Oracle’s annual OpenWorld conference played host yesterday to the introduction of new hardware and software systems for big-data analytics. The Exalytics Business Intelligence Machine includes multiple databases to allow analytics to be run against both structured and unstructured data in memory. Oracle also announced the availability of a new SPARC-based SuperCluster for Solaris users.

The Exalytics Business Intelligence Machine is built to offer instantaneous query results on relational, multidimensional and unstructured data. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said that it includes the TimesTen relational database for relational data, and the Essbase database for multidimensional data, both of which came to Oracle through acquisition.

Ellison also highlighted the heuristic adaptive in-memory cache. “As different people ask different questions, we migrate different data sets into memory,” he said. “If people are asking the same questions over and over again, we keep that data in memory.” He added that Exalytics can perform a logical scan on 5TB of compressed data in five seconds.

Exalytics could be seen as both a play for the burgeoning big-data market, which is currently dominated by Apache Hadoop, and also as a nod to the NoSQL movement through its inclusion of relational, multidimensional and unstructured databases in the system.

While Oracle’s two new products were the big news for software developers, Ellison spent a great deal of time discussing the advantages of using systems in which hardware and software come from the same vendor. “I remember when we first bought Sun, a lot of people said, ‘They’re going to get out of the hardware business.’ I guess we didn’t get the memo,” he said.

“A few years ago, we introduced the Exadata Database Machine, followed by the Exalogic Middleware Machine. If you design the hardware and software in concert, you can do a better job than if one company comes up with the operating system, and another comes up with the virtual machine and another creates the database.”

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