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Oracle’s Competitive Edge in Enterprise Hybrid Storage Arrays: Storage Scalability Backed by Enterprise Support, Part I

The key for many enterprises today is to identify a storage provider that delivers the best of what next generation hybrid storage arrays have to offer. However, technology alone is not enough for enterprise organizations. This storage provider also has to meet internal financial stability and long-term viability requirements as well as deliver enterprise-class technical service and support.
It is for reasons like these that many enterprises restrict their short list of potential storage providers to EMC, NetApp and IBM as enterprises are unwilling to “bet the farm,” so to speak, on any new storage array, no matter how compelling its technology may be. This is why many will likely dismiss hybrid storage array offerings from storage providers such as Nimble Storage, Tintri, Dot Hill, Tegile, and X-IO as they do not measure up to the these internal, intangible benchmarks that many enterprises possess.
It is nearly impossible for enterprises to so easily dismiss a storage provider like Oracle. Unlike smaller providers, Oracle’s position in the enterprise coupled with its ability to support and deliver on enterprise requirements is nearly indisputable. Consider:

  • Oracle is a $37 billion company with over 120,000 employees around the globe, and some 400,000 customers worldwide
  • Over 60,000 people attended Oracle OpenWorld in fall 2013
  • 97% of Global Fortune 500 companies use Oracle software
  • Over 50,000 IT professionals become certified in Oracle software each year

While arguably best known for its database software and business applications, Oracle has also emerged as an enterprise storage player having acquired several storage companies since 2010, including:

  • ZFS Storage Appliance (part of Sun Microsystems acquisition)
  • Pillar Data Systems
  • StorageTek tape storage solutions (part of the Sun Microsystems acquisition)

Of these three acquisitions, Sun is particularly noteworthy from a storage perspective as ZFS has become the hidden gem in its acquisition of Sun. Though Sun already had 1,000 customers using its ZFS Storage Appliance by 2009, the number of ZFS Storage Appliance customers under Oracle’s oversight swelled to 3,000 by 2011 and in 2013 Oracle had installed its 10,000th ZFS Storage Appliance.
Oracle’s customer base and name recognition certainly helped to drive some of the ZFS Storage Appliance sales to enterprises. However, the technical features and functionality of the ZFS Storage Appliance play an equally influential role in the selection of these hybrid storage arrays by enterprises over competitive offerings.
File System and LUN Capacity
As more enterprises centralize file stores and consolidate their available storage capacity, they want assurances that their hybrid storage array’s file system will scale to handle petabytes of data.
As this table illustrates, the ZFS file system scales to hold zettabytes of data which is up to 50,000X more data than what these competitive solutions currently support.
Oracle File System and LUN CapacityIn this respect, it could be said that the Oracle ZS3 Series is the only hybrid storage array that can handle a nearly infinite amount of data, alleviating concerns that enterprises may have in managing petabytes of data. For example, to store 10 petabytes of data a NetApp filer requires 100 file systems or more whereas a ZFS Storage Appliance requires just one. The resulting filer sprawl increases upfront costs, complexity and ongoing management expenses.  Similarly the Oracle ZS3 Series easily surpasses competitive offerings in terms of LUN capacity.

In Part II in this series on the Oracle ZS3 hybrid storage appliance, I will take a look at how Oracle compares in performance to these hybrid storage arrays from these other leading enterprise providers.
To read the entire DCIG Special Report that examines the competitive advantage that the Oracle ZS3 Storage Series offers for enterprise hybrid storage arrays, please follow this link.



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