Review: Thumbs-Up On Oracle Database Appliance

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If you thought the past 10 years had brought forth an explosion of data -- particularly when it comes to SMBs -- just wait for the next 10. With mobile devices becoming incredibly powerful data collection devices, and with social media, new use patterns and more powerful processing, database technologies would appear to face a ton of challenges.

Enter the Oracle Database Appliance. With the combination of a powerful, Linux-based, Intel Xeon-based Sun server and Oracle database software, the system provides redundancy and massive processing power in a 4U rack-mountable box.

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Taking a look at the Oracle Database Appliance in the CRN Test Center Lab, we found this to be full of opportunity for VARs to deliver significant value. The system we reviewed shipped to us with two, six-core Intel Xeon X5675 processors in each of two nodes with 96 GB of memory -- far more than the lion’s share of most servers running in databases today. It is built with 12 TB of storage, that is mirrored -- again, far more than many currently deployed servers now maintain.

What that configuration does provide in a $50,000 box is much more processing power and computing capability than even high-end mainframes less than a decade old. The servers support installation of Oracle Database 11g, Enterprise Edition. (The default has the software downloadable onto the server once it is shipped and set up into a rack, although it can also be preinstalled and ready for on-site configuration.)

With, essentially, two servers in one box (with redundant power and networking), the Oracle Database Appliance supports Oracle Real Application Clusters or Oracle RAC One Node, depending on the organization’s fai-lover choice. Aimed at SMBs, VARs will play a critical role in configuration (as well as the heavy lifting, as it weighs more than 160 pounds).

Beyond the list price, Oracle has established a “pay-as-you-grow” model for enterprises that require additional performance as their databases and requirements grow. The Test Center likes this appliance for that, for the performance and for the strong security offered by the underlying Oracle Linux in the box. It’s more than a solid offering for the SMB space; it’s potentially a game-changer as data and security needs race to keep up with the oncoming generations of technology. Read our full review online.

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