Oracle Database Appliance x3-2 due out Tuesday

A major upgrade to the Oracle Database Appliance x3-2 gives it some of the Exadata platform's high-end features, although it isn't quite there yet.

Oracle will release a new version of its Oracle Database Appliance on Tuesday that includes newer processors, more than twice as much memory, and an optional storage expansion rack similar to what's available on Exadata.

The new product, called Oracle Database Appliance x3-2, will further close the gap between users who can afford only the Oracle Database Appliance and those who want an eighth-rack Exadata. If you include the expansion rack on the new appliance, the list price is about half that of the cheapest Exadata.

Oracle and partners have billed the Oracle Database Appliance -- first released in 2011 -- as a steppingstone to more expensive engineered systems, such as Oracle Exadata. The appliance includes server and storage hardware, Oracle Linux and proprietary management software called Appliance Manager. It is meant to run Oracle Database 11g R2 and Real Application Clusters, though it is likely to support Oracle Database 12c once that is released.

Oracle told its partners that the Oracle Database Appliance x3-2 will have two server nodes, just like the original. But it will include four eight-core Intel processors instead of the four six-core Intel chips in the first iteration. Bottom line: The new appliance will have 32 total processor cores, while the original had 24. It will also include more memory. While the original had 192 GB of RAM, the new version will have 512 GB. And raw storage will increase from 12 TB to 18 TB. The list price for the new appliance is expected to start at $60,000.

The list price for the original -- which will now be available only until the end of May -- is $50,000. The first version will have full Oracle support until 2016.

There is more. Oracle plans to announce a storage expansion rack for the new appliance, similar to what it offers on the Exadata. The expansion will double the storage capacity of the appliance, with the list price expected to be $40,000.

In addition, the Oracle Database Appliance -- both the original and the x3-2 -- now have Oracle Virtual Machine support. So, end users can carve up the box virtually and pay database and software licenses for only the processor cores they use.

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