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SAN FRANCISCO — Oracle OpenWorld 2011, like most mega-conferences of its type, is all about potential customers, analysts, integrators, partners and developers asking three main questions: a) What’s next; b) how much; and c) when?

In Oracle’s case, the answers this year are: a) Exalytics; b) undisclosed at this time; and c) undisclosed at this time. So how’s that for getting the news facts together?

The big picture here is that Oracle now claims to have completed a fast, DRAM (dynamic memory) and NAND flash-based, big-data-type analytics server that runs its own software or that of Apache Hadoop or EMC Greenplum.

Never mind that at this point it’s still vaporware to most people and that these things, when they do actually become widely available, will contain the most expensive components in storage. Never mind that once you buy into the Oracle world you’re pretty much committed for life. Putting all those hesitancies aside, it’s fun after all to think about how fast these might be and how much work they might be able to do in short spans of time.

We do know some details about Exalytics This soon-to-come (most likely by early 2012) in-memory appliance is Oracle’s latest whiz-bang box full of IT goodness. Exalytics moves "at the speed of thought," is how CEO and co-founder Larry Ellison described it in his opening keynote Oct. 2 at the Moscone Center.

Exalytics is comprised of a Sun Fire X4470 M2 server, which is a four-socket, 3U-size box running Intel’s multicore (in this case, 10 CPUs) Westmere-EX Xeon E7 processor. As such, it features 40 processors. Each box can store an impressive amount of 5TB to 10TB of deduplicated, compressed data in memory.

The secret sauce, however, begins with the solid-state innards: a full 1TB of DDR3 main memory and six flash disk drives packed onto the chassis. It features 40G bps Infiniband connectivity with optional 10GbE ports.

Oracle’s parallelized TimesTen relational online transaction processing (OLTP) and Essbase parallel online analytical processing (OLAP) databases are what processes the Big Data workloads.

To read the original eWeek article, click here: Oracle Moves to In-Memory Analytics With Exalytics Appliance