Oracle Open World: Ellison Preaches Cloud Religion

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison used his OOW keynote to make four major announcements.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison used his opening keynote at Oracle Open World (OOW) to unveil several initiatives to accelerate the cloud, including its own private cloud, Infrastructure-as-a-Service, and its latest database version—which, coincidentally, can be stored in memory within Oracle’s latest Exadata database machines.

Ellison also paid tribute to Oracle hardware partner Fujitsu, which had earlier announced “Project Athena”: a server designed with a UltraSPARC chip that (he claimed) can run the Oracle database “faster than any microprocessor on the planet.”

Ellison opened OpenWorld with four key announcements: that Oracle is now offering infrastructure as a service; that it will complement the IaaS offering by allowing customers to run that same infrastructure behind their corporate firewall as a private cloud; the launch of Oracle database 12C (where the “c” stands for “cloud”); and, finally, the new Exadata servers, which barely use disk drives at all in-favor of in-memory storage, with flash memory as a fallback.

Ellison termed the concept of the cloud a very old one, dating back one hundred years or so as with the first utilities. That notion of services, he added, helped drive Oracle’s own embrace of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and finally Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).

“What we’re offering is our OS, our VM, our compute services and storage services on the fastest most reliable systems in the world—our engineered systems, Exadata, Exalogic, Exalytics—all linked with Infiniband,” Ellison said. “We’re adding a new line of business, cloud computing, to our traditional lines of business: selling software and selling hardware.”

A number of customers are excited about using infrastructure as a service in Oracle’s data center, he continued. But for those that don’t, there’s a private cloud option that places the same exact hardware behind the customer’s firewall: “You could put that service in our data center and run the identical one on our floor or your floor.

“We own it, we manage it, we upgrade it—you pay a monthly fee for what you use,” Ellison said. Oracle will work with customers to estimate the amount of usage that customers will use, so that they will be able to accommodate their costs.

The Oracle private cloud will run “all” Oracle software, including the expected Fusion applications, along with Oracle’s customized software services such as Siebel and PeopleSoft. Customers can develop new applications on the private cloud and tap into Oracle database and Fusion middleware, which also runs on the Oracle private cloud.

Oracle Database 12c and Exadata Servers

The real meat of the night, however, was saved for the latter two announcements: Oracle Database 12c and the Exadata servers that will run them. Ellison said that Database 12c had been in development for more than four years, and that Oracle’s development teams had produced the first multitenant database in the world. He characterized rivals’ development of multitenant applications as the wrong approach.

With multitenancy at the database level, he added, customers would get security to go along with efficiency. Each customer’s data—potentially shared among various physical locations—is safe in a separate, private database. All expected security features work, including auditing, security, encryption, and redaction. “This may come as a surprise, but these things do not work in multitenant databases,” Ellison said, before correcting himself to replace “database” with “applications.”

Oracle Database 10c was designed to use much less hardware, with compression reducing the hardware requirements by about a sixth. Ellison claimed that just 3GB of memory of pluggable databases is all that’s needed to store 50 databases, versus 20GB for separate databases. Pluggable databases will scale to 250, while separate databases max out at 50.

Finally, Oracle announced Exadata X3, which puts the entire active database in memory to accelerate performance as much as possible. “If you thought the old Exadatas were fast, you ain’t seen nothing yet,” Ellison said.

At the top sits 4 terabytes of DRAM, containing the hottest or most frequently-accessed data. Oracle compresses the data on the order of ten to one, increasing the DRAM capacity to an effective 40 terabytes. Below that sits 22 TB of flash cache—not an SSD, but a cache which intercepts both reads (1.5 million flash reads I/Os per second) as well as writes (1 million per second). Since the capability is software-based, those with Exadata X2 machines will see the flash cache “turn on” when and if they upgrade their old software. At the bottom sits 500 TB of disk storage for the coldest data; Ellison claimed that those disks would rarely be used.

He also highlighted Exadata X3’s dramatic improvement for flash performance (800 GB/s) via the EMC Vmax 40K, at 52 GB/s. Exadata X3 will cost the same as the Exadata X2, with half-racks retailing for $650,000 and new one-eighth racks (16 DB cores, 54 TB disk, 2.4 TB PCI flash cache) for $200,000.

The new products are expected to reach the market in 2013.


Image: Oracle