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Oracle OpenWorld Day 0 (Larry’s Keynote) October 1, 2012

Posted by Duncan in OOW.

We witnessed a great keynote from Larry this evening. Not only did he have some great announcements, but he was back on form as a presenter. He has ditched the brown suit, the nervous giggles and the ‘next slide’ mannerisms, this year’s Larry is a much more polished and authoritative figure.

He made four big announcements:

1) Oracle’s new Infrastructure as a Service offering

Oracle already have a SaaS offering (the applications) and a PaaS offering (Java, the database in the cloud etc), now they have an IaaS offering. They are the only vendor who covers all three layers (Amazon only has IaaS, Salesforce only has the other two). Larry sold it well “it’s our OS, our VM, on the fastest, most reliable, most secure systems, running on Exalogic, Exadata, Exalytics and SuperCluster networked together on an Infiniband network’.

Taking on Amazon Web Services is a bold move, with Amazon having a sizable head-start, and Microsoft and Google being ahead also. It is a new line of business for Oracle, albeit one that they had no interest in not too long ago. Back in 2010, Ed Screven (who introduced the sponsor at the start of the keynote) said “We have no plans to build something like Amazon’s EC2 … we don’t plan to be in the rent-by-minute computer business.”

It’ll be exciting to start using it when it’s available.

2) The Oracle Private Cloud

Last year Larry announced the Oracle Public Cloud, this year he unveiled the Private Cloud. This service is designed for customers who are nervous about putting their data in the public cloud (financial or government clients, I would suspect, plus those in countries with strict data governance rules).

Essentially, Oracle installs the same servers that it would use for you in the Public Cloud, but in your data centre, within your firewall. Oracle will install, manage, maintain and upgrade the hardware. They’ll also install excess capacity, which you’ll only pay for if you use.

The private cloud is capable of running all oracle software, including PeopleSoft – so it’s not a Fusion only service – however it has clearly been designed with Fusion in mind (helping clients who are nervous about the cloud with Fusion-size hardware). Another neat feature is that you can move data back and forth between the public and private clouds (so you could use the public cloud for development, or for backup, or for extra capacity).

3) Oracle Database 12c is multi-tenant

Larry christened it the 1st multi-tenant database in the world. It was described as a single database comprised of many container databases that you can plug in, each allocated separate memory and processes.

Much was made of the fact that other vendors normally implement multi-tenancy in the application layer which is clearly more problematic. He named NetSuite (started in 1998) and Salesforce (1999) as having to run MT in the application layer as back then they didn’t have any other options … which rather amusingly made them sound like outdated legacy ERP vendors and Oracle sound like the bright, new tech.

He stated that the plugable database architecture uses 1/6 of the hardware resources and scaled to 250 instances, whereas traditional databases only scaled to 50.

4) Exadata X3

The final announcement was a new piece of hardware – which is apparently the hardware foundation for the Oracle Cloud. It’s essentially a server with an awful lot of memory, enabling you to reside your entire database in RAM. Larry used the phrase “if you thought the old Exadatas were fast, you ain’t seen nothing yet”. A single rack of X3 has 26TB of memory, and as they also compress it, it can store 220TB of data in a single X3 rack (so it’s not just your database in memory, but ALL of your databases in memory). You’ll virtually never use disk drives, although he conceded that they’d still be ok for images etc.

In some respects, this is following what some other companies have done, particularly SAP with Hana. However Hana only has 0.5TB of memory, compared with 26TB in the X3.

At a lower level, the 26GB is split between 4TB of DRAM and 22TB of flash memory heuristically managed so the hottest data goes in DRAM. He then compared against an EMC VMAX box (that EMC were recently demonstrating as trouncing the competition), and the X3 comfortably comes out on top. He also did a favourable comparison against IBM.

The cheapest configuration is 1/8 of a rack and that lists at $200k, but Larry said that his salesmen would be eager to give you a good deal so you’ll get it much cheaper.

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