The second iteration of Oracle’s Exadata database engine will feature flash storage embedded within the server machine, eliminating the need to source data from storage disks and cutting query processing time significantly, a company executive revealed Friday.
The integration of Flash storage into the processing central of the stack makes it an ideal machine for OLTP (On-Line Transaction Processing) applications that only read small amounts of data but does it repetitively.
“Coupled with the hybrid columnar compression feature which groups data by column before compression, the flash storage can fit up to 50 terabytes of data,” explained Christopher Chelliah, general manager for Exadata and Appliance solutions, Oracle Asia Pacific.
Launched in September 2009, Exadata’s Version 2, according to Chelliah, hopes to address the growing volume of corporate data, which triples every two years. “As data grows, queries tend to go slower,” he said, adding that the transfer of huge volumes of data through the pipelines create a bottleneck that degrade the performance of the machines in the long run.
Aside from Flash memory integration, Chelliah said Oracle is approaching this problem in a two-fold manner: by integrating a Smart Scan feature in the storage drives, and by using transfer pipes with higher throughputs.
Smart Scan, Chelliah explained, turns disk drives into intelligent storage by fitting in a query processing feature. Using the analogy of a needle in the haystack, Chelliah said Smart Scan “looks for the needle” among all the disk arrays before sending it back, instead of transferring all the data up through the pipeline.
In solving the problem of bottlenecks, the Oracle executive said the new stack is using InfiniBand, a PCI card-based specialized cable which speeds up transfer rates up to ten times.
“The key value proposition of Exadata V2 is being able to process data quickly,” Chelliah remarked. “It eliminates the need to buy more storage to store more data, which can help companies save on costs.”
The second release of Oracle’s Exadata is using a Sun Microsystems server machine, different from its predecessor which uses an HP server. Asked whether this will be the natural direction of future Oracle database releases following its recent acquisition of Sun, Chelliah remarked: “I have no comment on future directions of Oracle, but what I know is that future database releases are still going to use x86 and 64-bit versions.”