September 21, 2011

Oracle Database Appliance soundbites

It turns out that Oracle’s new small appliance isn’t really an Exadata Mini-Me. Rather, the Oracle Database Appliance is — well, it seems to be a box with an Oracle DBMS in it. (Plus Oracle RAC and so on.) The whole thing is priced for and targeted at the SMB (Small & Medium Business) market, whatever that means to Oracle.

I’m not hugely optimistic about the Oracle Database Appliance. Rather, my thoughts — lightly edited from a chat with a reporter — include:


13 Responses to “Oracle Database Appliance soundbites”

  1. Waseem on September 22nd, 2011 10:28 pm

    Hi Mr Monash,

    Oracle never mentioned the DB appliance was Exadata.

    You mentioned it doesn’t solve Oracle’s SMB problems. And the market sure will decide.

    About the high TCO; isnt it true for all enterprise DB systems with market share above 20%. The rest ..well its time they grab some share before the victory sign.

    Yes vendors prefer non-oracle for BI because they are the best tools, which however is not relevent to the DB applicance machine.

    @antique design of the Oracle DBMS
    Really. Now you got me interested here.
    The modern design architecture you have so much touted in your articles, have (in your words)’NO DENT in MARKET SHARE’
    But I am optimist. Perhaps time will tell.

    Thanks for your time.

  2. Curt Monash on September 22nd, 2011 11:59 pm

    Well, actually, if you count by installations, MySQL has made a huge dent in Oracle’s market share. Saying that glosses over a few details, to be sure, including:

    • MySQL installations are typically tiny.
    • MySQL overall doesn’t have much revenue.
    • Oracle has acquired MySQL.

    Still, we now have a cheap, simple DBMS whose engineering is being advanced by, you guessed it, Oracle.

  3. Noons on September 23rd, 2011 1:20 am

    Curt: don’t confuse “installed by ignorant and irresponsible developers” with “cheap and simple to administer”.

    I strongly suggest you actually VISIT some ACTUAL IT data centres. Preferably one or two years AFTER they have installed one of your “cheap solutions” and after the management layer, “greased” for those installs, has left.

    It might actually open your eyes to reality? There are many ways to perform con-jobs, but they usually don’t survive the test of time…

  4. David Aldridge on September 23rd, 2011 8:30 am

    Some technical insights:

    Worth noting that these come from the Pythian Group, remote database administration experts. A cynic might say that it’s not really in their commercial interests to sing the praises of reduced administration for Oracle.

  5. Curt Monash on September 23rd, 2011 10:30 am


    Whatever I say about MySQL’s capabilities, positive or negative as the case may be, tends to get me flamed. Thank you for upholding on this long-standing tradition.

  6. Curt Monash on September 23rd, 2011 10:35 am

    Thanks, David. Good link. But I didn’t really see much there about DBA burdens, favorable or otherwise. Rather, the post focused on initial system configuration, which it seems this packaging really does do a nice job of helping with.

  7. Gary on September 23rd, 2011 5:28 pm

    I find it odd that the diagnostic/tuning advisors are an extra cost option that is only available for the more expensive Enterprise Edition.
    That is, Oracle make it harder to administer the small/cheap version than the big one. If someone trials the basic product, it is a trial by ordeal which will put them off the product.

  8. Noons on September 24th, 2011 9:59 am

    If whatever you say about certain types of databases gets you flamed, maybe there is a reason for it? Familiar with the saying : “If it looks, walks and quacks like a duck then, just maybe, it is a duck?”?
    Yeah,yeah, spare us all the smart-arse remarks. Try looking at and reporting on the REAL world instead of the imagined one you prefer to – or are paid to – talk about.

  9. David Aldridge on September 26th, 2011 2:36 am


    You’re right, the Pythian article is definitely more setup-related, and it’s too soon to expect real world feedback on the ongoing manageability of this offering I think.

    Here’s something to think about though — the Oracle blogosphere (sorry) is oriented towards problems and solutions. There’s a splendid selection of articles out there on performance, backup and recovery, SQL and PL/SQL tips, new features (including Exadata and this appliance), and “how to avoid stupid stuff”, which reflects our technical interest in problem solving. I don’t know who’s going to be writing up the articles on “we’ve adopted this appliance and reduced our support costs by £x”.

    Possibly we’ll see that in vendor whitepapers, briefings, or magazine articles in due time, but to me they always have a taint of propaganda. I’m reminded of a regular feature in a database magazine I used to read a few years ago in which company’s would describe the great benefits and successes of technologies and products they’ve adopted, and problems would rarely get more than a sentence in the context of “… but with our skill we overcame this”. I’d always be thinking “Well you would say that wouldn’t you?”. To read these glowing articles you’d think that every product is brilliant.

    Anyway, I seem to have strayed/ranted off the points, which were:

    i) Time will tell
    ii) It will still be difficult to get reliable feedback.

    Actually one interesting sign would be a statement from companies such as Pythian that they will manage such an appliance at an effective price discount against similarly priced or similarly capable non-appliance hardware.

    In the end, money talks.

  10. Curt Monash on September 26th, 2011 2:38 am


    Good point on the hypothetical discount from Pythian or competitors!

  11. Alex Gorbachev on October 11th, 2011 10:27 pm

    I did that post on and I actually specifically qualified it as non-technical knowing that there are enough tech details around. So David, I wouldn’t call it “technical insights”. Thanks for referencing though.

    I’ve also not been focused on the initial setup. Not at all! I have looked again at it and each of the ODA advantages come to ongoing benefits even more than initial setup. For example, “zero dependencies” means that most of infrastructure related problems are pretty much gone — nobody going to break it.

    As to the point of reducing some DBA spent… we are not worried at all. DBA efforts of setting up the platform and then resolving infrastructure issues while bring some revenues are really not appreciated much by business. In fact, dealing (and solving) database infrastructure issues are rarely positively viewed by higher level management who do not get into details. As a service vendor, we can deliver much more valuable results and visbly appreciated efforts.

    ODA removes some lower end work but it still needs good DBAs to run it efficiently.

  12. Curt Monash on October 12th, 2011 3:04 am

    Hi Alex,

    So you’re saying Oracle Database Appliance removes some of the ongoing labor costs of running Oracle, but leaves others (relatively) unaffected?

  13. Notes on the Oracle OpenWorld Sunday keynote | DBMS 2 : DataBase Management System Services on October 1st, 2012 6:11 am

    […] At the highest level, my view of Oracle’s strategy is the same as it’s been for several years: Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s […]

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