A guide to the changes in Oracle Exadata X5

The Exadata X5 release has more updates to it than any previous release. This guide provides summaries of the changes Oracle has made for Exadata X5.

Oracle announced the next generation of its engineered systems with the biggest ever software update to Exadata. Oracle releases a new generation every 12 to 15 months and while it's called X5, the new models are actually the sixth generation of Oracle engineered systems. To keep track of everything new, here is a quick guide to Oracle Exadata X5.

Hardware: Hardware changes for Exadata X5 include compute processors for the two core database servers that go up to 18 cores and the two-socket core memory capacity with 768 GB maximum. The intelligent two core database servers now have an eight core maximum and the ability to optimize for capacity with disk and flash -- now with twice the flash -- or for I/O efficiency with all flash.

Elastic configuration: The big change comes with elastic configuration, which lets you scale out one server at a time, rather than having to buy different sized modules. Companies can add X5 servers one at a time to an X5 machine or add them to previous generations of Exadata, also one at a time. This makes it easier to tailor Exadata to specific tasks, such as in-memory, flash, or storage. For instance, to create an Exadata machine designed for in-memory, add compute servers with the highest memory capacity combined with the mix of flash and disk.

Software: Exadata X5 duplicates data in-memory, a feature Oracle calls a first. This creates in-memory fault tolerance. Exadata X5 also has what Oracle calls the "world's first data-transforming flash cache," in which the Smart Flash Cache automatically transforms Hybrid Columnar Compression data into pure columnar data. Exadata X5 also has the first virtualized InfiniBand platform and the first direct-to-wire InfiniBand OLTP protocol.

Licensing: Exadata X5 has slightly different virtual machine (VM) licensing protocols as well. Trusted Partitions allows users to license by VM rather than by server. Furthermore, to help with licensing costs, the X5 lets you turn off any CPUs you aren't using and then turn them back on when they are needed.

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