This post is about exaggeration.
The Oracle Database running in the Database Grid of an Exadata Database Machine is the same as what you can run on any Linux x64 server. Depending on the workload (OLTP/ERP/DW.BI.Analytics) there is the variable of storage offload processing freeing up some cycles on the RAC grid when running Exadata. Yes, that is true.
We all know the only thing that really costs Oracle IT shops is Oracle’s licensing and Oracle’s license model is per-processor.
So the big question is whether spending a significant amount of money for Exadata storage actually reduces the Oracle Database licensing cost due to offload processing. Or, in other words, does the magic of Exadata offload processing save you money.
That’s an interesting topic but before I even blog about it I have to wonder how a company like Oracle aims to improve their bottom line by undercutting their high-margin product space (i.e., RAC licenses) just to push in low-margin storage products (products based entirely on commodity x64 componentry) like Exadata? Oh well, who knows? Actually, I can answer that. The investors that think Oracle is a hardware company (as a result of buying Sun Microsystems in 2010) want to see some tin hitting the shipping dock. Really? Swapping high-margin for low-margin? Perhaps it’s a buy high, sell low play where the goal is to make up for it with volume. Hah. I call that ExaMath(tm).
I have heard ridiculous claims concerning how many non-Exadata Linux x64 cores one requires to match the same number of licensed database server cores in an Exadata environment. And when I say ridiculous, I really mean absurd. But it all comes down to how much you pay for the cores in Exadata storage and what percentage of work is offloaded from the RAC grid to the storage grid. Indeed, if, for instance, 90% of the RDBMS effort is offloaded from the RAC grid to the storage grid in Exadata you’d need 90% fewer excruciatingly expensive RAC licenses to service an application than you would without Exadata storage. That’s an interesting idea and if it helps Oracle sales folks clinch a deal or two I’m sure everyone is all the merrier. As the person cutting the purchase order for the software, aren’t you overjoyed? No? Please, read on.
How Much Offload Processing Will Occur With Your Application?
That depends. However, if you are buying the solution then the onus is upon you to figure that out before you spend money. If there is not a significant amount of offload processing for your application then you paid for a lot of processors that are doing nearly nothing to improve your application performance.
Just for fun sake, please participate in this poll. Your answer may reflect what your Oracle sales team is telling you or it may reflect your perception from Oracle marketing. Either way, let’s see how this goes: