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 184.108.40.206.0, which contains the famous "flash for all writes" cache. Disk drives will stay the same (600GB or 3TB).
The new storage server software (220.127.116.11.0) 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 18.104.22.168.0. 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.
There have been a couple of posts we've seen lately about expectations of an Exadata X3-2 and X3-8 release at Oracle Open World 2012. I mentioned in my previous post about the possible release of an X3-2 1/8th rack configuration. I had guessed that this would be similar to the old V2 basic system that would include one compute node, one storage server, and one infiniband switch - all placed in your own rack. It sounds like I was a little bit off from this original idea.
Oracle has stopped taking orders on X2-2 and X2-8 hardware, and we have had a handful of our customers let us know about emails that they have received from Oracle reps announcing an Exadata X3-2 1/8th rack for sale. This configuration will work as "capacity on demand" (insert salesy buzz words). The plan for the Exadata X3-2 1/8th rack is to contain all of the hardware that exists within a 1/4 rack configuration (2 compute nodes, 3 storage servers, 2 infiniband switches), but to disable half of the CPU cores, half of the flash cards, and half of the hard disks via software controls.
Here's what I would expect this to look like:
- Compute Nodes
- 8 CPU cores (16 threads)
- 128GB RAM
- Storage Servers
- 6 or 8 CPU cores (12 or 16 threads)
- 2 PCIe flash cards
- 6 X 600GB SAS or 3TB SAS hard disks
- 2 Infiniband Switches
This would leave you with either 10Tb or 54TB of raw disk space depending on whether high performance or high capacity drives were chosen. The CPU cores and other hardware components would be disabled using software, probably similar to how unlicensed CPU cores in an ODA are disabled. This would mean that the 1/8th rack configuration would still contain RAC (including RAC licenses), multiple storage servers (only half of the Exadata storage server licenses), and lots of flash cache. The process from upgrading a 1/8 rack to a 1/4 rack system would simply be a matter of enabling the extra hardware, most likely through a license key. Based on the increase in CPU/memory/flash that I'm expecting to see from the X2 --> X3 release, I would expect to see quite a few customers looking at Exadata as an option for many hardware refresh upgrades. It will be really nice to actually test the improvements from the flash write cache that should be announced at Open World as well.
With only a month away from Larry Ellison's keynote at Oracle OpenWorld 2012, I thought that I would make a couple of wild guesses about new products that may or may not get announced this year. I'll lump them into a few educated guesses and wild conjecture. Insert standard blogging disclaimer (please read this part, Oracle lawyers):
Everything contained in this blog post is pulled from publicly available information and conclusions drawn from products that are currently available outside of Exadata. None of this information comes from within Oracle - not that Oracle would be willing to give me any information otherwise.
I've got a handful of presentations coming up in the latter part of the year, so I thought I'd add a quick post with where all I'm going to be. Seems like I'm all over the map and I couldn't stop thinking of a game that I played way back when I was in elementary school. Well, over the next few months, I'll be in a few places talking about Exadata, OEM, and other Oracle topics. Here's a list of where I'll be, and what I'll be talking about.
Oracle Open World (San Francisco, CA - September 30 - October 4)
- Engineered for Redundancy: How Engineered Systems Handle Hardware Failures (October 2, 1:15PM)
- Operational Best Practices for Oracle Exadata(October 3, 10:15AM)
- Speaking with Lawrence To, Oracle and Mike Smith, Oracle
- Oracle Exadata and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c: A Match Made in Heaven(October 3, 1:15PM)
- Speaking with Brad Peek, Targetbase
UK Oracle Users Group Conference (Birmingham, UK - December 3 - December 5)
- Patching Exadata Demystified (December 4, 11:15AM)
- Exadata Zero Downtime Migration (December 5, 11:15AM)
Of course, I'll be at Enkitec's booth (Moscone South, #421) at Open World as well, so feel free to stop by and say hi. We may just have some goodies to give out as well. I'm also teaching Enkitec's Exadata Administration course for a few sessions over the next 3 months.