Oracle deploys Xserve RAID internally

In a presentation to be given later this week at OracleWorld in San Francisco, Calif., Oracle Corp. will outline its Resilient Low-Cost Storage Initiative. After including Apple Computer Inc.'s Xserve RAID in the product testing, Oracle has chosen to deploy Apple's solution internally to run the Oracle Collaboration Suite application for e-mail, voicemail and calendar, Oracle officials will reveal.

In a recent whitepaper Oracle discusses the "advent of low-cost ATA disk based storage arrays and low-cost storage networks together with the introduction of Oracle Database 10g" and how these factors have "made it possible to create a Database Storage Grid that has very low cost and excellent performance and availability."

When Apple first showed the Oracle team the Xserve RAID, the Oracle team had questions on its price, scalability, support programs and how friendly it was with other platforms. After using it and putting the Xserve RAID through its paces internally, Oracle bought the system to deploy itself.

"Oracle tested the Xserve RAIDs and they were really surprised," Alex Grossman, Apple director of product management, server hardware, told MacCentral. "Oracle chose to buy Xserve RAID for their internal deployment. They did everything they could think of to make it fail and couldn't."

According to Oracle, a low-cost storage array must implement a core set of features, which they outline as: Networked Storage; Inter-Operability Certification; Remote Management And Failure Alerts; High Availability; and Availability From A Higher Perspective.

"Its performance is excellent," said Oracle's whitepaper. "For a workload of 8KB random reads, it can sustain 1100 I/Os per second (IOPS). For a multi-user sequential workload, it can sustain 266 MBps of read throughput."

The whitepaper then went on to describe how Oracle had deployed low-cost storage in its company.

"Low-cost storage has been successfully deployed within Oracle for the Oracle Collaboration Suite application for email, voicemail and calendar. In the original configuration, a traditional Fibre-based array was used for both the database and Flash Recovery areas for a deployment that supported 1000 users. A new configuration was required to support an additional 3000 users. Oracle maintained the data on the Fibre-based array, but implemented the Flash Recovery Area on a grid of Apple Xserve RAID arrays connected using QLogic SAN switches."

JDeveloper and 10g

Earlier this year, Oracle made its 10g database available to Macintosh developers as well as the ability to create J2EE applications and Web services with Oracle JDeveloper 10g's J2EE framework and visual development environment. The software is due for release by the end of December, but Apple said they have see great response from the early releases.

"We were all pleasantly surprised by the interest in it," Brian Croll, Apple's senior director software. "The number of downloads exceeded our expectations and we saw a lot of great comments and enthusiasm."

The inclusion of Oracle into Mac OS X further expands what developers can do with a Mac. "This is really exciting for us, said Croll. "We've picked up the Java community by embedding Java into the core of Mac OS X and because it's UNIX, we've picked up a lot of that community as well. Now we see a lot of the Oracle community moving over on the server side, which we haven't seen before."

Croll and Grossman also point out another advantage to using Mac OS X -- the ability to develop and deploy on the same platform. "You can do everything you can do on your UNIX workstation and you can run all of the Mac applications, as well. Now you can develop on Mac OS X and deploy on the same platform."

Grossman also points out that with Mac OS X, Apple tests all of the server components, so you know things work when they are installed -- unlike Linux that may not support some components out of the box, depending on what kernel they are running.

"Now when you put 10g on Mac OS X and Xserve you have a trusted, certified hardware platform that you can deploy on," said Grossman.

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