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.
Question is, will they disable cores across sockets uniformly or do you get a single socket (half the box) ? That would be a bit of a NUMA problem (non-optimal).
How do they do it in ODA?
On the ODA, Oracle gives you an even number of cores from each physical socket – you can license 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 cores per node. When you choose to license fewer than the 12 cores in each node, you get a key that is fed to OAK (the Oracle Appliance Kit software) which disables the unused cores in the bios.
OK, yep, that makes sense.
The whole quarter rack thing comes as no surprise to me. The X3 will be a bit faster than X2 and X2 quarter racks are bigger than most customers need.
I wonder, are they going to disable cores in the cells too?
From the emails that we received, they will disable half of the cores on the storage as well.