What is most valuable?
Stability, high ROI and low TCO. Plus performance, of course. Being able to compress the data, especially in big size databases, has been extremely useful as HCC can deliver quite high compression rates. The business benefits of OES are as many as the pure technical benefits/features.
Exadata with the In-Memory option is several levels about SAP HANA.
How has it helped my organization?
In the past, Infrastructure units were mostly organized in teams like the Database team, the Storage team, the Backup team, the Unix team, the Monitoring team, etc. Now, with Exadata, they have become sort of obsolete. Only one unit is needed for administering the whole stack, which means a lot of savings on IT level.
What needs improvement?
The Initial investment price could use improvement. It is often the stumbling block. Many organizations have limited or small budgets for the initial investment. This has somehow changed with X5 when the entire Exadata configuration no longer needs to be licensed when using OracleVM.
For how long have I used the solution?
I've used this solution since 2008. For the past 4 years, Exadata and more broadly speaking, Oracle Engineered Systems, are occupying almost all my working time so my exposure to the product is as much as one can get. My review answers also include my experiences with other Oracle products, including Oracle SuperCluster T5-8 and Zero Data Loss Recovery Appliance X5.
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
Only during the first month or so of new generation Exadata machines, when the initial scripts have not been properly modified to reflect the new generation machine. Often, when proper sizing isn't done in advance, or even worse when sizing hasn't been done at all, the load can been too much for the servers. This is however an extreme case and has nothing to done with the Exadata frames.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
No. Their stability, in fact, is the main benefit from Exadata. When Exadata is in production, what clients tend to agree upon is that stability is of paramount importance. Several clients have had absolutely no downtime after deployment. Downtime nowadays for most enterprises, to put it simply, is money. Not to mention the image and the reputation. This is so hard to be included in pre-TCO studies as estimating such losses is rather difficult. The stability that Exadata brings solves this major issue entirely.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
No. It is quite simple to extend the configurations if needed, more databases can easily be added. With Exadata less memory is needed so we see clients running even close to 100 databases on a small 1/8th frame. With large databases, clients can sometimes run out of storage, but additional storage can easily be added with the help of storage expansion racks.
How are customer service and technical support?
The Platinum support has been useful to most of the clients. It helps IT organization eliminate the internal need to spend time and efforts on patching and monitoring the Exadata boxes. It allows them to concentrate on other tasks. Technical Support
Sometimes it takes too long time to get help with technical issues. At times, clients get frustrated with being asked the same questions multiple times. I would rate the Oracle technical support as good.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
In the past, the complexity of building your own database environment was a long and tedious process. From deciding on the hardware and the operating system, to installation, patching, creating and configuring the database... It took such a long time that the benefits of the Exadata appliance are more than obvious nowadays. In a make-it-all-yourself solution, identifying the problems took a long time, and sometimes issues were never identified. The all-by-one-vendor approach has its benefits. Put all your eggs in one basket and watch that basket, is what I would say.
How was the initial setup?
It depends on who does the initial setup. The process is definitely straightforward and not that complex at all. For example, the Accenture Enkitec Group is strongly specialized in these types of setups.
What about the implementation team?
The Accenture Enkitec Group, with 450+ implementation, is by far the leading team in performing such tasks. There is a separate team within AEG specialized in patching and configuring Oracle Engineered Systems.
What was our ROI?
It varies from client to client depending on several factors but it is almost always when the cut-even period is approx. 12-18 months after the initial investment. The TCO of OES is much lower than similar systems like VCE’s Vblock, HP’s Converged system, and IBM’s PureFlex system, Teradata, etc.
The TCO of the Exadata Cloud Service is even better than the one of on-premise!
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
There is no single answer to this question. It varies from client to client depending on the size of the systems included in the setup.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
IBM POWER, SAP HANA, VCE Vblock and Teradata.
What other advice do I have?
If a company is looking into Oracle Engineered Systems, I would suggest first that a health check is performed on the current system, in addition to making a PoC on the (new) systems under consideration.
In the history of Oracle Corporation, there seldom has been a product so successful, complete and flawless. Client satisfaction is extremely high and stability of systems using Exadata is close to infinite availability.