Guide to Oracle engineered systems and server appliances
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CallSource, a call tracking and recording software company, was looking for a hardware refresh to boost performance on its main production application. Eventually it chose Oracle Database Appliance, but that wasn't the first thing it looked at.
The Westlake Village, Calif.-based company was running older Dell server gear, and was thinking about replacing it with newer Dell servers, as well as a storage appliance and network switches. Estimated cost? Around $250,000. But then CallSource heard about the Oracle Database Appliance from Cloud Creek Systems, an Oracle value-added reseller (VAR). Rhos Dyke, the executive vice president at Cloud Creek, told CallSource that they could spend $50,000 on the Oracle Database Appliance and get the same performance.
Jason Scinocca, chief technology officer at CallSource, was skeptical. But they decided to test it out anyway.
"That one server makes up for more than $200,000 worth of hardware all in one 4U device," Scinocca said.
The end result is that CallSource became one of the first end-user customers of the Oracle Database Appliance, which Oracle announced in September. The appliance is a 4U, two-node Oracle Database 11g and Oracle Real Applications Clusters (RAC) appliance. It includes two servers with built-in shared storage that will work with databases up to 4 terabytes large. Some other specs:
- 24 total Intel Xeon processor cores
- 192 gigabytes main memory
- 12 terabytes raw disk storage; 292 gigabytes solid state storage
- Scalable licensing per processing core from 2 to 24 cores
Despite the cost savings that CallSource is claiming, Scinocca said the biggest benefit of the Oracle Database Appliance was how easy it was to set up. Going with another setup would have taken much longer.
"You would have a DBA, a network engineer and others," he said. "You have to talk about all the hardware you have, what controllers, what version of software you're loading, what OSes you'll be running. That in itself is like a month-and-a-half of work.
"That was reduced to one day" with the Oracle Database Appliance. "Let Oracle deal with that crap. I don't like to."
Dyke, from Cloud Creek, put it a different way.
"It took us longer to get it out of the cardboard packaging than it did to fire it up," he joked.
Scinocca added that updates are much easier - "I can just click on install and it installs. I don't have to worry about firmware or anything like that."
Dyke and Scinocca stressed that the Oracle Database Appliance isn't for everybody because it requires running Oracle Database 11g Enterprise Edition. CallSource was running 10g Enterprise Edition, and so the upgrade was normal. A smaller company running Standard Edition might experience some sticker shock on the software side if they have to upgrade to Enterprise Edition.
CallSource is also just the right size company for the product. Their production database is about 750 gigabytes and hasn't changed much in the last few years. That works for the Oracle Database Appliance, which Oracle suggests maxes out at a 4-terabyte database. A larger company - or even a smaller company that has fast growth - may want to consider something else.