Oracle Enters The DW Appliance Market

Well now – has the inevitable happened? Larry Ellison, Oracle’s CEO finally recognised the value of the hardware/software combination in the business analytics marketplace. This market, pioneered over 20 years ago by Teradata and now thriving with many other players including Netezza, ParAccel, Datupia, ExaSol, Vertica and others, has now become a target for Oracle who have clearly had enough of competitors eating away at the Oracle database with lower TCO DBMS offerings optimised for analysis and reporting. With the recent acquisition of DatAllegro by Microsoft, IBM with its Balanced Warehouse and now Oracle entering the database machine market it certainly seems that the DW Appliance market is now becoming a hot competitive battleground.

The newly announced Oracle Exadata DW Appliance is jointly developed by Oracle and HP and will be sold directly by Oracle. The Exadata server runs the Oracle parallel server on Oracle Enterprise Linux. It has 8-HP Proliant DL360 G5 database servers, with

  • 2 quad-core Intel Xeon Processor E5430 (2.66GHz)
  • 32GB memory
  • 1-HP InfiniBand Dual Port HCA
  • 4-146GB SAS 10K hard disk drives
  • 4-24-port InfiniBand switches
  • 14-HP Exadata Storage Server Hardware–each is an HP ProLiant DL180 G5, with 2 quad-core Intel Xeon Processor E5430 (2.66GHz)
  • 8GB memory
  • 1-HP InfiniBand Dual Port HCA
  • 12-300GB SAS or 12-1TB SATA disk drives

My question on this announcement is given that HP are jointly in on the Exadata product offering with Oracle, what does this mean for HP’s own DW Appliance offering – the HP NeoView Appliance? This is also a parallel DBMS product that competes with Oracle. I assume that with HP playing in both markets (its own DBMS product on its own hardware plus the hardware behind the Oracle Exadata offering) that it is seeking to maximising the revenue it can take by covering all bases. Time will tell. In my opinion it is clear that with so many vendors now in the DW Appliance market it is going to take a lot more than just TPC-H benchmarks to get a differential. It certainly means customers will have to look closely at performance claims. Everyone will claim they are the fastest which could easily result in prospective customers demanding more to distinguish one vendor from another. For this reason I believe that analytic application appliances have to happen (analytic application pre-installed on a DW Appliance). Vendors who go deep on vertical analytic application appliances could carve out a very lucrative business when you combine this with the attraction of low TCO DW Appliance offerings.


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