Exadata X8M The Next Generation Database Machine

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In this article, we will delve into the exciting advancements of Exadata X8M, a next-generation database machine by Oracle. We will explore the key features of Exadata X8M, including the incorporation of persistent memory (RPM) and the migration from InfiniBand to Rocky, a cutting-edge technology in the world of data management. Our guest expert, Joshi Ja, provides valuable insights into these advancements and their importance for Oracle customers.

The Evolution of Exadata Architecture

Exadata X8M introduces a significant change in the network infrastructure of the database machine. Traditionally, Exadata relied on InfiniBand technology for networking. However, with Exadata X8M, Oracle has embraced the Rocky protocol for network communication. While this change might seem daunting at first, it is essential to understand that Rocky is an extension of InfiniBand.

InfiniBand has been the backbone of Exadata’s network for many years, providing remote direct memory access (RDMA) optimizations. RDMA technology offers low-latency, high-throughput, and minimal CPU usage, making it crucial for delivering exceptional performance. With the emergence of Rocky, Oracle saw an opportunity to transition from InfiniBand to Ethernet while retaining the benefits of RDMA.

The Advantages of Rocky and Ethernet

Rocky, RDMA over Converged Ethernet, offers the same advantages as InfiniBand while leveraging the widespread use and cost-effectiveness of Ethernet. The decision to switch to Rocky was driven by several factors, especially the remarkable advancements in Ethernet technology. Today, Ethernet can provide speeds of 100 gigabits per second, equivalent to InfiniBand’s capabilities.

From a customer’s perspective, Exadata X8M with Rocky offers numerous benefits. Exadata’s shared storage architecture allows for linear scalability, where customers can add more storage servers to meet increasing demands. This architecture harnesses the power of all the storage systems in the rack, providing unprecedented performance and scalability.

Rocky’s low-latency and high-throughput capabilities ensure that small messages, such as random reads or log writes, are processed swiftly, enhancing application performance. Furthermore, the high network bandwidth offered by Rocky is crucial for workloads involving backups, restores, or scans that require transferring large amounts of data between compute and storage.

By leveraging Ethernet and Rocky, Exadata X8M integrates seamlessly into cloud data centers, where Ethernet networking is prevalent. This integration ensures consistent performance and eliminates the need for isolated InfiniBand networks, making Exadata more versatile and accessible.

The Significance of the Smart Scan

One of Exadata’s defining features is the Smart Scan, which enables efficient data processing by offloading operations to the storage servers. The Smart Scan uses the ICB protocol, a communication channel between the database and storage servers, to pass metadata and offload the processing of predicates, column projections, and data filtering to the storage. This approach reduces the amount of data transferred over the network, enhancing performance and reducing latency.

The design of Exadata X8M with Rocky aligns closely with the requirements of the Smart Scan. The integration of Rocky ensures high-speed, low-latency communication, allowing for efficient data processing and minimizing network congestion. By eliminating the need for fiber channel SAN, Exadata X8M maximizes the performance potential of the Smart Scan and optimizes the entire data management workflow.


Exadata X8M heralds a new era in database management, offering improved performance, scalability, and flexibility through the adoption of Rocky and Ethernet. The shift from InfiniBand to Rocky ensures compatibility with modern Ethernet infrastructure while maintaining the benefits of RDMA technology. With its shared storage architecture and Smart Scan capabilities, Exadata X8M provides customers with an unparalleled database solution.

Oracle’s commitment to innovation and customer-centric design is evident in Exadata X8M. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies, Oracle continues to push the boundaries of what is possible in data management, delivering exceptional performance and reliability to its customers.

Key Points

Here are the key points discussed in this article:

  1. Exadata X8M introduces the use of Rocky protocol for networking.
  2. Rocky is an extension of InfiniBand, offering the same RDMA optimizations.
  3. Ethernet has caught up with InfiniBand in terms of speed and capabilities.
  4. Exadata X8M leverages Rocky and Ethernet for low-latency, high-throughput communication.
  5. Exadata’s shared storage architecture allows for linear scalability.
  6. Smart Scan offloads data processing to the storage servers, enhancing performance.
  7. The integration of Rocky in Exadata X8M optimizes the Smart Scan capabilities.
  8. Exadata X8M seamlessly integrates into cloud data centers with prevalent Ethernet infrastructure.

With Exadata X8M, Oracle empowers its customers with a database machine that combines the best of networking technology and shared storage architecture. The future of data management is here, and Exadata X8M leads the way.