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Rein in Oracle costs by modernizing your infrastructure



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Guest blog written by Jeff Kyle, Director, Mission Critical Solutions – HPE Servers

Oracle is one of the workhorses of the database world. With more than 300,000 organizations worldwide relying on it to consolidate and manage their important information assets, it’s the most widely used relational database in the world and the engine underneath a host of mission-critical processes like enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, and online transaction processing.

IT leaders, faced with fast growing data volumes now reaching into the tens and hundreds of terabytes on one hand, and fixed or shrinking resources on the other, should be carefully looking at database spend as they plan for future growth. Many are asking, “Is it feasible to reduce the cost of running Oracle databases and improve database performance at the same time?”

It is indeed. With software licensing and support being one of the top cost items in any data center, an investment in modernizing your Oracle infrastructure with a move to an advanced, industry-standard x86 server architecture, will provide excellent ROI and you will achieve both goals.

Scale up, scale better

Many Oracle database workloads are installed on UNIX platforms. While UNIX provides excellent stability and performance, it does so at a higher cost than industry-standard x86 platforms and is not ideally positioned for forward-looking Cloud deployments. Additionally, UNIX tends to be installed on proprietary RISC chips like IBM Power. The Oracle license charge per CPU core for IBM Power is twice the amount charged for Intel x86 servers, with support fees on proprietary RISC compounding the expense even further.

It then seems that a scale out x86 server environment would be a great alternative. But lower-cost “scale-out” x86 platforms – installations consisting of clusters of x86 servers – have drawbacks, too. While x86 is now the industry standard, the Oracle software that provides scale-out capability, Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC), adds complexity to an Oracle environment and significantly impact costs, since the license cost for RAC is $11,500 per x86 CPU core (list). In addition, RAC clustering software adds processing overhead, degrading performance. To achieve performance SLAs with RAC, it then becomes necessary to add additional processors, further driving up the cost.

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There’s a compelling alternative. A “scale-up” (high capacity) x86 architecture with a large memory capacity for in-memory compute models can dramatically improve database performance and lower TCO. By reducing the number of processors you need for your Oracle workloads, it lowers licensing costs. Switching to industry-standard Intel® Xeon® processors also cuts per-processor licensing costs compared to proprietary platforms like IBM Power. And by replacing proprietary infrastructures, you reduce maintenance and support expenditures, and, more importantly, you prepare for future data growth and business demands.

How Pella avoided $200,000 in Oracle licensing fees

Impressive results are feasible, and Pella proved it. By modernizing its Oracle database environment, the door and window manufacturing giant avoided increases of $200,000 in its Oracle licensing costs – plus more in support costs, and another $200,000 on top of that in operating expenses. You can read the full story of how they did it here: Pella increases infrastructure performance and scalability.

Pella had been running Oracle Business Suite and an Oracle 10G database on a UNIX platform. The company upgraded to two HPE Superdome X servers on Linux. Jim Thomas, director of IT Operations, explains: “We embrace the scalability, flexibility, and long-term economics of Superdome X. It allows us to reduce our operational costs and avoid incremental Oracle licensing costs. In addition, we have the flexibility to scale up and scale out to support increased performance requirements for our mission-critical ERP applications over time.”

In addition, Pella added valuable new capacity, enhanced its redundancy and disaster-recovery capabilities, and significantly improved server performance.

These are by no means atypical results. According to IDC research, standardizing on a scale-up architecture can deliver cost savings of 35 percent or more, with the most significant part of that coming from increased IT staff productivity, increased resource utilization (CPU, memory and network), reduced energy consumption and reduced software licensing costs.

Moving to x86 scale up servers is one of the most effective ways to rein in and control the cost of running Oracle software in order to fund the innovation required to remain agile in today’s highly competitive business environment. Download the best practices guide, Reducing costs in your Oracle database environment to learn more.

Learn more about data center modernization use cases at our website.



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About the Author


I am a Senior Manager managing external content and social media for HPE Servers Awareness. Stay tuned for topics on Mission Critical Solutions, Core Enterprise and SMB Solutions, Next Gen Workload Solutions, Big Data and HPC, Cloudline and HPS Options! Follow me @RubyD_Nich