Today, Oracle announced the Exadata X4-2 model. The X4 has some considerable improvements, namely:
- 12-core Intel Xeon e5-2697 CPUs, up from the 8-core models found in the X3-2 (hello, database licenses!)
- 256GB RAM per database server, upgradeable to 512GB
- 96GB RAM per storage server
- 800GB Sun Flash F80 cards - 3.2TB of storage per cell (44TB of flash on a full rack)
- New disk drives - 1.2TB 10,000RPM high performance, 4TB, 7,200RPM high capacity disks
- Compute nodes with 600GB disk drives
- Active-active InfiniBand links
- No spine switch for half and full racks - separate purchase required
- Spares kit includes 1 drive and 1 flash card - no extra IB cables
One of the other important announcements is that Oracle will begin to support compression of the flashcache, giving the ability to cache even more data on the storage servers. This compression will apparently be processed on the cards themselves, thus not impacting the CPU resources on the storage servers. I have heard that this option will require the advanced compression option, but have not confirmed that. Also, it looks like the flashcache compression feature will be available on the X3 models as well. Sorry, V2 and X2 owners. While I would have liked to see the ability to hard partition CPUs like is available on the ODA, it looks like Oracle isn't going in that direction. This means that even an eighth rack of X4-2 will give you 12 processor cores per database host. On the bright side, you still get to keep all of the memory, and there's as much flash in the X4-2 eighth rack as was in an X3-2 quarter.
The "active-active" InfiniBand links aren't what you would traditionally think - it's not a single active-active bond. The ib0 and ib1 devices are separate interfaces. Because of this change in the configuration, it is only supported when X4 racks are connected together. If connecting an X4 with a V2, X2, or X3, you will need to keep the traditional (active/passive) configuration. I'm not sure whether this configuration is configured to work with 18.104.22.168, or if it requires 22.214.171.124 and up.
Along with the new release of cellsrv (126.96.36.199.0), a new version of the InfiniBand switch firmware is included. Patchmgr will now upgrade the firmware on the InfiniBand switches. The new release also brings ASR support to the InfiniBand infrastructure. This should be beneficial, since it was something not offered in the past.
From a hardware standpoint, it looks like the X4 will be another incremental step forward in the platform's lifecycle. I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on the latest version of cellsrv to start testing a few of the other new features out.