Oracle Exadata Review

Making the most of contextual database performance is what this solution is built to do

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is for maintaining contextual databases. In other words, it is for our online applications and services.  

What is most valuable?

The most valuable part of the product is performance enhancement.  

What needs improvement?

We still have to migrate to the latest version of Exadata, which we plan to do later this year or in the next year. Because of that, I am not sure we have anything that we would need to have added. I would need to consult our DBAs after we have migrated. They might find some issue that they would like addressed. But off the top of my head and because we are not on the newest version, it is not right to say the product needs something when it might already be there or has been updated.  

Exadata is practically a perfect solution for us as it stands. Because we are pretty satisfied with it, we have not rushed into the upgrade. I am not sure that we are fully utilizing the options that are currently on the table. For our contextual databases, it is the best option and we do not have any really an issue with it that needs improvement.  

We also need the product for other purposes. For analytics, we use Identity Two and we also need Microsoft Escrow Server for certain tasks. We accept some minor issues that I could identify if I discuss that with our DBAs. I do not think anything bothers us that much that we would need improvements. Of course, the price is the price, so it could always be less expensive. Maybe there are other considerations from the marketing side, but I do not deal with that.  

There are some issues with accounting where we really can not calculate return-on-investment. Exadata pays some fees for you so there is simplified billing, but that separates us from some evaluation of usage. Maybe Oracle could offer a solution for resolving that. Maybe a calculator or separate report that could help customers to find this data somehow. More clarity on this usage might affect how you estimate the workload of the storage and could really make clear what you get in return on using the product for the month.  

For how long have I used the solution?

We migrated from Identity two on to Exadata sometime between five and six years ago.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable like other Oracle products.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We developed some software for migration. The previous database was on the mainframe server and it was quite a nice product. We have a lot of experience, both with Oracle Exadata, with other databases, and other systems that we also use. We work with many solutions and we use what we think is best for a particular task. Contextual databases work especially well with Exadata.   

What was our ROI?

It is not really clear how to calculate the ROI for Exadata. Because you need to do the calculations for yourself, you need to know the license modeling pretty well. Even then, it is not very clear how much it costs for Exadata performance, CPU, and other additions. You really can not calculate these points when Exadata pays for you. Oracle could help customers to find out the actual numbers and help with calculations for ROI.  

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

If you compare an Oracle database on your system to buying into Exadata, which is an engineering system consisting of hardware, then, of course, it is more expensive. On the other hand, it gives you some possibilities to experience better performance than you would have if you would run Oracle on your servers. When you scale it up, it means that you actually get this additional hardware for free. You need to pay more for the license instead. This is one of the cost differences that is not very clear how to calculate. It is hard to tell how long it takes for one product or the other to become a cost advantage.  

There are some extra costs for hardware and for everything else if you upgrade to have better performance. At that point, the system uses not just the standard license, but also the storage shares. This can be quite significant when doing larger implementations. So the clarity of the cost models is something that could probably use some improvement from the Oracle side.  

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

It is quite difficult really to compare and evaluate all the solutions available. The market is pretty mature. We have to just make a shortlist of possible solutions from whatever products and solutions we are looking at and go from there. It is not realistic to do an in-depth analysis of everything.  

A lot of solutions that are more oriented toward network monitoring are now rebranded. The markets itself was previously called anomaly detection systems. Sometimes it is not quite clear which of the solutions really have additional capabilities that can make a difference without really studying them in-depth. We obviously looked at some extra products to contemplate and compare, and we continue to. But, for now, what we see and what we decided is where we will be staying. I am not sure that any product really offers a significant upgrade that is worth migrating for.  

Darktrace is a step ahead in some ways but, in this area, it is really difficult to assess clearly because there is a lot of the marketing fog. It is sometimes quite difficult to get to the facts about the advantages. It also may not be worth migrating when the product you are using will develop the same or similar capabilities.  

What other advice do I have?

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate Oracle Exadata highly. If you compare it to other engineering databases, I would rate it a nine.  

Practically perfect from my point-of-view.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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