Reducing Oracle Database Cost

Reducing Oracle Database Cost

posted on October 5, 2016 by Amit Golander

Guest post by:
     Efstathios Efstathiou, Master Database Engineer,
     Federal Office of Information Technology, Systems and Telecommunication (FOITT)

This blog post is quick summary of my presentation at the Swiss Oracle User Group (SOUG), Sep. 20th 2016.
The full set of slides is available at:

The Pain

As everyone knows, Oracle Enterprise Database is an excellent solution. Excellent, but very expensive.

Many efforts have been taken to improve the per-core efficiency and I/O subsystem.

We were asked for an internal study to check if it is possible to migrate our most mission critical databases from IBM Mainframe to an x86 platform and also to provide a more generic alternative to Oracle’s own x86-based Engineered Systems like Exadata.

The biggest challenge was to fill the gap by not having I/O co-processors as on Mainframe or Exadata’s Storage Cells. Such storage offloading frees CPU resources and provides an unmatched per-core efficiency when running Oracle on those specialized platforms.

We only wanted to use standard x86 commodity hardware and components generally available on the market.

With our first attempt, we were able to get to the same level of random I/O performance as an Oracle Exadata X6-2 Full Rack Configuration, but using only two physical servers. This “baseline” configuration used Oracle RAC with FlashGrid to accelerate performance. It leveraged best in class Intel hardware in the form of strong E5-2699 CPUs and the strongest NVMe Flash cards (P3700). Hardware wise we were already using the best, so it was clear that the next improvement would have to come from software. Infrastructure software that will keep us on Oracle Database.


The solution

We studied several solutions and decided to move forward with Plexistor software-defined memory (SDM) and see what it can do for us. We did not go through any training or tweaking phase. We merely installed their software (a few minutes) on the same HPE server configuration, with additional NVDIMM modules, and modified the Oracle data file location to reside on the m1fs mount point (Plexistor storage solution). The single server performance using NVDIMM-N, NVMe and Plexistor’s clever tiering algorithm, was so good that it outperformed the already pretty stunning performance of our 2-node RAC/FlashGrid system by yet another 900,000 IOPS.



By running Oracle database on Plexistor, the following licenses on our baseline configuration were no longer needed:

  1. Oracle RAC Option on both Server nodes (per CPU)
  2. Oracle Enterprise Edition Licenses for 2nd Server Node (if using Failover-Cluster)

Overall, this saves 75% of the software licensing cost, 50% of the hardware cost while boosting performance by up to 42%.

Baseline Oracle solution Oracle on Plexistor Benefit
Max IOPS 5.6 M 6.5 M +16% increase
Max throughput 21.6 GB/s 30.8 GB/s +42% increase
Hardware cost 2*~20K USD ~20K USD ½  the HW cost
Software cost 2,160K USD  (list price) 546K USD  (list price) ¼ of the SW license cost

For my complete SOUG slide deck refer to



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