Tanel Poder, an Oracle expert, believes that the new Exadata machine from the vendor will challenge IT professionals to develop new approaches to designing and optimising their databases.

Along with other experts and end users, Poder will be addressing customer concerns around Exadata at a UK Oracle User Group event in London next Monday.

Poder, who has expertise in Oracle databases, said that in some cases, a traditional approach to database design could hinder the performance of Oracle’s new database machine.

“Most of our customers have bought Exadata for getting more performance out of their data warehouses and Exadata has delivered this well. However, in order to get the most out of exadata, you should stop thinking the old way when designing and optimising your database,” he said.

Poder said that for example, Exadata’s “extreme brute force data scanning throughput” will render many fine-tuning techniques for old, non-Exadata databases, irrelevant.

“In fact, some of the old optimisations carried over from old systems, such as forcing a report to always use a specific index, may end up throttling the performance.

“When migrating a data warehouse system to Exadata, you should review and probably disable such optimisations in the context of Exadata's unique capabilities,” he advised.

Exadata, as a complete machine with its own inbuilt storage, also poses a challenge for IT in terms of who is responsible for the database and who is responsible for enterprise storage.

With other systems, enterprise storage is normally the job of the storage administration team.

“Some companies have given these responsibilities to the DBA teams, some have given it to sysadmins, but I have not seen anyone giving this task to storage administration team yet as there’s no SAN storage in Exadata,” Poder said.

To help customers understand how to make the most of Exadata, Poder will be speaking at the UKOUG Exadata Special event in London on 18 April. 

“For all, this event will help you learn some real life lessons from the speakers, learn some good practices and avoid some bad ones the speakers have learned the hard way,” he said.

Other Oracle database experts will also be at the event to share their experiences of implementing and using Exadata.

“The content of the event will be quite technical, so architects, performance analysts and database administrators will feel right at home,” said Alex Gorbachev, CTO at Pythian, who will be sharing a customer case study at the event.

“The sessions will [also] have good connection to business values that Exadata brings. This would be very valuable to DBA managers, director of IT operations and managers who directly or indirectly oversee database platforms.”

People can register to attend the event here, where they can also find details on how to enter the Apress prize draw to win a free copy of the e-book ‘Expert Oracle Exadata’, which is co-authored by Poder and Oracle experts Kerry Osborne and Randy Johnson.

UKOUG Exadata Special event, Monday 18th April 2011