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Oracle’s New Exadata X5 Includes NVMe Flash Technology

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Exadata X5 boasts of improved bandwidth due to adoption of NVM express flash

As mentioned in the earlier part of the series, Oracle (ORCL) launched Exadata X5 in January. The new offering has many salient features that improve its performance over its predecessors. Exadata X5 uses the latest high bandwidth flash technology, NVMe, which helps it in achieving low I/O overhead.

NVMe (non-volatile memory express) is a specification that enables a solid-state drive (or SSD) to make effective use of the peripheral component interconnect express (or PCIe) bus in a computer. NVMe reference drivers are available for various operating systems, including Microsoft (MSFT) Windows and Linux.

NVMe is a new generation of flash. It brings multiple queues and lower latency with a direct path from the storage to the central processing unit (or CPU). As it communicates to flash drives directly from the PCIe bus, there are no disk controllers or anything else in the middle.

In April 2015, Intel (INTC) also launched a SSD 750 Series that comes equipped with NVMe, which is targeted towards the workstations and the consumer market.

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Exadata X5 has higher bandwidth and performance than its predecessors

In Exadata X5, the removal of the SAS controller along with the new NVMe connectivity has resulted in higher bandwidth per hard drive at 3.2 GB per second versus the old 1.2 GB per second SAS. Exadata delivers a 263-GB-per-second uncompressed scan speed in a full rack, as the above presentation shows.

As the above presentation shows, by bringing four PCIe lanes directly to the NVM Express SSD, Oracle was able to provide 32 GB per second bandwidth to each drive. That is approximately 2.5 times the bandwidth when compared to the 12 GB per second pipe of a conventional SAS3 SSD, as shown in the above presentation. Apart from the additional bandwidth, Oracle eliminates the protocol conversion to and from SAS, reducing latency and improving the performance of transactional workloads.

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