Infrastructure at your Service

Introduction

ODA X7-2 marked the maturity of the Oracle Database Appliance evolution, with 3 models suitable for nearly all customers using Oracle databases. The X7-2M was my favorite, with a lots of cores available (and restrainable), enough memory for dozens of databases, and strong storage performance and capacity (with a maximum of 50TB RAW NVMe). And taking up only 1U of space in your rack. Today, 2 years later, Oracle just introduced the new generation of ODAs in pair with the availability of the long awaited 19c release, aka 12.2.0.3. Let’s discover what’s interesting for you and I.

What are the changes on the hardware side?

If you were waiting for breakthrough technology, you will be disapointed. Nothing amazing here. Basically the hardware is quite the same as previous gen. You still can choose between S, M and HA appliances. S and M being single nodes, and HA a two-node configuration.

Disk size didn’t increase, at least for the S and M models. 6.4TB for a single disk, still great but no evolution since 2017. The most important change is on the form factor. A X7-2 compute node was previously 1U. X8-2 are now taller, 2U. Is it an advantage? For sure, 2U means more disks. But it’s only interesting for X8-2M because, as usual, X8-2S does not support more than 2 disks, and X8-2HA has no disk in the compute nodes. As a result, X8-2M model with maximum extension can reach 76.8TB RAW capacity, 50% more than previous gen. It’s quite a big improvement for this model. HA now has bigger SSD (7.68TB vs 3.2TB on X7-2HA). For huge databases, no more reason to use disk-based technologies.

Some customers complained about the lack of network interfaces (only 1 usable on X7-2S/M), you now have 3 of them, 1 standard and 2 optionnals. Copper, Fiber, or a mix.

Regarding the CPU, S model now shares the same 16-core CPUs as the others, but it still has 1 CPU. M has 2 CPUs, and HA 2×2 CPUs. You probaly won’t miss the 2 extra cores in the X7-2M/HA CPUs.

What’s new regarding the software?

As you may know, software will be available for the older ODA too, so everyone, except from first-gen owners, will benefit from the software update. 19c package is not yet available but stay tuned, it should be here very soon.

The software improvement you will benefit at least are:

  • support for 19c database: the long term long awaited version is now available on ODA
  • it wasn’t sure Oracle would keep a 11.2.0.4 database engine available for this brand new release, but actually it’s still available. ODA is now capable of running 2 strong terminal releases covering most of the customer needs: 11gR2 and 19c
  • RAC disappeared from 19c SE2, no regrets
  • odacli should be more stable and more powerfull: 18.3 brought the end of oakcli, since then HA and lite ODAs are sharing the same admin tool odacli. 19c will be the third version of this unified tool after the release of 18.5 several month ago.

What are the differences between the 3 models?

Oracle decided to keep 3 models, the first one (S) for an entry price point with 16 cores (6 more than X7-2S), 192GB and not expandable disks. The second one (M) for the most of us with lots of CPU cores (32: 4 less than previous gen), comfortable amount of memory (392GB) and a maximum of 76.8TB RAW capacity (+50%). The third one is for RAC lovers because it’s sometimes still a choice. This HA ODA gains an impressive increase in disk capacity with a maximum of 369TB thanks to the new 7.68TB SSDs on high performance version. There is still an offer for those who don’t care about maximum I/O speed: ODA HA High Capacity. It uses a mix of SSD and HDD.

Model DB Edition nodes U RAM GB RAM max GB RAW TB RAW TB max base price
ODA X8-2S SE2/EE 1 2 192 384 12.8 12.8 18’500$
ODA X8-2M SE2/EE 1 2 384 768 12.8 76.8 30’000$
ODA X8-2HA HP SE2/EE 2 8/12 2×384 2×768 46 369 77’000$
ODA X8-2HA HC SE2/EE 2 8/12 2×384 2×768 298 596 77’000$

Which one should you choose?

If your database(s) can comfortably fit in the S model, don’t hesitate as you will probably never need more. ODA X8-2S is the perfect choice for those using Standard Edition 2. Take a second one with DBVisit Standby and it’s a real bargain for a disaster protected Oracle database environment.

Most interesting model is still the M, like the previous generation was. M is quite afordable, and extremely dense regarding the TB available (76TB in 2U). And it’s upgradable in case you don’t buy it fully loaded at the beginning.

If you still want/need RAC and all these clustered and complicated stuff, the HA is for you and it’s basically 2 ODA X8-2M without local storage and with a SAS disk enclosure. But don’t forget that 2 ODAs X8-2M will be less expensive than one X8-2HA, if you can replace RAC with Data Guard.

What about the licenses and the support?

ODA is not sold with the database licenses: you need to bring yours or buy them at the same time. With Standard Edition 2, you’ll need 1 license per ODA on S and M models. 2 licenses for HA model but you will not be able to use RAC, so this combination makes no sense. If you’re using Enterprise Edition, you’ll need at least 1 license on a S and M models (2 activated cores) and at least 2 licenses on HA (2 activated cores per node). Enabling your EE license on a ODA will actually decrease the number of cores on the server to make sure you are compliant but it doesn’t prevent you to use an unlicensed option.

Regarding the support, as other hardware vendors you’ll have to pay for your ODA to be supported, in case of hardware or software failure. Support for the database licenses is the same as the other platforms. Don’t forget that if you’re still using 11gR2 or 12cR1 database, paying standard support is not enough, extended support is recommended, but it comes at a supplemental cost. But without extended support MOS will not prevent you to download and apply the 11.2.0.4 patches, as it’s part of the global patch.

Conclusion

Everyone is focused on the Cloud now. But on premise solutions are still great to keep everything under control, at home. These new appliances confirmed that ODA is a strong product in the Oracle engineered system line, and that’s why most of the customer love them. Not considering ODA for your next infrastructure is definitly missing a mainstream solution for your databases.

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Jérôme Dubar
Jérôme Dubar

Consultant