Posted on October 5, 2016 by Erik Benner
Now that I have returned from my long #OOW16 trip, that included spending the week before the conference in Redwood Shores, and Santa Clara getting up to speed with several product teams, I am starting to look at how to summarize the trip. One thing is very clear; Oracle is in the infrastructure market to win! Their approach is to provide clients a high performing, secure platform to host a variety of applications both in the cloud, at the client’s on premise location and in hybrid deployments mixing both. I have been following this journey closely since Oracle purchased SUN Microsystems. As a trusted outsider I have watched significant resources invested in several projects announced at #OOW16. Back in 2014, Oracle released the M7 to the public, with many benefits around security, performance and price. Initially clients were slow to adopt the technology, as Intel systems had become the default server in the datacenter. Then clients started to take a serious look at the new architecture and they began to realize that the systems truly offered more security, and performance at a better price than other technologies. These systems also included better virtualization technologies that remove almost all the overhead of virtualized systems and includes hardware accelerated cryptology for seamless encryption for data at rest and in motion. For larger clients the M7s made a lot of sense, but there was another project in the works called Sonoma. Earlier this year, Oracle launched a second generation of 7 based servers, this time at a price that allows smaller clients to gain ALL of the hardware performance and security advantages of the M7 systems. These Sonoma or S7 servers turned the tide, with clients recognizing that their infrastructure does matter and we began to see a significant trend of customers returning to Sparc. After all, if the system is more secure, easier to maintain and faster than a similar priced competitor why not take a serious look? Clients in all verticals have made this choice, reaping the advantages of Sparc systems. These gains are most evident in an Oracle Engineered System released this fall, the Exadata SL, a Sparc based Exadata system running Linux! If you have been following me, this should not be a huge surprise, as last year I was able to talk about Linux on Sparc from Oracle on my blog Tales from the Data Center.
I had the opportunity to play with the systems for a little bit, and was very impressed how the 7 architecture was able to outperform an equivalent x86 Exadata half it’s size! There are a lot of technical reasons why it can do this, but the end results are 1) license savings when consolidating database workloads, and 2) the performance gains that can help the business reinvent how it can leverage data to make critical decision faster than their competitors. Business leaders that need to make critical decisions, leveraging reports that are seconds and minutes old vs. days and weeks old are a giant competitive advantage. When you also add in the integrated security keeping the organization’s data protected the business case for enhanced infrastructure by Oracle is really clear.
The Infrastructure technologies released from Oracle this year also included a hint at what is happening to the ZFS array technology, with a new hybrid cloud storage solution that will enable on premise storage array to leverage cloud storage for a variety of use cases. The new ZFS ZS5-2 array was announced, enabling clients to use the same storage used in the Oracle Cloud, with all of the performance advantages. The beauty of the ZFS technology is that while Oracle has been able to include some special database technologies like Oracle Intelligent Storage Protocol (OISP) and Direct NFS ( dNFS), the arrays are still able to be used to non-Oracle workloads like VWware storage.
We also saw the announcement of the ODA X6-L and X6-HA systems. The X6-L expands to over 8 NVME drives, providing the IO that was only seen on Exadata systems a few years ago. The X6-HA refreshed the ODA X5, but moves to 100% solid-state disks, driving up to one million input operations per second. Yes, ONE MILLION IOPS in a small appliance. The fills out the new ODA launch, with the $18,000 X6-S starting at 10 cores and 250,000 IOPS all the way to the HA with 40 cores and a whopping 1,000,000 IOPS!
It is clear Oracle is 100% committed to competing and winning in the infrastructure and underlying Cloud infrastructure space. Oracle is hiring the best and brightest engineers from companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Google. This new development team is lead by Peter Magnusson, the technology executive that built the Google App Engine and Snapchat and Depak Patil, the vice president of development who leads Oracle's cloud business, and formally launched Azure for Microsoft in 2009. This dream team of developers was given one mission; use their experience when building the older cloud technologies and build it better. Look for a future blog on the Generation 2 Cloud from Oracle that will go into this in more detail. The point to be made now, is that in the Generation 2 Cloud, you have the ability to take your on premise workloads, and lift and shift them to and from the cloud. This includes legacy VMWare based systems, enabling customers to move in and out of the cloud based on their requirements regardless of the technology or platform they sit on now (Oracle or competing technologies).
Erik Benner, Enterprise Architect, Mythics Inc.