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Oracle Exalogic is the company's "cloud in a box"

Larry Ellison opened OpenWorld 2010 offering his definition of cloud, taking shots at Salesforce.com and releasing a complement to Exadata, the Oracle Exalogic "cloud in a box."

SAN FRANCISCO -- Oracle CEO Larry Ellison opened his company's annual conference here, revealing the Oracle Exalogic

Elastic Cloud, a "cloud in a box" taking on Amazon while offering his critique of SaaS-based providers like Salesforce.com.

Exalogic is a complement to the Exadata database machine, a high performance database appliance Ellison announced two years ago at this show.

"With Exadata, it's such a powerful database machine we needed a server machine," Ellison said. "It has all the horsepower to drive Exalogic."

For example, Ellison said, one Exalogic box can handle one million http requests per second andtwo of them, side by side, could handle Facbeook globally.

"Why would I ever need to run an application as big as Facebook," Ellison asked. "The whole idea is to have a pool of resources that can share that power."

Ellison's presentation included an admission that he has "been rather outspoken in being frustrated with the term cloud computing." His address at the Churchill Club comparing the buzz around cloud computing to women's fashion earned him plenty of notoriety.

He also took some shots at Salesforce.com, which he does not consider a cloud computing company. Salesforce.com sells SaaS-based CRM that competes with Oracle's own CRM On Demand, presented last year at the show, and is scheduled to present this year as well.

"It's really a very weak security model," he said. "If that database goes down all those customers go down. There is no virtualization. It's not fault tolerant. It's not secure. It's not elastic."

Oracle takes a similar approach to the cloud as Amazon.

"[Amazon] stands in stark contrast to Salesforce.com because it's not an application at all. It's a platform on which you build applications," Ellison said.

However, Oracle sees more potential for the private cloud.

"We have a slightly different take in that we believe, not only are these clouds going to be available to lots of different customer but we believe customers will build their own private clouds behind their firewalls," he said.

However, Oracle faces a similar challenge with Exalogic that it faced with the first version of Exadata. Who will buy it? Exadata's price was an issue for some. Although Exadata version 2 has seen some purchases, according to a recent earnings call.

Exalogic's list price is $1,075,000.

It includes 30 servers in the box with two processor servers. Each of the sockets has six cores for a total of 360 cores in one box, Ellison said. Those servers are interconnected to another and to the storage de\vice using a 40 GB per second network. That same network connects Exalogic servers but also the Exalogic box to the Exadata box. It runs with Oracle VM and two guest operating systems, Solaris and Linux. It includes a 960 GB solid-state disk, 40 TB SAS disk storage, 4TB read cache and 72 GB write cache.

Oracle has been optimizing Oracle software to run on Exalogic.

Among the key benefits of Exalogic, according to Ellison, is its stability: There are no single points of failure on the Exalogic box, the storage and memory sockets can fail, the software can fail, and the machine will keep running. It is scalable, he said. Additionally, since all Exalogics are configured the same they can all be patched the same and all applications running on them can be patched with one download.

"Rather than wait for you to rediscover that bug we can release a patch, get it out to you dramatically and dramatically reduce the number of bug rediscovery," Ellison said.

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Essential Guide

Guide to Oracle engineered systems and server appliances

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