Fully Exploiting Exadata

As a member of the Real-World Performance Group at Oracle I have participated in quite a number of Exadata POCs over the past two years. Often times those POCs are constrained in a number of ways: time, schema/app modifications, etc., because the objective is a proof, not a full blown migration. As a result there is often significant performance that is left on the table just waiting to be fully exploited — the kind of performance that really makes a database performance engineer excited — mind blowing performance. This includes, but is not limited to, data model changes, SQL query modifications and re-engineering batch processes. The reason these types of modifications get me so excited is that design decisions are often influenced by the then current deployment platform and with the Exadata powered Oracle Database Machine those restrictions are frequently lifted. You see, with Exadata the rules change, and so should your design decisions. Sure, you could just pluck-and-plop an existing Oracle data warehouse database onto an Oracle Database Machine and it would likely run much faster than it does on your current system, and you will be wowed, but you very well may shouting four letter expletives describing how fast it is if you do some re-engineering. This is why I’d like to highlight (my emphasis) this quote from a recent Pythian news update:

Pythian provides LinkShare with consulting and technical expertise for the planning, configuration, deployment, management, administration and ongoing operational support of their migration project. This includes re-engineering the database, adjusting the data model, redefining table structures, creating new indexing schemes and re-writing and tuning SQL queries, among other tasks. The project is scheduled for completion later this year and the results will be unveiled at Oracle OpenWorld in September 2010.

Hats off to both Pythian and LinkShare for realizing that they can capitalize on the opportunity to re-engineer with Exadata and fully exploit the power of the Oracle Database Machine platform. I can’t wait until Oracle OpenWorld to hear just how awesome their performance deltas are. Don’t just shoot for a level 5 performance (porting only) increase with Exadata, do a little re-engineering and turn it all the way up to 11 for that extra push over the cliff, Spinal Tap style!

Also see: Oracle Exadata worthwhile, says LinkShare´╗┐


  1. Peter Scott

    How true – assuming Exadata to be just “another Oracle database” misses out on a lot of potential – Exadata is a balanced configuration, so best results come from using the “whole” of the box and not just a tiny bit. This is one of the key take aways that I will be giving in my OOW talk about an Exadata implementation for e-retail. Here my customer was not only doing stuff faster than before, they were doing things they couldn’t do before!

    11 is a great setting to run on !

  2. chet

    The POC I was involved with was of the “apples to apples” variety, which I didn’t think was very fair to Oracle, for the main reason you list, you aren’t truly exploiting the system. It was Database A vs. “Database B” – and that wasn’t even fair.

    So much more could have been done and I think many more four letter expletives would have been uttered. ETL would have been different. Security would have been done differently. (I used to have a list of cool things…)

  3. Paul Vallee

    Thanks for validating that point of view, Greg. The environment we were migrating from was optimized for a 38-node shared nothing configuration and had a bunch of design tradeoff decisions optimized for that kind of a config! It needed some work to make it really sing on Oracle. James Governor’s teasing aside, thank you very much for validating this point of view. :)

  4. Kevin Closson

    Not doing something is always faster than doing something. Schema tweaks and the like can result in total elimination of certain code execution and that is always faster than “throwing hardware at it.” Ask me how I know some time, I’ll tell ya! :-)

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