Exalytics

Exalytics First Impressions

For all of the much deserved hype surrounding the famed Oracle Exalytics platform (it’s 40 cpus of processing power, 1 Terrabyte of RAM, available flash disk drives, optimized in-memory data retrievals, etc.); the Exalytics server is just another 64-bit Linux server to the software installer. I must admit, I was a little disappointed. I was so geeked out to work on an Exalytics server and then I found out that the install is pretty much exactly what I had done on a 64-bit Linux server just a couple of months ago. The beauty of Exalytics, is that the installation of EPM is exactly the same as a 64-bit Linux server install.

Perhaps a little back story is in order. The client that I am working with for this project ordered two Exalytics servers: one for production and one that was to be split between development and test. The client purchased the EPM/BI Foundation Suite, but doesn’t have any plans to implement OBIEE for this phase of the project. The Exalytics servers were purchased to support the EPM suite, not OBIEE and Times Ten as most Exalytics servers are targeted. In fact, Times Ten was specifically not purchased by the client and was not to be installed.

Oracle has an excellent team that handles the business end of these Exalytics servers. They have a great process worked out to make sure that the clients receive exactly what they order on tight timeframes. The amount of time passed from the signed order was delivered to Oracle to delivery of the servers was no more than eight days. That is just a testament to the organization of Oracle’s team behind these servers.

So, the order for this build was to install as many EPM components on the Exalytics server as possible, and utilize Windows servers for the non-compatible components. The EPM system in this case includes Essbase, Planning, HFM, FDM, EAL, DRM, ODI, FR, Web Analysis, Calc Manager, and EPMA. Of course, not all of these products are compatible with Linux and/or Exalytics (HFM, FDM, and the EPMA Dimension Server to name a few).

The installation went smoothly for the most part. Splitting one box for use with two different environments required different Middleware Homes and port numbers which were fun to try and sort out. Splitting one server for two environments appears to be easier beginning with 11.1.2.3 as the EPM System Registry now stores the port numbers for more products than in 11.1.2.2.

Oracle has a special documentation library just for Exalytics here: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/documentation/exalytics-doc-1645656.html.  This is where you can find great information as to what products are supported on the Exalytics hardware.

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Exalytics Installation in progress

Exalytics Installation in progress

Today I began my first of three Exalytics installations at a client. I am geeking out just working on the hardware.

Rather than having Oracle do the software installation, this client has opted for me to install EPM and OBIEE on these servers. The standard installation for EPM is Essbase only where this client is going to host the majority of their EPM stack (Planning and Essbase along with other requisite software) on the Exalytics servers and HFM/FDM/ODI/EPMA on Windows.

The Exalytics server isn’t that much different from any other 64-bit Linux server with the exception of the 1TB of RAM and 40 processing cores.  The OS is Oracle Linux release 5.5, which appears to be based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5.  The same downloads and installation steps for a regular 64-bit EPM install are used on Exalytics with very few exceptions.  I will follow up on the status with my thoughts as the project progresses.