January 10, 2012, 8:55 AM — Oracle has announced a new big data appliance that will not only merge the non-relational data storage power of Apache Hadoop with Oracle's relational database and Oracle's inherited hardware from Sun Microsystems: it will do it at a price point that may even beat commodity-server Hadoop deployments.
The new Big Data Appliance is an engineered system comprised of 18 Sun Fire x86 server nodes that will deliver 648 TB of disk storage across 216 processors. And, instead of rolling their own distribution of Hadoop, Oracle has opted to go with Cloudera, using the CDH3 version of Cloudera's Hadoop, along with the Cloudera Manager 3.7 add-on.
[ Free download: Hadoop creator Doug Cutting expects surge in interest to continue ]
For end-users, this means no lock-in on Oracle's NoSQL database infrastructure, and greater flexibility using Hadoop. For Cloudera, it means a serious boost in business.
The cost of the Big Data Appliance is what will really stand out. At $500,000, this may not seem like a bargain, but in reality it is. Typically, commoditized Hadoop systems run at about $4,000 a node. To get this much data storage capacity and power, you would need about 385 nodes… which puts the price tag at around $1.54 million--three times the price of Oracle's Cloudera-based offering (which, I should add, excludes things like support costs and power).
So, for now, this is a very economical way to introduce an engineered big data system into your infrastructure.
But if I were Cloudera, I would be watching my back.
Various media reports indicated that Oracle considered creating their own Hadoop distro, but ultimately opted to go with Cloudera over Hortonworks and MapR.
Students of Linux history will well remember that's exactly what happened when Oracle partnered with Red Hat to introduce commoditized Oracle offerings… and then Larry Ellison and crew decided to roll their own Oracle Enterprise Linux in 2006 when they decided to cut Red Hat out of the stack.
This is strong historical evidence that Oracle will do the same with Cloudera, because frankly the big data market is too big for Oracle not to want to own. Big Data Appliance customers should note this, and be very prepared that future versions may not be tied to Cloudera at all, but rather Oracle's version of Hadoop.
Even if that happens, there's no denying that Oracle's entry to the big data field is potentially very disruptive, and will bring a lot of growth to the field of unstructured/structured data storage. I'm glad Cloudera is getting the boost, too, because this is a sector of the market that could use a little limelight.
Given the strength of Oracle's marketing and channels, big data is about to get a whole lot… bigger.
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