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1/27/2011
10:48 AM
Doug Henschen
Doug Henschen
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Oracle Exec Says Exadata Can Do It All

Database executive Andy Mendelsohn tells financial analysts that Oracle has all the bases covered. Here's where the company stands on Exadata progress and disruptive threats to its database business.

NoSQL? No way. In-memory? We're all over that. Columnar? That's a niche. Cloud? We're participating.

This is a synopsis of what Andy Mendelsohn, Senior Vice President, Oracle Server Technologies, had to say about the company's database offerings during a January 14 Webcast for financial analysts. Kash Rangan of Merrill Lynch also joined the event, asking several good questions.

Mendelsohn didn't quite deliver the kind of chest-thumping performance his boss, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, typically dishes out. Nonetheless, he exuded plenty of confidence and didn't concede to any shortcomings in the Oracle portfolio.

You wouldn't expect any mea culpas or hand wringing during such a presentation, but it was revealing to hear what Mendelsohn says Oracle thinks about the state of the market and various competitive threats. Here are a few highlights along with my own reality checks.

Exadata Progress.

Mendelsohn didn't cite any hard figures about Exadata's market progress -- other than to repeat Ellison's $2 billion sales pipeline claim -- but he did throw out a few interesting tidbits. About 70% of Exadata deployments to date involve data warehousing, he said, and he specifically mentioned two new customers: Turkcell and Softbank.

European mobile phone provider Turkcell replaced a conventional Oracle data warehouse deployment with Exadata, crunching 250 terabytes down to 17 terabytes in the process. Mendelsohn credited Exedata's 10X hybrid columnar compression with the dramatic economies. But I imagine the redeployment also eliminated lots of indexes, partitions, materialized views, and other forms of overhead that were bogging down the old deployment.

Japanese telco Softbank replaced a Teradata deployment with three Exadata Database Machines, lowering operating costs, reducing data center space required and improving performance, according to Mendelsohn.

On the OLTP front, CommonwealthBank of Australia and Sogeti are running PeopleSoft and Oracle E-Business Suite, respectively, on Exadata, Mendelsohn said.

Reality Check: I've been offered interviews with two Exadata customers to date: BNP Paribas and, most recently, LinkShare (an interview I completed just last week, so stay tuned). BNP Paribas replaced a conventional Oracle RAC deployment and reduced a 23-terabyte deployment down to less than 10 terabyes. LinkShare's deployment is about 6 terabytes.

I have to say I'm not bowled over by the scale of the Exadata deployments I've seen thus far. Yes, Oracle's hybrid compression helped knock these deployments down to size, and that's a very good thing, as it saves on storage cost and improves efficiency. But Teradata, IBM/Netezza, Greenplum and others have deployments where usable data is up into the hundreds of terabytes and even into the petabytes. Long story short, Exadata has yet to live up to its name (given that 1 exabyte = 1,024 petabytes ).

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