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Ellison unveils 'Exalytics' in-memory machine

Chris Kanaracus | Oct. 3, 2011
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison unveiled the Exalytics Intelligence Machine, the latest member of the company's products that combine software and hardware, during a keynote address at the OpenWorld conference on Sunday in San Francisco.

Also before revealing Exalytics, Ellison gave an overview of Oracle's line of systems that combine stacks of software with hardware components, including servers, networking and storage. The strategy began with the Exadata database machine and Exalogic application server.

From the beginning, Oracle's design goals for its systems were the highest performance for the lowest cost, Ellison said. "For a given task, it will cost you less on an Exadata than it would on a plain old commodity server."

The main idea was a "parallel everything" architecture, with various set of components working in unison for more power and reliability, he said.

"These machines should never, ever fail," he said. "Hardware breaks. Software breaks too. But if you have a parallel architecture you should be tolerant of those failures."

Meanwhile, faster chips aren't the best way to make software run faster, because the real bottleneck is storage, according to Ellison. Database performance is "about moving data, and not doing arithmetic on a microprocessor," he said.

Oracle's systems also use advanced data compression, cutting the amount of storage costs and vastly reducing the amount of information that has to move back and forth between storage and the server, he said.

Overall, "we move data around a hundred times faster than anyone else in this business," Ellison claimed.

Ellison cited a series of companies such as Proctor & Gamble, BNP Paribas and AFG, which experienced vast performance and cost savings through Exadata.

Some 1,000 Exadata machines have been installed and 3,000 more will be sold this year, Ellison said.

Ellison also shared some Exalogic customer success stories. "We're actually getting more rapid adoption from Exalogic than we did from Exadata at the same point in time," he said. However, no specific sales figures were provided.

Java applications' response times are 10 times as fast on Exalogic, and companies can serve many more users at once, Ellison said.

Ellison had another reason to smile Sunday besides a splashy new product announcement. San Francisco Giants president Larry Baer presented him with a World Series commemorative ring. Oracle's hometown team won Major League Baseball's top prize last year. "I know a lot of you are surprised I'm getting this ring, but I hit .305 last year and was second in the running for the Golden Glove," Ellison joked.

Some 45,000 people are attending the conference, according to Oracle. It is co-located with the JavaOne show Oracle inherited from the purchase of Sun Microsystems.

OpenWorld continues this week through Thursday in San Francisco.


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