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October 20, 2008


Sudhir Brahma

Hello Chuck,
Is EMC planning to incorporate some of DWH processing on the Clariion itself, ie something closer to a DWH appliance/node?

Chuck Hollis

Sudhir, you ask very good questions!

The answer is that we've looked at this on and off for many years at EMC. So far, we haven't been convinced that this would be something that people would want.

One aspect is the observation that the FC channel isn't the bottleneck in DW. We can, with a bit of forethought, feed more data into a DW server than it can reasonably process. Moving some of that logic from one side of the FC channel to the other doesn't buy any performance or cost advantage in most cases.

Another aspect is the propensity for DW to consume large amounts of CPU and memory resources respectively. So, if you built a storage array optimized for the task, you'd end up with some very interesting-looking storage arrays that had big-server specs rather than storage specs.

Since you seem to follow this blog, you're probably aware that I and many others are incredibly skeptical of Oracle's move into this space with their HP-built Exadata server.

There's no evidence that it's any faster than a traditional approach (e.g. servers and SAN), not to mention obviously more expensive, questionable manageability, and so on.

Now, that's the story so far. But, as you know, things have a way of changing in this industry over time, so never say never!

-- Chuck

DW Appliance


PADB (from ParAccel) already has a solution on Clarionfor extreme performance. PADB is a MPP Database built for DW and analytic database. Extreme performance on Clarions. www.paraccel.com

Good luck


Just wanted to give the reference to the Clarion appliance. Its called SAA

BTW, Chuck makes excellent points about Oracle Exadata.At the end of the day its nothing but a RAC. Even though the storage sends less data to the hosts, the SMP hosts are still a bottleneck. Its not a MPP shared nothing architecture either. All the Redo logs etc are still there and shared. Indexes still need to tuned. So, overall it has nothing different to offer than traditional Oracle.
Also, what is a 10X improvement claim over existing Oracle systems? Nothing to boost about when companies like ParAccel with no indexes and no tuning can be extremely fast. PADB is a simple load and go environment, no tuning and no indexes. Check it out!!


So while Oracle turns to appliance marketing(my metaphore here is "You want a steering wheel with that car?"), Teradata is now running on Linux although I don't think they're marketing it heavily. Teradata does use the streeing wheel approach for backups and now a new appliance for database management. The latter is really bad as dbms management is obviously software only, why do I need your PC to run it on??

This however, is miniscule compared to requiring hardware for the DBMS. Why did Teradata abandon that idea? Is it inevitable that Oracle will as well and if so, after how long?

Chuck Hollis

I agree, Kevin

I think the real challenge for Teradata and similar is the business model: they've built their business on selling, supporting and controlling all aspects of the solution, and the premise of unbundling their value-add scares the cr*p out of them.

But Oracle is different -- I think it is a toxic mixture of a well-known problem (e.g. Oracle performance in DW environments), new and nimble competitors (insert long list here) along with a healthy dose of typical Oracle behaviors.

Time will tell. So far, not exactly a big uptake in the market :-)


"So far, not exactly a big uptake in the market"

Where do you get the sales figures for Exadata? Just interested!

I have a feeling that Exadata is not going to sell big time, but am always willing to be proven wrong.

Chuck Hollis

Hi Richard -- it's strictly anecdotal so far.

These tend to get proposed in large enterprise accounts where EMC typically has good coverage, so we're guessing we hear about the vast majority of these.

So far, we have yet to confirm that one has actually been paid for yet.

-- Chuck

okwui agada

This Exadata is for DW/BI environments only? Or will it also work with regular OLTP environments?

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
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