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Oracle announces database appliance for SMBs

Oracle is aiming the new product at SMBs as an alternative to its successful Exadata line

By Chris Kanaracus
September 21, 2011 05:16 PM ET

IDG News Service - Oracle is hoping to capture the fancy of smaller companies enamored with its Exadata data-processing machine, announcing Wednesday the availability of a new database appliance configured for SMBs' needs and budgets.

The Oracle Database Appliance is "exciting stuff," and brings "the benefits of Exadata to entry-level systems," co-president Mark Hurd said during a webcast event Wednesday.

The hardware component of the appliance will be sold separately at a list price of US$50,000 for a configuration that includes two Sun Fire servers, 192GB of main memory, 24 processor cores, 12TB of raw disk storage and 292GB of solid-state disk.

"Everything is fault-tolerant and redundant," said Andy Mendelsohn, senior vice president of Oracle server technologies. "It's quite an amazing engineered system," and something midmarket customers could never create on their own, he added.

The appliance runs "pretty much" the same software stack as found on Exadata, including the 11g database, RAC (Real Application Clusters) clustering software and Oracle Linux, although the Exadata Storage Server software isn't a component. It also features Appliance Manager software that provides automatic monitoring and patching. The system "even calls [Oracle] support if you have a hardware failure," Mendelsohn said. "Before the customer knows it we'll have an Oracle technician out there fixing the part, and the customer may have had no idea anything failed at all."

Customers can get the appliance up and running in just a couple of hours, according to Oracle.

It is aimed at customers who are running their Oracle databases on older hardware and want to make an upgrade, as well as those who want to consolidate many smaller databases, including from third-party vendors, on a single platform.

Oracle is using a "pay as you grow" pricing model for the systems. Customers can start out by licensing software for two cores, adding more up to the 24-core limit as they need to, Oracle officials said. They will also be able to move over their existing database and RAC licenses if desired.

"We're trying to increase our target market with this," Hurd said. "So we're trying to package it in the most attractive way we possibly can."

However, it will not be possible for customers to chain together multiple database appliances. If they want more power, they will have to move up to the smallest, or quarter-rack, Exadata configuration, Mendelsohn said. List pricing for a quarter-rack system starts at US$330,000, with support and other costs bringing the price significantly higher.

The 12TB of storage on the database appliance works out to a maximum database size of 4TB once triple mirroring is factored in, Mendelsohn said.

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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