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9/20/2010
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Hurd Takes Oracle OpenWorld Stage To Highlight Products

In his first public appearance at Oracle, new co-president Mark Hurd steps out at OpenWorld as a champion of Oracle products and product direction.

Oracle co-president Mark Hurd took the lead role in a keynote address at Oracle OpenWorld Monday in San Francisco. Hurd and executive vice president John Fowler introduced an updated Exadata machine and cited its ability to work with a new appliance addition to Oracle's hardware/software product line, the Exalogic Elastic Cloud announced by CEO Larry Ellison Sunday night.

Hurd described the Exadata X2-8 database machine as running on two Intel servers, each one an eight-way server with eight cores per CPU, for a total of 128 cores. It includes two terabytes of memory and is closely linked in a rack to 14 storage servers dedicated to managing database calls to disk. The storage servers represent another 168 Intel cores and 336 terabytes of storage capacity.

"Exadata changed the game. It put intelligence in the storage and integrated the database and storage all as one solution," he said. Queries are forwarded to the storage intelligence where they are pre-processed to determine what data they are looking for. With that information, the intelligence on the storage servers don't need to load all the data from selected database tables into memory in the manner of normal relational database operation. Instead, they can pull out a more limited amount of data to be acted on by the query.

Exadata was initially introduced as a fast data warehouse machine. In its X2 version, which comes in four sizes, from quarter rack to full rack, it can serve for online transaction processing as well. "It's good for a mix of OLTP, data warehousing, batch and reporting," Hurd said.

Fowler elaborated on the nature of the Exalogic device. It is a middleware appliance built on Intel hardware, hosting the Oracle WebLogic application server and able to run applications from Siebel Systems, PeopleSoft and J. D. Edwards, now all part of Oracle, along with Oracle's own E-Business Suite. In effect, Oracle has integrated its software application stack with Fusion middleware to run on another Intel-based appliance. The announcement calls it "a complete cloud application infrastructure… to meet the most demanding service-level requirements."

The Exalogic Elastic Cloud is designed to work with the Exadata database machine and make heavy use of flash memory -- up to five terabytes, Fowler said. The flash memory serves as a giant cache storing business logic and the data that it's working with, with the two tied together by data transfers at the speed of light.

The application and middleware machine can be tied into an Exadata database machine or storage arrays using its Infiniband switching fabric capable of moving data at 40 GB per second. The combination allows a Java application to run up to ten times faster on the elastic application machine compared to other application server configurations, Fowler said.

"Our new management tools can tell you if you have legally configured your application from the database through the middleware to the disk controller," he said. The different parts of the stack can be monitored and managed through a single interface supplied by the Oracle systems management application for its own environment, Oracle Enterprise Manager.

As he ended his address, Hurd's co-keynoter Fowler congratulated him: "Not bad for two weeks on the job."

Hurd was recently tapped by CEO Larry Ellison as a replacement for Charles Phillips to serve in Oracle's co-presidency with Safra Catz. His participation in the keynote was his first prominent role since taking office in stating the direction and mix of the Oracle product line.

The first full day of Oracle OpenWorld was also used to give a prominent role to Fujitsu, the Japanese firm with $50 billion in revenues and 176,000 employees worldwide that is now the largest manufacturer of UltraSparc chips. Fowler showed off a pie-sized silicon die etched with T3 chips and later received a T3 housing with a chip embedded in it from Noriuki Toyoki, senior vice president of Fujitsu. The T3 will power the next generation of Fujitsu and Sun servers.

The 16-core T3 will serve as the foundation for the next generation of Oracle's Sun Sparc hardware division and Fujitsu servers. Both companies extolled the value of the partnership, built on top of 20 years of Sun and Fujitsu working together, Fowler said.

The Monday morning keynote included a 30-minute presentation by Fujitsu's Toyoki on its founding in 1935 through its early days of rebuilding communications in Japan after World War II and entering the computer industry.

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