Oracle Exadata Review

High columnar compression and the flash cache are big for us.


What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are the high columnar compression and the flash cache. Basically, the whole I/O subsystem is valuable, but those two features are really big for us.

What needs improvement?

Pricing.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for close to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable. We were on X2; that was not as stable. There were some battery issues with some of the flash cache cards. We're on X5 and X4 now and that's much better; many more IOPS, so that's been great.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable, very much so. It will absolutely meet the company's needs going forward.

How is customer service and technical support?

The support for troubleshooting issues is OK; it's fine.

The support for patching – we have Platinum Support – is probably one of the worst I have ever experienced in my career. We've been trying to upgrade to the latest version of 11g R2 and we haven't done it. The last few times we've tried to do it, they were supposed to be able to upgrade without downtime, but the last two or three times, we've had downtime. We have very little trust in Platinum Support to do the upgrades.

Which solutions did we use previously?

Previously, we just used regular Oracle databases on standard hardware. Now, most of our products are on their own silo databases. Now, we're pushing them all to a single Exadata, using Exadata solutions.

How was the initial setup?

We actually contracted the initial setup out, as part of Oracle Platinum Support. We also have another third-party company that did more of the operations on it. When my team finally got to it, everything was set up. It's really a matter of deploying our application on there and then tuning it to be more Exadata specific; not a whole lot. Anything will run on it, but we take advantage of the high columnar compression and the flash cache storage.

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

As far as cost goes, it's really expensive. The huge price tag on it is the only reason why I have not given it a perfect rating.

What other advice do I have?

If you have the money, spend it; if it makes sense, obviously. If you're really I/O bound, it's a great solution; I/O bound from performance to storage. With the high columnar compression, we're getting close to 10X compression.

When I’m selecting a vendor such as Oracle to work with, I look for one with a good reputation and is reliable. Reputation comes on as willingness to work with you. I consider the features that are offered; is what they're offering now going to scale, obviously? Is what they're offering now going to still be supported in the future? There are compatibility issues and similar items. For example, with Exadata, I'd hate to be the one of only three companies on Exadata in the world and five years from now, nobody remembers what Exadata is.

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