IBM Preconfigures Power System Racks Running Oracle Database
January 17, 2022 Timothy Prickett Morgan
If you are one of the suppliers who still sells Unix and Linux servers for supporting back-end relational databases or platforms that compete against Unix and Linux iron, then Oracle is something you have to contend with either directly or indirectly. As the dominant database platform for running ERP, CRM, SCM, and other applications, you have to partner with Oracle even if you have to compete against the company.
The good news is that at least Oracle no longer is selling big iron machinery based on the Solaris Unix and the Sparc processors that the company acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems back in January 2010. Oracle still sells Exadata database servers based on Intel Xeon processors, and will probably sell variants based on Altra Arm server chips from Ampere Computing, in which it has a stake. That is only one target to aim at, and in many cases, the Exadata appliances are overkill for what a lot of Oracle shops need.
But Power9 servers, and soon Power10 servers, the kind of traditional midrange machines that many Oracle shops need, and so last week in announcement letter 122-009 Big Blue announced a preconfigured Power Private Cloud Rack for OracleDB that packs servers, storage, and networking together to run Oracle databases and their applications.
There are three different configurations, and all three have the Power9-based, two-socket Power S922 server as the compute engine. There are two that are based on an eighth of a rack of gear and two that are based on a quarter of rack of gear; in each size, there is a one-node setup and a two-node setup with high availability clustering for the Oracle databases. The eighth rack has one 48-port 1 GB/sec Ethernet switches with four 10 Gb/sec uplinks and one 24-port 6 Gb/sec Fibre Channel switch, plus the Power S922 server, a FlashSystem 5200 storage array, a Power9-based 7063-CR2 Hardware Management Console; the quarter rack doesn’t have any substantial differences other than that, and the two node-setup is available in either size rack. (Which is another way of saying that the size has more to do with future expansion than current capabilities.)
The servers in the Power Private Cloud Rack for OracleDB – and incidentally, Oracle does not call it OracleDB, but the Oracle Database – runs the Power Systems Enterprise Stack based on AIX 7.2, the Power SC 2.0 security extensions, the PowerVC variant of the OpenStack cloud controller from IBM, and the PowerVM Enterprise Edition hypervisor. You will not that it is based on AIX 7.2, and not the AIX 7.3 release that was announced on October 19 last year and that became generally available only on December 10. We reported on AIX 7.3 Standard Edition back in October, and it is the variant of AIX that has been tweaked to support the Power10 processor and the “Denali” Power E1080 server. As far as we know, oddly enough, there is not an AIX 7.3 Enterprise Edition, and that is odd because the Power10 servers – especially the big ones – will need the Enterprise Edition.
IBM promises “lower total cost of ownership” for the preintegrated racks for the Oracle database, but its announcement letter does not say what these lower costs are, or what it is comparing them to. (There was a link to prices, but IBM killed it before anyone saw it.) The preintegrated Power racks for Oracle databases will be available on February 11. Given that there is a special “OracleDB solution indicator” for the FlashSystem 5200, as revealed in announcement letter 122-018, we presume that IBM is making some deep discounts on storage as part of the bundle. Ditto for the Fibre Channel switches that link the FlashSystem 5200 storage to the Power S922 servers, which also have a no charge administrative feature code as talked about in announcement letter 122-105.
We strongly suspect that there will be Power10 variants of this bundled approach, and wonder why IBM is not offering the same thing with its AIX and Db2 combination, or Linux and Db2 combination, and even IBM i and Db2 for i combination.