Oracle OpenWorld was a zoo again this year as always.  The big announcements were Exadata X2-8 and Exalogic.  Larry Ellison announced the Exalogic Elastic Cloud – cloud in a box.  Of course, Larry took his shots at Salesforce.com and then there was this cute back and forth between Larry and Mark Benioff in their respective keynotes.  You can read more about the Exalogic server here: http://www.oracle.com/us/products/middleware/exalogic/index.html.  Definitely an interesting platform to run your apps or business on.  George Chow who runs engineering at Simba is quite into having big boxes with virtual machines on them and at Simba we do a lot of our development and QA on these types of boxes.  We don't have an Exalogic box but we do have some serious VMware ESXi systems.

Mark Hurd announced the new Exadata machine – X2-8.  The first version of the Exadata machine ran on HP hardware.  The second version of Exadata runs on Sun hardware and is now renamed X2-2.  The third version of Exadata also runs on Sun hardware and is called X2-8.  Two big differences between X2-2 and X2-8 is the X2-2 has 2 sockets and the X2-8 has 8 sockets (hence the naming) and 500GB of RAM vs 2TB of RAM.  You can read more here: http://www.oracle.com/us/products/database/exadata/index.html.

So, what else was interesting about Exadata?  According to Oracle, anyone purchasing an Exadata machine is not allowed to make any hardware changes.  Oracle wants you to have a system that is ready to go out of the box and does not want you to monkey around with it and risk any support issue.  Apparently, 98% of bugs found according to Oracle are re-discoveries of previously found bugs.  Therefore, Oracle's game plan is that everyone using Exadata will have one of a limited number of configurations.   If a bug is found in one of these configurations, Oracle can immediately notify all other users of the particular configuration and thereby reduce the support cost for both Oracle and the customer.  This seems quite simple and obvious but this is a problem that has affected IT departments for years.  I know that at Simba, Eric Spencer, who runs IT is always having to deal with issues like this.  Simplification makes sense.  I also heard from a panel of Oracle customers who have Exadata in production (Genentech, BNP Paribas, Allianz, Procter & Gamble, Bank of America). The common theme in this session was how easy it was to set up and run Exadata compared to how they had done things in the past.  Very interesting!