly on the subject of cloud computing (and despite Ellison investing millions in Salesforce during its formative years). For a long time, Oracle seemed reluctant to plunge into cloud computing with the enthusiasm of some of its rivals, with Ellison once declaring it a tech-world fad. The Exalogic Elastic Compute Cloud remained the company’s highest-profile cloud product.

That all changed in June, when Oracle unveiled an Oracle Cloud with dozens of enterprise-grade applications, including platform and social services. Of course, to hear Ellison tell it during the platform’s unveiling, Oracle had actually been working on its cloud for seven years, at considerable manpower and expense.

“At the end of the day, it’s good to see a shift in thinking from cloud being a fad to Oracle embracing the cloud,” Ray Wang, principal analyst and CEO of Constellation Research, Tweeted during Oracle’s event. At the same time, he felt that Oracle’s relatively late entrance into the public-cloud arena had done it something of a disservice: “If Oracle, IBM, SAP had bought every cloud vendor in 2008, it would have cost less than $2 billion. Now they pay [the] price for late adoption.”

It remains to be seen whether Oracle will unite the Exalogic initiative with this latest cloud foray.


Image: Oracle