Where is Exadata?
Chuck Hollis, one of EMC’s senior execs and frequent blogger, has posted some odds and ends, but the one item that got my dander up was a little blurb on Exadata, Oracle’s storage server appliance. To quote Chuck:
Well, here we are in January, and it looks like the whole thing is losing momentum – as predicted. Sure, throwing a ton of hardware at the problem can make Oracle run much faster, but there are more elegant ways to get the same results — which customers are starting to realize.”
I find it odd that Chuck is even bothering to discuss Exadata on his blog. After all, the next stage of data warehouse storage was decided long ago, and it is not traditional SAN storage. Companies like Netezza, Datallegro (now Microsoft), Greenplum, and many others have all figured out that putting the storage as close to the end processing as possible is the cheapest, fastest way to run data warehouses, and they succeeded in getting some big customer wins against the traditional database vendors. Oracle simply had to compete, and that’s where the Exadata comes in.
Exadata is just Oracle’s way of offering a competitive offering to the existing data warehouse appliance vendors. While it potentially could be used in OLTP environments, Oracle isn’t heavily selling it into those environments. I certainly can’t speak to how successful it’s been from a revenue perspective, but one thing that’s going to limit adoptions currently is the fact that Exadata requires 11g. Oracle DBAs are notoriously slow to adopt new versions of Oracle, and most organizations I see are just now starting to evaluate 11g for production readiness.
Let’s see where Exadata is once 11g is the standard, and then we’ll talk. Of course, Oracle has long since been gunning for the end of “big box” storage vendors – the release of Oracle’s ASM storage management technology was the first salvo in Oracle’s strategy of commoditizing storage, as part of their attempts to commoditize everything but the database. After all, it gets a lot easier for Oracle to justify their software price points if the customer is buying cheap disk instead of expensive disk.