Oracle: What's the X4-4? In-memory monster slams jaws down on 3TB, for starters

Extreme Exalytics' enormous ingestation


OpenWorld Oracle can analyse up to 3TB of data in memory with its latest Exalytics In-Memory Machine, the X4-4.

Announced at Larry Ellison’s OpenWorld extravaganza, this system features four Xeon E7-8895 v2 processors, up to 3TB of memory, 4.8TB of flash and a paltry 7.2TB of disk storage (6 x 1.2TB 10K 2.5-inch drives). Its X3-4 machine, launched in July last year, had Xeon E7-4800 processors and up to 2TB of DRAM – so that gets increased by 50 per cent.

The X3-4 supported 2.4TB of flash cache, and that has been doubled, as well as 5.4TB of disk from 6 x 900GB drives. The new box appears to be built around the Sun Server X4-4 system.


Exalytics X4-4

Oracle says the X4-4 has 50 per cent more processing cores – up to 60 – than the X3-4 and a 50 per cent faster clock speed. Oracle’s Database-In-Memory is fully certified with the X4-4, so that the Exalytics box gets the full capabilities of the Oracle Database and can hold “analytic data marts entirely in memory, delivering speed-of-thought analytics on existing data warehouses and systems of record.” Sounds impressive.


Sun Server X4-4

The system can dynamically scale the frequency and number of cores to optimise for faster single threaded performance where needed as well as for large levels of parallelism; the more cores active the lower the processor clock speed and vice-versa, down to, we understand, 8 cores. It appears that the Exalytrics’ Xeons are specific to Oracle, being specialised versions of the base commodity Xeon 7-8800s.

Does this make the X4-4 a non-commodity system? Guess so.

The Essbase accelerator is part of the Exalytics' software suite. Oracle says there are new Essbase in-memory features that “helps dramatically improve overall Oracle Essbase performance and scalability;”

  • Patented lockless algorithms
  • Exalytics-specific thread pool and resource management
  • Background multiuser write

The X4-4 appliance supports new releases of Oracle’s Endeca Information Discovery, Business Intelligence Foundation Suite, Business IntelligenceApplications, Real-Time Decisions, TimesTen In-Memory Database and the Hyperion Enterprise Performance Management product.

As memory gets relatively cheaper, servers generally hold more data in DRAM and so avoid data access latency inherent in accessing data stored off the CPU-memory bus.

Check out a datasheet here (PDF), where it says the X4-4 can have up to 2TB of RAM and 2.4TB of flash.

The X4-4 costs the same as the X3-4, understood to be $175,000 at the time of publication. ®

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