According to this techweb article, one of Oracle’s presidents “knows CIOs.” The article didn’t spend much time substantiating that notion but the title roped me in. I did read the entire article which I feel entitles me to blog a bit.
First, I’ll simply quote a quote that the article attributes to Oracle’ Mark Hurd:
Hurd reiterated Oracle’s claim that the highly tuned Exadata hardware-software combo yields 70x performance improvements–reports that took 70 minutes now take one minute
Sure, Exadata can easily be 70x faster than some other system. For instance, the “70-minute system” might have been a 2-socket Harpertown Xeon-based server. That would be about 1/70th Exadata’s database grid–from a CPU perspective. Or, perhaps, the Exadata 70x edge on these “reports” came from improved I/O. In that case, perhaps the 70-minute system was attached to storage that provided about 1GB/s (e.g., a low-end storage array that suffered controller saturation at 1GB/s). That would be about 1/70th the storage bandwidth of a full-rack Exadata configuration. But that all seems unlikely. It is much more likely that someone took the time to tune the query plans used by the “report” in which case the storage and CPU doesn’t really factor as heavily.
Certainly the I/O power of Exadata was not the 70x ingredient. Allow me to explain. If the “report” actually touched the same amount of data in the Exadata case the total data visited would have been about 5 terabytes and nobody runs “reports” that perform nearly 5 TB of disk I/O. We are talking about Oracle database after all and therefore the 70-minute system would have had indexes, partitioning and a other such I/O-elimination features available to it. Visiting nearly 5TB of data after I/O elimination (e.g., partition elimination, indexes, etc) is unlikely. Unless the query plan was non-optimal (likely). But I’m not blogging about that.
The article continues to quote Mark Hurd:
The customer who says it cost me $7 million to do that job before, you can literally take 70x off that and it costs him $100,000
That’s weird math and I’m simply not going to blog about that.
Finally, the article quotes Mark Hurd’s take on Big Data:
Well, it’s a tough world, man. When I grew up in this industry, there were IBM 360s, DEC VAXs, Data Generals–all that kind of stuff. And this [pointing to his iPhone] is a VAX. The power in this thing is like a VAX.
Alright, so that is the quote I’m blogging about. The VAX family of products spanned many generations. However, if one mentions IBM 360 and VAX in the same sentence we can safely presume the VAX in mind is of the printed circuit board (PCB) era. While I’m personally not quoted in press articles as “knowing CIOs”, I do know trivia. DEC VAX products of the PCB era were 1MIPS machines. I cannot impress upon you how terribly disappointed you’d be just waiting for an iPhone application to start up on a 1MIPS system.
No, I can’t go about saying I “know CIOs” but I do know that the processor in my smart phone—a Qualcomm Snapdragon—is a 2100 MIPS processor.
Yes, sadly, 2100x is all I’m blogging about.