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Oracle Exalytics Virtual Deployments Review

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On February 27, 2012, Oracle announced the latest addition to its Engineered System portfolio, Exalytics. Oracle markets Exalytics as:
“First Engineered System for In-Memory Decision Support, Online Analytical Processing, Forecasting and Planning”. One year later Oracle announced a bigger Solaris based Exalytics system, the T5-8. Oracle markets the Exalytics T5-8 as:
“In-Memory Engineered System Helps Organizations Answer Critical Business Questions with Unmatched Speed, Scale and Intelligence”.
 
Oracle Exalytics is a preassembled hardware and software solution engineered to deliver high performance analytics, modeling and planning using the Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite, and Oracle TimesTen In-Memory Database.
 
Exalytics has two models, the Intel based Exalytics X5-4, and the SPARC based Exalytics T5-8:
  1. Exalytics X5-4 is single rack-mountable x86 server with 73 CPU cores, 2 TB Ram, upgradable up to 3 TB, 7.2 TB of HDD storage, 4.8 TB of PCIe Flash, running physical or virtual Oracle Linux, with InfiniBand connectivity to Oracle Exadata, Oracle Exalogic and Oracle SuperCluster.
    • Exalytics X5-4 is designed for Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite for reporting, adhoc query, dashboards, scorecards and OLAP.
  2. Exalytics T5-8 is single rack-mountable SPARC server with 128 CPU cores, 4 TB Ram, 6.4 TB of PCIe Flash, 9.6 TB of raw disk capacity, running physical or virtual Solaris 11, with InfiniBand connectivity to Oracle Exadata, Oracle Exalogic and Oracle SuperCluster.
    • Exalytics T5-8 is designed for Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite for reporting, adhoc query, dashboards, scorecards and OLAP,  Oracle TimesTen database & Oracle Essbase, and Oracle Hyperion Planning applications.
Both the Exalytics X5-4, and T5-8s can be deployed with High Availability by adding additional load balanced X5-4, and T5-8 nodes.
 
The initial Exalytics release only supported a Physical Configuration. From 2013 through 2015 the number of Intel processor cores doubled, which increased the cost to license Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation on Exalytics 50%. To address the 50% cost increases Oracle introduced Exalytics virtual deployments. On x86 Exalytics uses Oracle VM for x86 with Capacity On Demand, and Trusted Partitions. On SPARC Exalytics uses Logical Domains (LDOMS) with hard partition based licensing.
 
Hard partition based licensing, and Trusted Partitions allow Oracle software to be licensed at the virtual machine level instead of the physical processor core level. Without Trusted Partitions Oracle software must be licensed at the physical server’s or cluster’s processor core level, which is referred to as soft partitions.
 
Note: Hard partition based licensing predates Trusted Partitions, and today is available with Oracle VM for x86, as well as Engineered Systems using virtual deployments. Trusted partitions require that each virtual machine using a trusted partition to be managed by Oracle Enterprise Manager.
 
Capacity-on-demand (CoD) allows Exalytics compute nodes to be installed with a subset of its processor cores turned off so that the Oracle software license costs could be reduced.
 
Exalytics X5-4 utilizes both the Oracle VM for x86 server and management component. The server component is based on the open source Xen.org hypervisor, named Oracle VM server. The Xen hypervisor is a type 1 hypervisor that installs directly on hardware. Oracle makes subtle changes to the original Xen.org code that create a unique Xen distribution, which Oracle maintains and redistributes as Oracle VM server. Oracle VM server is designed to support the most demanding high I/O workloads like Oracle Databases.
 
The default Oracle VM for x86 management component is a traditional Oracle WebLogic application, named Oracle VM Manager. Oracle VM Manager consists of two J2EE applications using a MySQL backend, with an Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF) administrative web portal. Exalytics X5-4 utilizes Oracle VM Manager as the primary user interface for virtual deployments, as well as Enterprise Manager for monitoring, and application management. Exalytics X5-4 does not have a management node, so Oracle VM Manager must be provisioned on an external physical or virtual machine on Oracle Linux or Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 or 6.
 
Exalytics T5-8s utilizes Solaris Logical Domains (LDOMS) for virtualization configured from the command line, as well as Enterprise Manager for monitoring, and application management.
 
Note: The Oracle Fusion Middleware Management plug-in for Enterprise Manager can be used to discover, monitor and administer the status, performance, and health of Exalytics systems. The Oracle Fusion Middleware Management plug-in is not bundled with Exalytics, and must be purchased separately.
 

Key Features and Specifications

Exalytics does not have the virtualization feature matrix one might expect from a contemporary converged infrastructure offering. In fact, the Exalytics X5-4, and  T5-8 do not share the basic features from the Oracle VM for x86 software distribution.

