Monday, October 3, 2011

#oow11 Keeping the Exas straight

#oow11 Felt asleep in the middle of the presentation,so whats new besides more storage and faster machines? #oow11


Oracle started introducing its "Exa-" product lines at about the same time that I changed jobs and stopping going to Oracle OpenWorld. Because of this, I haven't necessarily been keeping up with all of the Exas.

Now that there are three of them - Exadata, Exalogic, and Exalytics - my brain needs to keep all of them straight. Since I assume that other people have the same problem, I was searching for some succinct descriptions of the differences between the Exas.

Here's how Scott Tiazkun of Pierre Audoin Consultants sorted them out, in a post written before Ellison's Sunday night announcement:

To keep all their “Ex’s” in perspective, Exadata is actually a Sun /Oracle appliance that configures storage server hardware, software and an enterprise database. Exalogic is a bundled hardware/software device that features either x86 or SPARC compute nodes, an open standard grid architecture, Oracle middleware and Sun storage and networking capabilities. Now with Exalytics, Oracle is looking to provide an analytics solution to those companies that want analytics capabilities in their everyday business processes.

More here.

Mark Fontecchio also clarifies:

The Oracle Exalytics Business Intelligence Machine is a server that runs the company’s own TimesTen in-memory technology and Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite. It includes 1 TB of DRAM memory and 40 Intel Xeon processor cores. The company said it ties into Oracle Exadata or Exalogic using InfiniBand technology it also allows organizations to connect to existing data center hardware via a built-in Ethernet connection.

More here.

You will note that these succinct explanations came from third parties. They did not come from Larry Ellison, as Ovum's Carter Lusher noted:

[T]he crowd in attendance was subjected to mind numbing technical specifications about Oracle’s Exadata and Exalogic appliances. This recitation of specs was a missed opportunity.

And even if Ellison had clearly and succinctly stated which Exa was which, Lusher also noted that this is meaningless without compelling customer stories. I'm not sure how Lusher defines compelling, since Oracle has trotted out various customers praising all three of the Exas, but perhaps Lusher feels that even the customer stories are too tech-weenie.

It's a common danger in tech, in which you are so busy admiring the trees that you forget to take a step back and look at the forest.


Incidentally, perhaps a better concise explanation is out there, and I just didn't find it. If so, please mention it in the comments.
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