My First Words About Oracle Exadata X3 In-Memory Database Machine

I’ve had countless emails from readers asking for a technical analysis of what Oracle announced at Openworld 2012 pertaining to the X3 refresh of Exadata Database Machine. I attended the show, fell ill and subsequently had a a lot of work backlog to clear. I will get to this next week and, not surprising to readers of this blog, I’ll take aim on  the following words: “Database In-Memory Machine” as they appear in the new marketing nickname for Exadata Database Machine.

Yes, I will blog the matter but would first like to recommend the following excellent blog posts by @flashdba as they relate to “Database In-Memory Machine”:

In Memory Databases Part I

In Memory Databases Part II

Note: Part II has one tiny bit of errata as discussed in the comment section of the post. The post speaks of the cache hierarchy of X3 and includes Exadata Storage Server DRAM in the aggregate. I need to point out that we know from reading the myriads of public information on the matter (Oracle’s whitepapers, employee blogs and Expert Oracle Exadata (Apress)) that the DRAM in Exadata Storage Server cells is not used for cache. DRAM in the storage servers is used for management (metadata) of Exadata Smart Flash Cache contents, Storage Indexes metadata and buffering (IB dend/receive buffers, HCC decompression output, etc). The cache hierarchy of X3 is quite succinctly host DRAM (SGA buffers and Results Cache) and Exadata Smart Flash Cache (the PCI flash devices accessed via SCSI disk driver through the Linux block I/O layer in the cells).


4 Responses to “My First Words About Oracle Exadata X3 In-Memory Database Machine”

  1. 1 joshuasingham (@joshuasingham) October 25, 2012 at 2:53 am

    Hi Kevin you mention that the flash cache is not on the database grid do you think it will be beneficial to move it to the database grid would like to know your opinion

    • 2 kevinclosson October 25, 2012 at 9:06 am

      Well, generally speaking it’s advantageous to have data as close the processors as possible. However, a cache in a database grid host is not shared and has RAC coherency concerns so what you are looking at in that regard is a read cache of the sort seen with Database Smart Flash Cache (OEL, Sol only) or EMC VFCache (aka lightening).

      My main message is to not confuse some storage-level flash cache (ala Exadata Smart Flash Cache) with In-Memory technology. That’s just ridiculous.

  2. 3 petemayall October 25, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Hi Kevin, agreed that those 2 articles by @flashdba were excellent and certainly explain what an IMDB really is and certainly Exadata X3 isn’t one of those!

    It will be interesting to see what new features in 12c are specific to Exadata once it is released. Although I don’t believe that Pluggable databases will be Exadata specific, it will be interesting to see how Oracle push them in terms of database consolidation, improved resource utilisation and also how they are licensed….

    • 4 kevinclosson October 25, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      Agreed. I cannot speak of 12c other than what I’ve seen in OOW slides. I was not in the beta program and have not touched the bits.

      Since it would be released until about February 2012 (my prediction) and will an Oracle “dot one” release (e.g., 12.1) I should think nobody will touch it until the “dot two” release is out. That’s my way of saying 12c should not be on anyone’s radar until 2014. But I could be wrong on the matter.

      There are a lot of folks just now planning their 9i/10g -> 11gR2 + hardware refresh migrations. I think we should keep our eyes keenly on 11.2. I should think will be extremely solid stuff.

      My speculation is that there will not be many Exadata-only 12c features. It wouldn’t suprise me if I’m wrong on that though. Read the tea-leaves. Oracle has dire need to produce lockin-ware.

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I work for Amazon Web Services. The opinions I share in this blog are my own. I'm *not* communicating as a spokesperson for Amazon. In other words, I work at Amazon, but this is my own opinion.

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