Oracle and Non-Oracle Support Matrix

The next tables show the Exalytics X5-4 Oracle and Non-Oracle workload, hardware and operating system support matrix.
Product
Oracle
Database
Oracle
Middleware &
Applications
Oracle
Business Intelligence
Non-Oracle
Java Applications
Oracle/Sun Hardware
Non- Oracle/Sun Hardware
Support
Oracle Linux
Non-Oracle
Operating System
Support
Oracle VM for x86 Software
 
 
 
 
 
The next tables show the Exalytics T5-8 Oracle and Non-Oracle workload, hardware and operating system support matrix.
Product
Oracle
Database
Oracle
Middleware &
Applications
Oracle
Business Intelligence
Non-Oracle
Java Applications
Oracle/Sun Hardware
Non- Oracle/Sun Hardware
Support
Oracle Linux
Non-Oracle
Operating System
Support
Oracle VM for x86 Software
 
 
 
 
 
* Exalytics T5-8 uses Solaris 11 on SPARC hardware.
 

Exalytics X5-4 Virtualization Feature Matrix

Oracle Software Product Certification and Support
Oracle Product Certification and Support
Oracle Software License Management
Hard Partitions
Soft Partitions
Trusted Partitions
Capacity-On-Demand
Key Features
Supported Guest Operating Systems
Oracle Linux
Centralized Management
Application Management
Available with Enterprise Manager
Monitoring, Alerts and Notifications
Available with Enterprise Manager
RBAC / AD-Integration
Available with Enterprise Manager
Cross-Vendor Management
 
Browser Based Management
Self Service Portal
Available with Enterprise Manager
Chargeback
Available with Enterprise Manager
Hypervisors Patching
Virtual Machine Patching
 
Live VM Migration
 
Automated Live Migration
 
Power Management
 
Integrated HA (Restart VM)
 
VM Fault Tolerance
 
Storage Migration
 
Live VM Snapshots
 
Backup Integration API
Integrated Backup
Available with additional Oracle software and hardware
VM Templates
Replication and Site Failover
Available with ROAD for Oracle VM, and Oracle Site Guard with Oracle Enterprise Manager
Virtual disk thin provisioning
 
Memory Dedupe
 
Memory Oversubscribe
 
CPU Oversubscribe
 
I/O Pass-Through (SR-IOV)
 
Centralized Backup
 
Disaster Recovery
Available with ROAD for Oracle VM, and Oracle Site Guard with Oracle Enterprise Manager
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
 
Software Defined Storage (SDS)
 
Software Defined Network (SDN)
 
Logical Volume Manager
 
Virtual Switches
 
V2V
 
P2V
 
Compute Node Capabilities
Max CPUs - Host
2x 18-core (36 Cores)
Max vCPUs - Host
 
Max Memory - Host
256 GB
SAN Multipath
 
EMC PowerPath
 
Raw Device Mapping
 
Boot From SAN
 
Boot from USB
 
Virtual Disk Format
Raw Image Files (*.img files)
NIC Teaming
VLANs
PLANs
 
Private Networks (Xen Bridges)
Jumbo Frames
 
Virtual Machine Capabilities
Max vCPUs
 
Max Memory
 
Max vDisk Size
 
Serial Ports
 
USB Support
 
Hot Add/Plug
 
Graphic Acceleration
 
Dynamic / Over-Commit
 
Memory Page Sharing
 
Large Pages
OVF Support
Scripting API
 

Exalytics T5-8 Virtualization Feature Matrix

Oracle Software Product Certification and Support
Oracle Product Certification and Support
Oracle Software License Management
Hard Partitions
Soft Partitions
Trusted Partitions
 
Capacity-On-Demand
 
Key Features
Supported Guest Operating Systems
Solaris 11
Centralized Management
 
Application Management
Available with Enterprise Manager
Monitoring, Alerts and Notifications
Available with Enterprise Manager
RBAC / AD-Integration
Available with Enterprise Manager
Cross-Vendor Management
 
Browser Based Management
 
Self Service Portal
Available with Enterprise Manager
Chargeback
Available with Enterprise Manager
Hypervisors Patching
Virtual Machine Patching
 
Live VM Migration
Automated Live Migration
 
Power Management
 
Integrated HA (Restart VM)
 
VM Fault Tolerance
 
Storage Migration
 
Live VM Snapshots
 
Backup Integration API
Integrated Backup
Available with additional Oracle software and hardware
VM Templates
 
Replication and Site Failover
Available with Oracle Site Guard with Oracle Enterprise Manager
Virtual disk thin provisioning
 
Memory Dedupe
 
Memory Oversubscribe
 
CPU Oversubscribe
 
I/O Pass-Through (SR-IOV)
 
Centralized Backup
 
Disaster Recovery
Available Oracle Site Guard with Oracle Enterprise Manager
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
 
Software Defined Storage (SDS)
 
Software Defined Network (SDN)
 
Logical Volume Manager
 
Virtual Switches
 
V2V
 
P2V
 
Compute Node Capabilities
Max CPUs - Host
128 CPU cores
Max vCPUs - Host
 
Max Memory - Host
4 TB
SAN Multipath
 
EMC PowerPath
 
Raw Device Mapping
 
Boot From SAN
 
Boot from USB
 
Virtual Disk Format
 
NIC Teaming
VLANs
PLANs
 
Private Networks (Xen Bridges)
 
