It’s been a while since I penetrated Oracle’s tight message control and actually talked with them about Exadata. But Doug Henschen wrote a good article about Exadata based on an Andy Mendelsohn webcast. I agree with almost all of it. At first I was a little surprised that Exadata’s emphasis shift from data warehousing to OLTP/generic consolidation hasn’t gone more quickly, but on the other hand:
- On the data warehouse side Exadata can alleviate screaming pain points.
- In OLTP consolidation, Exadata mainly can save money. (Yes, I just said a product from Oracle can save customers money, and I meant it. You may stop laughing at any time.)
Doug did overstate when he said that columnar architectures give 100X or more compression. That doesn’t happen. Yes, columnar compression can be >10X in a variety of use cases, while pre-Exadata Oracle index bloat can approach 10X at times; but even if you’re counting that way I doubt there are many instances in which it actually multiplies out to >100.
In other Exadata news, the long-standing observation that Oracle doesn’t like to do on-site Exadata POCs still holds true. A couple of existing Oracle users — one rather well-known — recently told me that Oracle won’t let them text Exadata except on Oracle premises. In one case, this is a deal-breaker keeping Exadata from being considered for a purchase, and Oracle still won’t budge.
Finally, I’m pretty sure that this “new” Softbank Teradata replacement Oracle has been touting since September as competitive evidence — which Doug’s article also references — isn’t quite what it sounds like. I believe Teradata’s version of the story, which somewhat edited goes like this:
- The Oracle Exadata decision at Softbank Mobile was driven by business management in spite of Teradata being recommended by the technical team.
- To reiterate, the data warehouse project team recommended Teradata over Oracle. The Teradata proposal was well received in terms of TCO, performance, ease of use and safety of transition, etc. against Oracle Exadata. However, the technical team’s recommendation was overruled due to the business mandate to standardize on Oracle throughout the company.
- SoftBank Mobile has over 800 Oracle specialists in IT departments and Software subsidiaries.
- The Exadata performance is being compared to the existing production system. Teradata was NOT invited to benchmark a current generation system.
- Also, Softbank Mobile is a reseller of Oracle.
Teradata went on to clarify:
Here are some key points regarding the Teradata systems at SoftBank:
- Two Teradata systems: Production #1 – 32 nodes. Production #2 – 12 nodes.
- Production #1 had nodes ranging from ~3-7 years old.
- Production #2 had nodes that were ~8 years old.
- Teradata V2R5 was end of life at the time of replacement.
- We did not get a chance to compete for this business.
Bottom line: Oracle’s big competitive replacement of Teradata systems was against 3-8 year old boxes that the customer’s technical staff recommended be replaced by more Teradata gear.