September 25, 2009

The hunt for Oracle Exadata production references

Over the past four weeks, I’ve given speeches in Boston, DC, Milan, London, and SF,* attended a conference in Lyon, done a fair amount of consulting, and taken a few non-client briefings as well. That’s why I haven’t had much of a chance to sit down, analyze the tea leaves, and write about Exadata 2. (Small exception: Highlights from and remarks on the Oracle Database 11g Release 2 white paper.) I hope to do that soon.

*I’ll bop over to Chicago for the last of the series early next week.

But first — can anybody identify much in the way of Exadata production references? Oracle recently talked of a few flagship data warehouse customers, but those don’t seem to be running Exadata. I talked recently with an Oracle prospect from the US, who only got one reference from Oracle — in Eastern Europe. (Well, two references, if you also count the system integrator on the same deal.)

So far as I can tell, Oracle Exadata production sites are pretty scarce on the ground. What, if anything, am I missing?


17 Responses to “The hunt for Oracle Exadata production references”

  1. Todd Fin on September 25th, 2009 11:39 pm

    are you going to be on Oracle World in San Francisco in October? This might be a good opportunity to ask there. I am sure Oracle will make a big noise about Exadata this year

  2. Bence Arató on September 26th, 2009 3:53 am

    There was an Oracle press release about Exadata in June. They said:

    Initial Oracle Exadata customers including Amtrak, Allegro Group, Automobile Association of the UK, CTC, Garanti Bank, Giant Eagle, HISCOM (Hokuriku Coca Cola), KnowledgeBase Marketing, Loyalty Partner Solutions, M-Tel, MTN Group, Nagase, NS Solutions, NTT Data, OK Systems, Research in Motion, SoftBank Mobile, Screwfix, ThomsonReuters, and True Telecom, confirm the benefits Oracle Exadata products bring to their Oracle data warehouses.

  3. Curt Monash on September 26th, 2009 9:25 am


    The question isn’t what they’ve sold, although that’s interesting too. The question is what they’ve successfully gotten up and running.

  4. Curt Monash on September 26th, 2009 9:26 am


    Nope. Not going.

  5. Allen Licitra on September 26th, 2009 3:57 pm

    The are only 2 production references that I have heard Oracle mention publically. One was the telecom mentioned in Eastern Europe and the other is a grocery chain in the United States. Yes, Oracle has listed lots of sales but has not discussed any new “Production” refernces.

  6. Chuck Hollis on September 28th, 2009 12:34 pm

    Interesting data point.

    We over at EMC have been looking for production references as well. Disclaimer: Oracle’s activities with Exadata are not favorable to EMC.

    Like you, we’ve heard a few cases where they’re being “evaluated” or “bundled” or sometimes even “sold” for revenue.

    We have yet to hear or see anyone using one for real-world stuff yet. There may be such an animal out there, but we haven’t found it yet, despite our best efforts.

    Interesting discussion, since it’s been roughly a year since we heard all about Exadata at the last OOW. And there’s been a solid year of front-page display ads in the WSJ.

    Time to see whether anybody is really eating the dogfoood.

    — Chuck

  7. Peter Mooshammer on September 28th, 2009 5:31 pm

    I like your disclaimer, Chuck,

    Wonder how HP feels about Exadata V2 …

  8. Bence Arató on September 29th, 2009 5:10 pm


    I would assume then almost all Exadata unit which has been sold is in use.

    1) Exadata is a quite expensise hardware product
    so what would be the point in buying and then mot using it? How often a company buy an expensive storage array from, say, EMC, and then decides not to use it?

    2) The migration of an existing Oracle warehouse to Exadata seems to be quite straightforward as you don’t have to change your ETL routines, aggregation programs, reports etc. So I don’t see many tecnical obstacles with actually using Exadata after buying it.

    3) And as you already know, I still firmly believe that Oracle targets and sells Exadata mainly as a speedup to existing Orale-based DWs, and not as a stand-alone DW platform, so the 2nd point applies in most cases 🙂

  9. Curt Monash on September 29th, 2009 8:34 pm


    I have little doubt that, if Oracle has indeed sold a lot of Exadata, customers have in many cases deployed it and figured out whether or not it works well for them.

  10. Thoughts on the integration of OLTP and data warehousing, especially in Exadata 2 | DBMS2 -- DataBase Management System Services on September 30th, 2009 2:58 am

    […] Exadata is great for data warehousing. At this time, that’s a claim much better supported by marketing and theory than by practice. […]

  11. James R on September 30th, 2009 12:54 pm

    @Curt – the largest annual event of the largest DBMS vendor in the world, and you’re not going? A bit strange for somebody who carves a living out of the DBMS space…

  12. Curt Monash on September 30th, 2009 3:04 pm


    Vendor shindigs can be worth going to for me if I’m going to spend multiple hours talking w/ the right vendor people one-on-one. Otherwise, not so much. I don’t even bother dialing into mass conference calls when I can do so from the convenience of my desk. When Oracle offered the chance to come and meet w/ the development team, alone, at my own expense, a few weeks after Open World last year — THAT I accepted, even though I have a number of vendor clients I don’t spend that much face time with in a year.

    Besides, I’m tapped out on travel. I just turned down the opportunity to go SAS’ user conference in October, and they were offering to do it the right way.

  13. Oracle Exadata 2 capacity pricing | DBMS2 -- DataBase Management System Services on October 5th, 2009 10:12 am

    […] The hunt for Oracle Exadata production references (but hopefully some will be revealed at Oracle Open World) […]

  14. Oracle Exadata customers presenting at Oracle Open World | DBMS2 -- DataBase Management System Services on October 6th, 2009 9:38 am

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  15. Ed White on October 6th, 2009 3:52 pm

    Production customer references for most data warehouse vendors are scarce, but claims are not:
    “The World’s Fastest Database Machine” Oracle WSJ
    “One Terabyte in less than one minute” Greenplum
    “Queries 50X-200X faster” –
    “10-100X the performance at 1/3 the cost” –
    “10X-100X faster loading and query performance-
    “Answers up to 100 times faster” –
    Can all these be true??? Interesting that none of these vendors are ranked #1 by Gartner or Forrester…..

  16. Curt Monash on October 6th, 2009 4:59 pm


    Of products you listed ad lines for, Exadata has the fewest and least impressive production references, even behind Aster.

  17. Fazal Majid on October 19th, 2009 7:22 pm

    @Ed – Gartner or Forrester payola, ahem “research” is usually not worth the paper it is printed on.

    Sun’s systems expertise is top-notch and I have no doubt they will get Exadata 2 to a stage where it offers decent performance, and win accounts, if only those that don’t want to manage multiple vendors or DBA teams or deal with ETL hassles.

    Exadata 2 is still a very immature product, however, and it is too early to tell.

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