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Oracle Goes After Cisco UCS, with the 'Whole Megillah'

Oracle CTO Larry Ellison wants a bigger piece of the server market and is taking direct aim at Cisco's UCS to grow share. Oracle's new X5 Engineered Systems portfolio is a bid by the company to provide lower-cost two-socket converged infrastructure systems running Linux at very competitive price points.

During a launch event for the X5 portfolio, Oracle LinuxEllison praised Cisco's UCS as being a very successful platform in the core of the data center.

"They (Cisco) aren't close to us in performance, but they deliver a low purchase price," Ellison said.

The plan with the X5 now is to have a lower price to more directly compete against Cisco UCS.

"We have a new strategy; we're going to compete for the two-socket data center core business," Ellison said. "From what I can tell the way you compete with two-socket servers running Linux is you just have the lowest price in the industry."

Not only does Ellison want to have the lowest price, he also wants to deliver the highest level of performance at the low-cost price points.

Among the new X5 Engineered Systems announced by Ellison is the Virtual Compute Appliance X5 (VCA). The VCA is set to be available in a number of different configurations. At the launch event, Ellison showed a rack that included 27 two-socket servers, with nearly 1,000 cores, including a fabric interconnect for storage, rack and power supplies.

"It's the whole Megillah as my mom would say," Ellison said.

Oracle Database Appliance X5-2

Ellison also announced the new Oracle Database Appliance X5-2, which is powered by two 18-core Intel Xeon E5-2699v3 chips. The servers come with 256 GB of main memory per server expandable up to 768 GB. In terms of storage capacity, the Oracle Database Appliance X5-2 can include up to 16 x 3.5-inch 4 TB drives, which enables up to 64 TB of raw storage capacity.

The Oracle Big Data Appliance X5 is optimized for Big Data workloads and includes Cloudera Enterprise 5, the Oracle NoSQL Database and the Oracle R distribution. Each hardware node is made up of two 18-core Intel Xeon E5-2699v3 chips.

Or particular note, Ellison also announced Oracle's Big SQL technology, which enables users to take data out of the Oracle Database and combine it with data from Hadoop and a NoSQL database.

"You can look at all your data, whether it's stored in a NoSQL database or a SQL database, or Big Data Hadoop.

While Oracle is taking direct aim at Cisco for converged infrastructure, Cisco isn't too worried. In a statement sent to ServerWatch, Paul Perez, VP and GM of Cisco’s UCS data center business, said that Cisco feels pretty good about its hand in the converged infrastructure market.

"This is a market Cisco created with EMC back in 2009 with a joint venture that become one of the most successful in IT history," Perez said. "Since then we’ve been positioned as the number one vendor for integrated infrastructure systems for multiple years and Cisco UCS has also become the system of choice for integrated infrastructure offerings from NetApp, Red Hat, HDS, and most recently IBM. Oracle has a lot of catching up to do."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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This article was originally published on January 22, 2015
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