Oracle Intros Next-Gen Line of its Big Data Center Appliances
Oracle’s former CEO and current chairman and CTO Larry Ellison speaking at Oracle OpenWorld 2013 in San Francisco.

Oracle Intros Next-Gen Line of its Big Data Center Appliances

CTO Ellison says vendor is going to compete for ‘core data center business’

Updated with comment by Cisco

Oracle announced five new appliances for a variety of applications Wednesday. The company’s “engineered systems” are hardware-software bundles optimized to work together.

The company announced a new version of its virtual compute appliance, a converged infrastructure package that competes with the likes of vBlock, a system by VCE that combines Cisco UCS servers and Nexus network switches with EMC storage. VCE started as a joint venture between Cisco and EMC, but EMC took full control of the company last October.

The new Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance X5 can be paired with the company’s FS1 flash storage system for a complete converged infrastructure system.

In its announcement, Oracle said the system was 50 percent cheaper and easier to deploy than the Cisco-EMC solution. Cisco responded with an emailed statement by Paul Perez, vice president and general manager of Cisco's UCS business, touting Cisco's position in the converged infrastructure market but not addressing the price difference mentioned by Oracle.

“We feel pretty good about our hand in the converged infrastructure market," Perez said. "This is a market Cisco created with EMC back in 2009 with a joint venture that became one of the most successful in IT history. Since then we’ve been positioned as the number-one vendor for integrated infrastructure systems for multiple years, and Cisco UCS has also become the system of choice for integrated infrastructure offerings from NetApp, Red Hat, HDS, and most recently IBM. Oracle has a lot of catching up to do.”

The other additions to the Oracle appliance portfolio are database, big data, data protection, and database solutions.

“We're going to compete for that core data center business,” Larry Ellison, the company’s chairman and CTO, said in a statement. “Our customers want their data centers to be as simple and as automated as possible.”

Ellison, the company’s founder who served as its one and only CEO until September 2014, has yielded the chief executive role to Safra Catz, Oracle’s former CFO, and Mark Hurd, who was its president.

The sixth-generation Oracle Exadata Database Machine X5 has 50 percent faster processors and 50 percent more memory than its predecessor. It includes an all-flash storage server using PCIe flash drives, Non-Volatile Memory Express flash protocol, and scale-out capabilities via InfiniBand.

Oracle also announced a new Database Appliance X5, meant for distributed and branch office deployments. The new version of the appliance has flash caching, more compute cores, more storage, and integrated InfiniBand connectivity.

Oracle is pitching its new Big Data Appliance X5 as an alternative to custom-built compute clusters for Hadoop and NoSQL. It comes with twice the RAM and 2.25 times more CPU cores than its predecessor. Customers can use the appliance to run Oracle Big Data SQL, which gives users the ability to run SQL queries against data stored in Hadoop and NoSQL databases.

Finally, the vendor’s new Zero Data Loss Recovery Appliance X5 is a data protection solution integrated with Oracle Database. It has faster processors, more capacity per rack, faster recovery, higher throughput, and better database backup consolidation than the previous-generation version of the product.

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