Friday, October 12, 2012

The Oracle Exadata 11g Essentials (1Z0-536)

Mr. Larry Elison said in one of his recent appearance when launching Exadata X3-2, "SAP Hana is kinda small... about 0.5TB small. It is indeed small. Mine is bigger." and something like that, although I can't remember his exact words.

Too bad, Mr. Bill Gates' Microsoft ain't jump on the bandwagon yet on a totally Microsoft based appliance. Microsoft is working with alliance partners like HP or so in current appliance wave.

So what's the big deal about appliance based solution?

Yeah? What's the big deal?

Appliance is not something new. Seriously.

Early days of computing solution actually were appliance-based! Computer engineers assembled a dedicated computing machine using their own proprietary hardware, software, networking devices, storage and components with performance centric mentality to maximize utilization of available resources. Use some marketing catch words from principals like IBM and Oracle: Balanced Configuration.

Then computing components became commoditized, leveraging economic of scale, drastically lower down prices, improve adoption and innovations. Too bad, the commoditization happened individually for each component. Solutioning process nowadays spends a hell of time and efforts to assemble these "unbalanced" components together and it requires a hell of group of specialized people like systems engineer, storage expert, network specialist and so on together to make sure the end result can somehow meet the real customer needs.

Change is inevitable. Complexity sucks.

Appliance based deployment lowers complexity.

Wait! Oracle actually try to differentiate appliance and appliance-like platform. Exadata is actually a appliance-like platform. What it really means is that Exadata provides almost full flexibility in operating the Oracle database software as if it is in a non-Exadata environment. A true appliance is more limited in terms of configuration. Emm, the characteristics of these two kinds are usually overlapping and we shouldn't waste too much time to try to identify the idiosyncrasy of both since they shall eventually converge into single definition.

So, there are Netezza, Exadata, SAP HANA, Greenplum, HP Vertica, SmartAnalytics and the list goes longer with many smaller players in the market. Gartner Magic Quadrant paper should be able to point out few names in this area.

Anyway, enough of the gibberish speech about appliance.

I think appliance is great as it will cut down my time in assembling a BOM for proposals, although sometimes the price tag is hard to fit into the budget unless Oracle or any appliance vendor is kindly to give out GREAT bid price for us.

I took and passed 1Z0-536 The Oracle Exadata 11g Essentials. Scored 84% . To me, 84% is a score that has plenty of rooms for improvements. I would attribute this below-than-my-average score to the lack of literature about Exadata in the circulation. This is an area for enhancement. Oracle, please take note.

My preparation materials basically include OPN learning materials about Exadata under the specialization track, "Achieving Extreme Performance with Oracle Exadata (Oracle Press)" and many whitepapers/articles.

Some major subject areas tested in the examination are IORM, Database Machine specs and best practices. I got ambushed by some questions about ASM attribute and state of the disks. OUCH! No idea at all what the hell they are and I can only count on my common sense. Non-Exadata Oracle specific knowledge would be a great use here.

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