Monday, April 14, 2014

Exalytics - The Promise of BI on Private Cloud

Oracle came out with a neat infomercial touting the features and benefits of Exalytics - Extreme Analytics with No Limits.

The ability to have more than 50,000 users and cut analysis time from monthly to daily are impressive.  This type of an appliance should be a great tool for exposing Enterprise Analytics in a private cloud setting, enabling users to keep up with the demands of  implementing the OBIEE and EPM suite of products.

Originally, Exalytics didn't support virtualization. Patchset 1 introduced the base image concept that enabled virtualized Exalytics implementation, but it had one deal-breaking limitation: InfiniBand connectivity was not supported if the boxes were virtualized.
“Exalytics virtualization does not support Exadata access via InfiniBand connection. This feature is planned for Exalytics Release 1 Patchset 4 (v1.0.0.4). However, Exadata can be accessed via the 1G or 10G interfaces.”
I have yet to see a customer who bought the Exalytics machines without Exadata as the database server, so taking away the InfiniBand connection meant that nobody had the incentive to virtualize.

 Oracle came out with Patchset 4 in early 2014. Exalytics boxes can now be virtualized while keeping the InfiniBand connectivity into Exadata and/or Exalogic (as traffic cop). There is a lot of excitement about being able to run the BI system as a private cloud offering. 

In a state department where I am currently consulting in, one of their goals is to 
“gain efficiencies through creation of a Private Cloud and encourage adoption of public cloud platforms, when appropriate.”
So when the PSU4 came out, the stakeholders were very excited to present the recent Exalytics acquisition and rewire them as private cloud offering for various agencies looking to use it to serve their BI content.

Oracle's recommendation has been to limit the VMs on an Exalytics box to a maximum of 4 on X2/X3 machines and 12 on X5 (@10 core/VM). The configurations are as follows:

1 VM for BI
1 VM for Essbase (planning)
1 VM for Endeca
Each VM instance to run a minimum of 10 cores

It is still unclear if this is a licensing limitation or a result of an internal benchmark. If an organization is using an Exalytics box to run OBIEE, BI apps, and the EPM suite, there go the 4 VMs. They would need to allot one for each of these: BI apps (one central implementation), EPM (one central implementation), OVM, and custom OBIEE machines.

In the succeeding weeks, I will share our experience with this state department client and how we meet one of their goals by eliminating duplication and lowering costs. Stay tuned for these upcoming posts:

Part II - Classify the Application Requirements and Cloud Offerings - Exalytics
Part III - Elastic Cloud vs. Not-So-Elastic Cloud - CPU Over Subscription

Tech Term of the Day

Exalytics base image: an image that consists of the operating system, virtualization software, and device drivers pre-configured for the respective appliance.

BuzzClan LLC
Architect - Oracle Engineered Systems

BuzzClan is a business consulting company collaborating to provide Oracle software advisory services & implementation services. BuzzClan LLC is committed to providing substantive business value on each and every client engagement. We do this through a combination of industry-specific business expertise, technical skills, proven project management methods and our “onsite - off site - offshore” delivery model. We strive to work in partnership with our customers to build high-performance teams and create business solutions that will last.

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