Jumbo Frames
 
Virtual Machine Capabilities
Max vCPUs
Not Published
Max Memory
Not Published
Max vDisk Size
Not Published
Serial Ports
 
USB Support
 
Hot Add/Plug
 
Graphic Acceleration
 
Dynamic / Over-Commit
 
Memory Page Sharing
 
Large Pages
OVF Support
 
Scripting API
 

Acquisition and Maintenance Costs

Exalytics has two models, the Intel based Exalytics X5-4, and the SPARC based Exalytics T5-8.
 
Note: Exalytics is sold by the middleware, and hardware sales team, and partners.
 
Configuration
Nodes
List Price
Oracle Premier Support for Systems
(Annual)
Premier
Support for
Operating
Systems
(Annual)
Exalytics In-Memory Machine X5-4
1
$175,000.00
$21,000.00
$14,000.00
Exalytics In-Memory Machine T5-8
1
$330,000.00
$39,600.00
$26,400.00
Memory Expansion for Exalytics In-Memory Machine X5-4
 
$41,000.00
$4,920.00
$3280.00
 
To use Exalytics, customers will need to purchase the following:
  • Oracle Premier Support
Notes:
  • Oracle Premier Support for Systems covers the servers and storage.
  • Premier Support for Operating Systems covers Oracle Linux, Redhat Linux, CentOS, and Solaris.
  • Hardware installation and software configuration services are not included.
 
To run Oracle software on Exalytics customers will need to purchase the following:
  • Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite Licenses
  • Database In-Memory for Exalytics Licenses
  • Database In-Memory for Exalytics Licenses
  • Exalytics In-Memory Software Licenses
  • Exalytics In-Memory Software for Oracle Hyperion Financial Management Plus Licenses
 

The Competition

Exalytics has no Non-Oracle competitors. Exalytics competition comes from within Oracle, via Oracle VM for x86 and SPARC/Solaris, the Oracle Private Cloud Appliance, and the Oracle Database Appliance.

Oracle VM for x86

Oracle VM for x86 has the broadest Oracle software support, the most comprehensive features, and is the only solution with 3rd party (Cisco, HP, Dell, EMC, NetApp, etc..) hardware, storage, and operating system support. With Oracle VM for x86 you can build your own high performance virtualization solution that supports not only Oracle Business Intelligence, but also database, middleware, and application using the same compute, network and storage as your VMware systems. Oracle software on Oracle VM for x86 can be licensed at the virtual machine level as well as the physical processor level.
 
Oracle marketing, and sales do not position Oracle VM for x86 against Exalytics, but nevertheless it's a low cost high performance competitor that supports not only Oracle Business Intelligence, but also database, middleware, and applications with hard partition based licensing.
 
Exalytics introduces a unique x86 Oracle/Sun compute, network, storage, virtualization, operating system, and management stack stack into the data center. Exalytics requires unique technical skills, and integration into existing IT Policies, Standards, and Procedures. Conversely Oracle VM for x86 software provides standardization across the Oracle applications stack using existing hardware and infrastructure.

Oracle VM for SPARC/Solaris

Oracle is aggressively trying to maintain, and grow its Oracle/Solaris install base. Oracle customers on Solaris tend to stay on Solaris. Solaris and Oracle VM for SPARC have broad Oracle software support with hard partition based licensing, and are a cost effective high performance alternative to Exalytics.
 
Exalytics introduces a unique x86 Oracle/Sun compute, network, storage, virtualization, operating system, and management stack into the data center. Exalogic requires unique technical skills, and integration into existing IT Policies, Standards, and Procedures. Conversely if you're a Solaris shop you already have a high performance compute, network, storage, virtualization, and operating system stack that supports not only Oracle Business Intelligence, but also database, middleware, and applications with hard partition based licensing.

Oracle Private Cloud Appliance

The Oracle Private Cloud Appliance (PCA) is Oracle' only Converged Infrastructure solution that is engineered and marketed for general purpose virtualization. The Oracle Private Cloud Appliance has broad Oracle software support, 3rd party operating system support, and trusted partitions that allow customers to license Oracle software via a virtual machine’s virtual CPUs regardless of the number of physical CPUs on the compute nodes or cluster.
 
Oracle marketing, and sales do not position the Oracle Private Cloud Appliance against Exalytics, but nevertheless it's a low cost high performance Exalytics competitor with broad Oracle software support and Trusted Partitions.

The Oracle Database Appliance

As its name suggests, the Oracle Database Appliance was originally engineered for Oracle Database workloads, but now also supports Oracle Business Intelligence, Oracle middleware, and applications with Trusted Partitions.

As an entry level solution, the Oracle Database Appliance is a cost effective alternative that competes with Exalytics.

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