Oracle just rolled out a new Exalytics system with more memory, among other enhancements, that promises to expand the capabilities of the business analytics software. The new Exalytics X3-4 system comes with 2 TB of main memory, 2.4 TB of flash storage and 5.4 TB of hard disk space.
With Exalytics X3-4, Oracle has optimized its business analytics system to manage what it calls an "ever-increasing" volume, scale and scope of business questions that demand real-time answers. Oracle has made changes that promise to accelerate the platform's ability to handle strategic business questions in the areas of advanced planning, data discovery, scenario modeling, burst reporting and what-if analysis.
"Unlocking data in a quick, easy and timely manner can be a strong competitive advantage," said Paul Rodwick, vice president of product management at Oracle. He went on to say that Exalytics X3-4 allows Oracle customers to "spend less time on complicated integrations and more time providing real-time answers to strategic business questions."
Oracle's BI Play
Indeed, Oracle is making plenty of promises with Exalytics X3-4, including deeper analysis, faster calculations, and greater mobility. The memory upgrade, for example, lets clients analyze larger data sets and more aggregates at various levels of granularity in-memory.
According to Oracle, Exalytics users can access unlimited amounts of data, unconstrained by in-memory capacity because Oracle Business Intelligence software automatically and transparently manages queries across the Exalytics in-memory cache and all underlying data sources, such as data warehouses and Hadoop.
Meanwhile, flash memory in the new Oracle Exalytics powers faster calculations, restructuring, load and export for planning applications , what-if analysis and scenario modeling with Oracle Essbase. The company said increased storage capacity enables performance improvements of up to 25 times in load times and nine times in calculation times when running multiple Oracle Essbase cubes concurrently.
On the mobility front, Exalytics X3-4 works with Oracle's BI Mobile HD, with no additional development required. The company said end-users will have near instantaneous responses on mobile devices, optimizing productivity while away from the office.
A Critical Oracle App
Zeus Kerravala, an analyst at ZK Research, thinks Oracle is making a good move. That, he told us, is because any CIO will tell you that analytics is among the top two or three initiatives for IT projects -- and Oracle needs to get business analytics right.
"Clearly, if you look at Oracle's financials they've got a problem with their business," Kerravala said. "Their database market has slowed down. Competitors are nipping at their heals on the financial software side. And they are not a very strong cloud provider, hence the partnerships with salesforce.com and Microsoft ."
With that said, Kerravala noted that the market for business analytics still has room for Oracle. Although SAP's HANA probably has won plenty of technology media attention, there are still very few deployments.
"Having a really good rock solid high performance analytics platform could end up being that next big application that Oracle has been looking for," Kerravala said. "They need something to get growth going considering their last seven quarters."