Monthly Archives: October 2012

Oracle Announces Exadata X3-2 and X3-8

Well, it’s finally public, so we’re able to openly talk about the new Exadata X3 systems.  Looking back on my pre-openworld predictions, I was pretty close on a few things.  I was correct on the database servers, which will have Xeon E5-2690 CPUs (8 core, 2.9GHz) with 128GB RAM upgradeable to 256GB.  It looks like we won’t get active/active Infiniband for a while, since the cards in there are staying the same.  On the X3-8, the compute nodes are staying the same, for reasons detailed by Kevin Closson a few weeks ago.  I also previously blogged about the X3-2 eighth rack.  I think this will become one of the more popular options for customers, based on the quarter racks that we’re seeing purchased.  I’m definitely interested to get my hands on one and see how half of the components have been disabled.  It’s very cool that Oracle was able to still give the redundancy of a true Exadata in a smaller footprint.

One of the bigger improvements on the X3 series comes down at the storage level.  I was a little bit off on the CPUS, which will be E5-2630L (6 core, 2.0GHz) with an upgrade from 24GB to 64GB of RAM.  The biggest differences on the storage servers will come via the F40 flash cards, which increase storage 4x (400GB per card), meaning that you’ll get 1.6TB of flash per cell.  Also, the version of the Exadata storage server software shipping with the X3 systems will be 11.2.3.2.0, which contains the famous “flash for all writes” cache.  Disk drives will stay the same (600GB or 3TB).

The new storage server software (11.2.3.2.0) should be released to the public some time this week, and it will include the flash write cache for previous systems.  I’m very interested to see what the performance of this feature will look like on the older X2 and V2 systems, where the flash cards are a little bit slower at writes than the new F40 cards.  It is worth noting that the write cache feature will be something that users can enable or disable, so if the performance is not what’s expected, it can be disabled.  Rest assured that once the patch is released, it’ll find its way onto one of Enkitec’s Exadata shortly thereafter.

Also, this new storage server software release will introduce Oracle’s Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel to the 2-socket Exadata crowd.  The UEK has been available for the X2-8 systems since their release, but Oracle had yet to run it on X2 systems.  This will change with the release of 11.2.3.2.0.  It is worth noting that it is still possible to go back to the RedHat compatible kernel if there is adverse performance on the UEK.

That’s it for now, and as new things come up during the week, I’ll try to post on here.