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Oracle prices its SAP HANA rival Exalytics, signaling imminent release

Both systems incorporate in-memory computing engines

By Chris Kanaracus
January 11, 2012 04:37 PM ET

IDG News Service - Oracle made a splash on Tuesday when it announced the general availability of its Big Data Appliance, but the company also quietly released pricing information for Exalytics, another new member in its family of specialized hardware-software appliances and a likely competitor to SAP's HANA product, suggesting that a general-availability announcement for that product is imminent.

Both Exalytics and HANA incorporate in-memory databases, providing a performance boost over systems that read and write data from disks. HANA was released in June.

Oracle's Engineered System price list, which was updated Tuesday, states that the Exalytics In-Memory Machine X2-4 costs US$135,000, along with an additional $29,700 for annual support and other fees.

The machine consists of a single server with 1TB of RAM and four Intel Xeon E7-4800 processors, each with 10 cores, according to an Oracle whitepaper. Exalytics machines can also be clustered together.

But the machine pricing doesn't account for the software that runs on it, which includes the TimesTen in-memory database and Oracle's Business Intelligence Foundation Suite, the latter of which is a licensing prerequisite for TimesTen, according to the price list.

Oracle is charging $34,500 per processor license for TimesTen on Exalytics, along with another 22 percent of that sum for annual maintenance. In contrast, TimesTen processor licenses are priced at $23,000, plus 22 percent maintenance on Oracle's current Technology Global Price List, which was last updated Oct. 20.

However, TimesTen on Exalytics costs $300 per Named User Plus if customers decide to use that purchasing model, with a minimum of 100 users, compared to $460 per Named User Plus on the global technology list.

BI Foundation Suite, meanwhile, is priced at $450,000 per processor license, or $3,675 per Named User Plus. The number of BI Foundation Suite licenses must be the same as the number of TimesTen for Exalytics licenses, according to Oracle.

Oracle has done some engineering to make TimesTen and BI Foundation work better together on Exalytics, according to the whitepaper.

Exalytics also "supports the broad portfolio of Oracle BI and EPM applications right out of the box," and customers who have existing applications built with Oracle BI Enterprise Edition and Essbase can migrate them to Exalytics without changes, according to the whitepaper.

"They're charging more than I thought they would for the hardware," said Eric Guyer, an independent consultant who advises Oracle customers on purchasing strategies with the vendor. Guyer, who also writes the blog, had previously estimated that Oracle would list price the hardware at about $95,000.

"Obviously, there's a lot less margin for the hardware than software," Guyer said. "I haven't seen a discount further than 25 percent on hardware from Oracle, not on x86 gear." By that measure, an Exalytics system could end up costing a customer about $101,250 for the hardware. "They've given themselves headroom for negotiation."

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