Oracle, HP Unveil Computer to Cope with Digital Explosion

The companies unveiled the Exadata Storage Server and a Database Machine.

Oracle has announced it is diving headlong into the computer hardware business with a brainier, brawnier machine crafted to manage the explosion of digital data. The company's chief executive Larry Ellison on Sept. 24 unveiled an Exadata Storage Server and a Database Machine built in partnership with computer titan Hewlett Packard. "Conventional storage arrays simply cannot compete with the Oracle-HP Database Machine," said Ellison.

Oracle and HP have worked together for years on solutions to the rocketing growth in the amount of data businesses have crammed into their machines. The amount of digital information is doubling or tripling annually and the number of people companies need to have access to that information is multiplying exponentially as well, according to industry statistics.

Businesses grapple with an increasingly difficult challenge of sifting through growing mountains of data for insights regarding customers, inventories, performance and other vital aspects of operations.

More than a third of the executives overseeing computer networks at major U.S. firms believe that their data centers will not be able to meet growing demands by the year 2010, according to HP vice president Anne Livermore. "At the heart of this is a data center badly in need of transformation," Livermore said in a preface to Ellison's presentation. "They need a next-generation data center."

Ellison says Oracle and HP have addressed the problem by building a machine that pairs Intel multi-core processors with blocks of memory, essentially giving each data storage disk a brain of its own. Instead of huge chunks of data being sent over limited bandwidth connections to business servers for processing, the "brainier" memory disks send just the details being sought.

Tests of the machines indicate they handle information more than 10 times faster than systems currently in use, according to Oracle.

"I think we are bringing to the market what two great companies do best and we are doing it as a team," HP chief executive Mark Hurd said during a video broadcast appearance with Ellison.

The HP Oracle Database Machine combines Exadata servers, beefed-up connections, and high-performance processors in a package.

"I hope your teams are ready to turn these things out like iPods," Ellison quipped to Hurd, implying the machines would be hot sellers.

Exadata servers using the Linux open-source operating system are available immediately and models based on other operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows Vista, "are on the way," according to Ellison.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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