Monthly Archives: December 2013

Exadata X4-2 Whats New – A Technical Review

 

On Dec 11 2013 Oracle corporation announced the general availability of, the 5th generation of the Oracle Exadata Database Machine X4. This new version of the database machine introduces new hardware and software to accelerate performance, increase capacity, and improve efficiency and quality of service for database deployments.

In this blog post i’ll review in detail the enhancements in the Oracle Exadata x4-2 database machine.

The 2 socket version of the Database machine, X4-2 gets new database servers and new storage servers. The 8 socket version of the database machine, still called the x3-8, gets the new storage servers but keeps the same database serves from the previous release. Hence the Lack of change in Name to the X4-8. The name stays as X3-8.

Improvements in the database servers (X4-2)

Cpu Improvements

The database servers in the x4-2 are the Sun X4-2  servers. They come with the 2 Twelve-Core Intel® Xeon® E5-2697 v2 Processors (Ivy Bridge) (2.7GHz), with turbo boost enabled by default. This cpu at times can clock upto 3.5Ghz.

Comparing this with the previous version x3-2, this is a 50% increase in number of cores per database server. The x3-2 had 16 cores per node and the x4-2 has 24 cores per node. In a x3-2 full rack there were 128 cores and in the x4-2 full rack there are 192 cores. That gives 64 more cores in the x4-2 full rack compared to the x3-2 full rack.

Memory Improvements

Each database server has 256Gb of Dram. This is optionally expandable to 512Gb per node.So you can have either 2Tb or 4Tb of Ram in a full rack of x4-2.

Storage Improvements

The database servers now have 4, 600Gb hard disks in them (Internal storage, used for O/S, Oracle Binaries, Logs etc). The x3-2 used to have 300Gb disks. The disk controller batteries are online replaceable

Network Improvements

The database servers have 2 X Infiniband 4 X QDR (40Gb/S) Ports (PCIe 3.0). Both ports are Active. The improvements in the x4-2 are that these are now PCIe 3.0, and that the ports are used active active. (The ports were used Active/Passive in the previous release)

Improvements in the storage servers (Exadata cells x4-2)

Cpu Improvements

Each x4-2 exadata cells come with 2, Six-Core Intel® Xeon® E5-2630 v2 Processors (2.6 GHz).

Memory Improvements

Each x4-2 cell, now has 96Gb of Ram. The x3-2 used to have 64 Gb of Ram.

Flash Cache Improvements

The Exadata x4-2 cells, now have the F80 PCIe Flash cards. There are 4, 800Gb F80 flash cards in each cell. So each cell has 3.2Tb of flash cache. In an Oracle Exadata database machine x4-2 full rack there is 44TB of flash cache (Used to be 22Tb in the x3-2). The Oracle Exadata database machine x4-2 full rack now provides, 2.66Million read iops , 1.96Million write iops from the flash cache. This is 70% more flash iops than the previous generation.

Storage Improvements

The Exadata cell x4-2 High Performance version, now uses 1.2Tb 10k Rpm High Performance SAS disks.

  • A full rack of High Performance disks gives 200TB of raw space, 90TB of usable space with normal mirroring and 60TB of usable space with High Mirroring

The Exadata cell x4-2 High Capacity version, now uses 4Tb 7.2k Rpm High Capacity SAS disks.

  • A full rack of High Capacity disks gives 672TB of raw space, 300TB of usable space with normal mirroring and 200TB of usable space with High Mirroring

The Disk controller batteries are online replacable.

Network Improvements

The Exadata storage servers have 2 X Infiniband 4 X QDR (40Gb/S) Ports (PCIe 3.0). Both ports are Active. The improvements in the x4-2 are that these are now PCIe 3.0, and that the ports are used active active. (The ports were used Active/Passive in the previous release)

 

Software Improvement Highlights

The new x4-2’s get a new version of the exadata storage server software version 11.2.3.3.0 (This version of the cell software can be installed on the v2,x2,x3 and x4 platforms).

Exadata Flash Cache Improvements

Data written to the flash cache is now compressed. This compression is done by the controller (Hence near Zero overhead). This data is automatically decompressed when it is read from the flash cache. Up to 2X more data fits in smart flash cache (If you get 2x compression of the data, you could fit upto 80TB of data on the flash cache), so flash hit rates will improve and performance will improve for large data sets. This feature can be turned on in both x3-2 and x4-2 storage servers. Customers need to license the Advanced Compression option to use this new feature.

Enhancements to the smart flash cache software, enables exadata software to understand database table and partition scans and automatically caches them when it makes sense (This will help eliminate the need to specify CELL FLASH CACHE KEEP).

Exadata network resource management

With a new version of the Infiniband switch firmware 2.1.3-4, Exadata network resource management now prioritizes messages through the entire infiniband fabric. Latency sensitive messages like redo log writes are prioritized over batch, reporting and backup messages.

Infiniband Active Active Ports

Double-ported infiniband PCIe-3.0 Cards used in the database servers and storage servers, implement active-active mode usage of the infiniband ports, providing a 80GigaBits Per Second network bandwidth (Used to be 40Gigbits ber second on the x3-2, since it was Active Passive bonding).

The Rdbms software and the clusterware software already had the ability to send packets via multipe interfaces. Enhancements have been done to the RDS kernel drivers, which now have the ability to sense if one of the ports is down, and route the network traffic through the surviving port. On the x4-2’s when active active Infiniband networking is setup you will not see the bondib0 interface, instead you will see a ib0 and ib1.

Miscellaneious Info

  • The power,cooling and airflow requirements remain similar to that of the x3-2.
  • The storage expansion racks have also been refreshed and provides the increased flash cache and increased disk space.
  • A single Database Machine configuration can have servers and storage from different generations V2, X2, X3, X4.
  • Databases and Clusters can span across multiple hardware generations.
  • The half and full x4-2 racks, do not ship the spine switch anymore. The storage expansion racks still ship with the spine switch.
  • A new One Command available through patch 17784784 has the new Exadata Deployment assistant that supports the x4-2’s.

Datasheets and White Papers

Datasheet: Oracle Exadata database machine x4-2

Datasheet: Oracle Exadata database machine x3-8

Datasheet: Oracle Exadata storage expansion Rack x4-2

Datasheet: Oracle Exadata storage server x4-2

A Technical Overview of the Oracle Database Machine and Exadata Storage Server (Updated for x4-2)

Exadata Smart Flash Cache (Updated For X4-2)