How Exadata Really Works

You can think about Exadata (formal name: The Oracle Exadata Database Machine) as a “cloud in a box’ that contains a set of prepackaged and optimized database server, storage servers and built in storage networking to support fast transmission of data through fat pipes. The real oomph in performance you gain from Exadata is derived from its parallel architecture using multiple Oracle RAC based database servers and fast Exadata storage. Let’s review the main components of the Exadata database machine in the following sections.

The key to the fast performance offered by Exadata is the offloading of database processing from the database server to a highly optimized storage server. Oracle uses a feature called the Exadata Smart Flash cache to speed up the database processing by making I/O operations much faster. The Smart Flash Cache intelligently caches key data to minimize physical I/Os.

The second key feature that contributes to the speed of Exadata is the use of an advanced database compression feature called Hybrid Columnar Compression, which lets the database compress data at 10x times the original data. Compression helps by boosting the transfer of data.

The built in Infiniband network switches and cables for a 40 GB/second Infiniband fabric facilitate the transfer of the database from the DB server to the Exadata Storage Server, thus offering yet another way to make DB processing very fast with Exadata.

What really makes Exadata simmer is the fact that this isn’t a casually thrown together set of products – this is a carefully engineered system with the quantity of each hardware component designed for maximum total performance.

What’s a clincher is that the Database machine can grow as your data processing needs grow – you can purchase a Quarter rack initially and expand to a Half rack or a full rack or even multiple (Full) racks as your processing requirements grow, thus making scaling up a pretty easy thing to do. You can connect multiple Exadata Database racks to make one gigantic system if you want – you’ll never be stuck with an outmoded and outdated storage and database server.

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