EMC Lanches Offensive To Run Oracle Databases On EMC Storage

EMC Monday stepped up its battle to get more customers to run Oracle databases in a virtualized VMware environment with its own EMC storage with new technology offerings unleashed at Oracle's OpenWorld conference.

The storage giant announced what it is calling a new "EMC Proven Oracle Performance Solution" aimed at doubling the performance of Oracle Database 11g running in a VMware virtualized environment. EMC boasted that the new solution "can double Oracle transactions per minute with up to 80 percent faster response times, while generating up to 170 percent more IOPS (input/output operations per second) in both physical and virtualized Oracle 11g RAC (Real Application Cluster) environments."

The performance improvement is no small matter given just how closely solution providers and customers finely tune storage and server systems to get maximum database application performance.

EMC also provided the first ever public demonstration of a new storage to compute capability using an EMC 320 Gbyte PCIe flash card combined with innovative new EMC software. EMC began shipping the new hardware-software offering this week to beta customers.

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"The magic, of course, is the software that provides this fully automated storage tiering into our storage arrays," said EMC President Pat Gelsinger in a keynote address Monday before thousands of Oracle database customers. "It's the highest performing flash card with this cool capability to work with the (EMC) Storage Array."

The EMC storage to compute functionality represents a new front in the battle to get customers to run mission critical applications like Oracle databases in an EMC VMware virtualized environment. Oracle, for its part, is attempting to get customers to adopt finely tuned integrated hardware-software solutions on its own hardware and storage platforms including its own virtualization software.

Gelsinger said the EMC VMware integration is providing the basis for hybrid private public clouds that are able to dynamically adjust to a wide variety of "middleware, database applications, different operating systems and different application environments." That's a sharp contrast from the vertically integrated hardware software systems that Oracle is selling with its Exadata Database Machine and Exalytics Business Intelligence Machine.

Next: EMC Moves Its Oracle Databases To VMware

EMC, for its part, has moved its Oracle database environments to standard x86 based hardware, said Gelsinger. He said that has produced "tremendous performance and cost efficiencies." He said 40 percent of EMC's Oracle's database instances run on VMware with a plan to move to 100 percent next year.

Gelsinger said EMC is seeing "extraordinary scalability" in virtualized VMware environments on EMC storage systems. EMC is running 5 million virtual machines on a single EMC Symmetrix VMAX storage cluster. Not only that, he said, EMC is seeing in excess of 1 million IOPS (input/output operations per second) through a single VMware host.

Gelsinger also urged Oracle OpenWorld attendees to embrace a new wave of innovative offerings aimed at modernizing IT infrastructure to accommodate Big Data applications demands as a result of the explosion in unstructured data, including video and social networking content.

To make that point, EMC released a white paper that claims the storage giant achieved up to "13x faster queries for Big Data applications and decreased data load times from six days to just 29 minutes by deploying the EMC Greenplum Data Computing Appliance."

Oracle fired back at EMC, announcing immediately following the EMC keynote its own Oracle Big Data Appliance, a highly engineered system organized for acquiring, organizing and loading unstructured data into an Oracle 11g database.

EMC Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Offiver Jeremy Burton, who spent a decade at Oracle early in his career, said the EMC VMware product set provides customers and partners with an "open" horizontal technology solution versus what he called Oracle's closed vertically integrated solution.

"Oracle, IBM and HP are really trying to build out vertically integrated stacks," he said. "Our differentiator is that we want a horizontal infrastructure that is going to work across IBM, Oracle, HP and anyone else for that matter. Some people will go vertically integrated. But we still think there is a pretty good market for open."

As for the new PCIe card, Burton said the product opens up significant new opportunities for EMC storage partners. "This allows storage VARs to make existing applications run better," he said. "It gives them a place to expand their footprint and value add. Solution providers that have a good storage practice can now participate in the server environment."