New Exalogic: Ready for the Future

 

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11 comments

  1. Thank you for this Blog if you have time I would like to address a concern.

    I am planning to build my Integration Consulting Firm around Oracle Technology and addressing the Public Sector, Manufacturing, and Utilities prevalent in my region.

    I have several years of, primarily, public sector experience in server virtualization on VMware ESX/ESXI 3.0 – 4.1 ESX/ESXI platforms. I assume the intended audience is aware that the host storage area network is very important to the architecture of the implementation. Here is just a basic example of my setup, Production group has Dell Equallogic PS6000 (16 TB) and Dell Equallogic PS3000 (8 TB) that uses block replication to our DR site that consist of a group of 2 Dell Equallogic PS 3000 4TB each. Obviously not everything is being replicated and now they are changing to a disk based replication method. Now the equallogics or I would also assume the oracle EXALOGIC and others too often get referred to as SANS. This would be like calling a single workstation a LAN, individually they are just part of a larger whole. In that regard Storage Area Networks (SAN) are often much smaller and may consist of less than 4 physical devices. I am distrubed that Oracle’s HA cluster in a box claim my be misleading to many administrators lacking the the more obscure storage field. Here is the basic components of a modern SAN:
    De
    1.) Host/Host Interface device IE qLogic HBA Cards
    2.) Networking Switch and vlan
    3.) Disk Array
    4.) Storage Protocol

    Like the Dell Equallogi; EMC2′s Clarion, or Oracle’s Exalogic disk array series include specialized lun management software and a “swiss army” backend of outgoing and incoming interfaces for the various popular storage connection methods. It was my understanding that the Oracle Exalogic system does not support multiple platforms but only Oracle Specific platforms. Friends, this could be a mistake for clients that are heavly invested with other platform solutions and it will provide a difficult sale point for ethical storage consultants, as I will explain below.

    Assuming the on-site consultants partner or direct sale is following the client’s unique business cases and takes steps to optimize the clients IT investment ROI, it doesn’t logically follow that they would or “should have” to start the design process with the storage array and then out from there. Here is a sample design thought processes.

    1.) Identify the Businesses Process(es) that is/are being reworked or optimized

    2.) Determine the clients present storage setup, it is less than ethical to sale a qlogic hba capable of 10 gb/sec when the cisco catalyst switch is maxes out at 2 gb/sec and the switch upgrade is not in the plans or those speeds are not warranted (contractors did that to my shop before I arrived, sad :(

    3.) Understand any current investments in other platforms and use numbers to justify everything. Ethical consulting dictates that there must be a understanding of ROI we shouldn’t deploy a exalogic box, just because….

    4.) Get the big picture and firm performing in-house development should have Test, Development, and Production environments. I could see business case in which a enterprise grade database cluster was isolated using Oracle VM on top of a exalogic physical system while the web and apps servers still operated in the vSphere cluster. Migration to a full oracle end-to-end solution should be much easier once the awesome performance and measured ROI is observed

    5.) Test TEST TEST TEST TEST, my god TEST. Get the components and put them together on a system. Power on the VM’s and start running query through the system. There plenty of the load generation sql scripts out there or find on of your own. Please to not set up multipathing policies, jumbo frames, and other “optional” modifications until you have a consistent base line. I plan to write this process into my standard operating procedure for clients and make sure they understand the reason for the storage testing block of time. Storage problems are a real devil to fix while things are live. I have known many storage admins to choose a different path, myself I work both sides and enjoy storage but I find it are to convince supervisors of the critical need for baselines, thus I am going out on my own to make a positive change.

    6.) Monitor; your testing and business requirements should tell you what to monitor. Monitoring doesn’t take a day off it should ring someones phone at midnight if needed. This is one are we will get the ROI data to see if the company made a good business choice to go with your or my company.

    Okay, I am building my business model around utilizing the Oracle Fusion Middleware and applications to gradually bring clients into the full ROI potential that can be observed when Oracle end-to-end integration is fully established.

    The main thing I see for concern with the Exalogic system is that it may be the way for existing oracle based firms but for clients that now just realizing that Oracle does more than databases this might be a breaking point in the negotiation. Unlike Dell, EMC2, and others the Oracle Array isn’t going to allow non Oracle VM or Cloud to share potentially freezing out the majority of a firms environment.

    In San Francisco, When I brought this point up in a channel partner meeting at the conference it seemed as though the question was viewed as irrelevant and silly to those their. Maybe it is because I am working inside the public sector where you are likely to get placed on report for making suggestions of “new” ways of doing something. My point is this, I can’t see a client firm dropping investments in competing technology, despite the troubles they are having, and taking a 90 degree turn toward a complete oracle solution. It seems that we would rather leverage fusion to bring the clients disparing technology together and then address each system on after the other until utilizing exalogic physical storage technology would be seen as a rational next step rather than as a radical change in direction. I am very excited about Oracles direction and optimistic about the future. This is why I am finally going to establish my firm but we shouldn’t be developing core physical technology focuses mainly on up-selling to, granted considerable client base, but should realize the initiative to reach all firms with a true desire to maximize ROI from their IT initiatives. Am I seeing this correctly friends, what am I missing? Please let me know, I have ambitions to server a mostly vmware controlled market and I need the ammunition to instigate change.

    Thanks for your Time.

    Corey D. Wishon
    Senior Systems Integration Consultant
    Unity Integrated Business Information Systems International

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