What is our primary use case?
We have two primary use cases for Exadata. The first is for a financial services company, which is an online bank. We use this product for all of their transaction processing. In their locale, they have a lot of transactions related to the automotive industry.
What is most valuable?
The most valuable feature is the time to solution.
The standard deviation that comes with it is helpful.
We appreciate the operational standards, which includes patching at least two times per year. This keeps it secure and up to date.
What needs improvement?
There is room for improvement with the handling of the Temp IO, which is often used for JOIN statements. In my experience, rather than being handled by flash memory, it is being done using the hard drive. This slows it down a lot in certain cases. The reason this happens is that Temp IO often has a lower priority when compared to transactional operations such as Write Vault, Redo Vault, and Commit. This means that it can never get enough "attention" to be placed in flash memory.
The entry-level pricing is too high for the smaller shops.
Some additional built-in automation would be helpful. Some automation already exists in the software deployment process, but different components are handled differently, so more automation would be an improvement.
For how long have I used the solution?
We have been using Oracle Exadata for about nine years, since 2011.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Stability-wise, I would rate this product close to ten out of ten.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Oracle Exadata is very scalable.
When one of our customers such as a bank employs one or more Exadata machines to handle database work, it means that the whole bank could be using it.
How are customer service and technical support?
The technical support from Oracle is pretty good. It could be better at times but for the most part, they are knowledgeable.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup always comes with some complexity because it needs a lot from the customer to prepare the site, network, firewalls, and the rest. The deployment is always complex.
Preparing for deployment can take a couple of months, again depending on the requirements. There are standard things that have to take place, such as allocating space in the data center and making sure that the power, cabling, and switches are there. Once everything is in place, the software installation will take two or three days.
What about the implementation team?
My team handles the deployment for our customers.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The licensing is the same as it is with other Oracle products, which depends on how many CPU cores are activated. In addition to that, there are storage licenses that are needed. All things considered, the price of this product is fairly high, as is always the case with Oracle.
What other advice do I have?
This is a product that I can recommend, although there needs to be a clear understanding of the use cases because Exadata doesn't come cheap. There is the requisition cost, the cost of support, costs for maintenance, and none of that is cheap. As long as there is a solid reason why Exadata is needed in the organization, I would definitely recommend it.
My suggestion for anybody who is implementing this solution is geared towards the in-house DBAs as opposed to customers in general. DBAs tend to handle Exadata the way they would any Oracle database, which is not the way to do it. Many of them have been working with Oracle databases for their entire career, and often, training on Exadata is necessary to get it working properly.
I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?