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Oracle Exadata Storage System does not apply to SQL Server, but some people on our side would like to know something about Exadata. As obvious, go to Oracle or knowledgeable Oracle bloggers for technical details. I am providing an assessment from a different point of view. This needs to be put somewhere so its here for now until I can find a better place.

Oracle Exadata

There is a TPC-H report HP BladeSystem c-Class 128P RAC and Full Disclosure, that provides useful information on the Exadata Storage System (first generation) cost structure.

ComponentUnit PriceQtyExt Price
HP Exadata Storage Server Hardware24,000124,000
Exadata Storage Server Software5,0001260,000
Premium Support per year26,400?379,200
Total  153,200

The first generation Exadata could support 1GB/sec sequential IO. The second genertion switch from HP to Sun, updated to the then current generation processors and memory, added flash IO accelerators, and were rated at 1.5GB/sec per unit (?).

Cost of Bandwidth: $ per GB/sec

With discounts, the approximate Exadata cost structure is $140K per 1 GB/sec. An Enterprise SAN cost structure is $300-600K per GB/sec based on 10MB/sec disk or $110-220K per disk based on 27MB/sec per disk. My thinking is that a very alert product manager at Oracle figured out the right price to charge for storage based on SAN system pricing as competition. Compare this with direct-attach HDD storage at $5K per GB/s.

Storage SystemBasisCost per GB/s
SAN - 10MB/sec per disk$3-6K per disk$300-600K
SAN - 27MB/sec per disk$3-6K per disk$110-220K
Exadata 11GB/s per ESS$140,000
SAN - 100MB/sec per disk$1500 per disk$15,000?
Direct-Attach 15K HDD$500 per disk$5,000
Ent SSD3 x $1K per SSD$3,000?
SATA SSD3 x $300 per SSD$1,000?

SSD can achieve very low cost per unit bandwidth, but capacity should be factored in. Dell prices a bare 146GB 15K HDD at $439, the enterprise grade Dell 149GB SSD is $4,009, but a consumer grade 128GB SATA SSD is only $300-400 each.


For any one with foolish notions of try to save their organization money, the following caveats are probaby in effect:

  1. 1) You don't get fired for buying brand X (prominently IBM, in storage: EMC and Hitachi as well)
  2. 2) No good deed goes unpunished (swiftly and severely)
  3. 3) Managing a (anything that can be spun as) successful very high-budget project leads to promotion, especially if your project is higher budget than the other guys. Leadership quality people are hard to find! When promoted high enough, no one else will be foolish enough to question the project that launched your path to the top. Rather they will emulate it.
  4. 4) Going substantially over-budget can be spun as succcessfully managing an even bigger project. Think positive!
  5. 5) The nail that sticks out gets hammer down. (I think this is Japanese)

I provide guarantees that storage systems designed under contract and my direct guidance will meet performance expectations stated above. I decline responsibility for occurence any of disclaimers stated immediately above.