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Oracle-related questions for a refresh..

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As I travel around meeting with customers and account teams, one of the questions I get (When attempting to crack an underpen account, where Oracle is currently on either Netapp, HDS, IBM, or HP ) is a list of questions to ask the customer (when Oracle is driving the sale)

I've compiled a non-comprehensive list here... And the order of the questions does change.. Would like to hear from you all what you ask the customer in the first meeting..

1. What versions & releases of Oracle do they have ?

2. How large are their databases and their Oracle environment ?

3. Do they use ASM ?

4. How do they enable high-availability and scalability for Oracle ? Do they have RAC, or are they evaluating RAC ? Or did they have RAC and move off ?

5. What is their DR strategy for Oracle

6. Do they run Oracle EBS, Peoplesoft or other Oracle applications

7. Do they virtualize Oracle ? (Using VMware or Oracle OVM ) ?

8. Which operating system do they primarily run Oracle on ? If OEL, do they use the UEK ?

9. How do they do snaps and clones ?

10. What is their backup strategy

Thanks

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8 Krypton

Re: Oracle-related questions for a refresh..

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I have really enjoyed reading this discussion and believe there is an ongoing race between FC and Gigabit ethernet. At the moment I would give the edge towards gigabit ethernet and believe in the near future we will see 100 GbE ethernet in data centers. A very good question to ask customers could be, "Are you considering 40 for 100 Gigabit Ethernet in your datacenter?" Not a question that applies directly to storage but play an important role is discussing storage solutions but not only with storage! Faster ethernet is changing how we architect virtualization, databases, storage and online gaming! I've been through many distruptive waves of technology and I'm watching ethernet as another game changer.

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8 Krypton

Re: Oracle-related questions for a refresh..

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Saty:

You are missing the storage protocol-related questions. Not surprising. Most EMC guys are what we used to call "SAN bigots". I come from a different place: I was at NetApp for 8 years before EMC, and in that role was largely responsible for the initial technical work in the area of Oracle on NFS. Anyway, the relevant questions would be:

  • IP storage vs. SAN (obviously).
  • If IP storage then dNFS vs. iSCSI (which will really be rare, other than on Windows where it is fairly common in some shops).
  • If SAN then of course ASM vs. ext, NTFS, Veritas, etc. Lots of blind ends there.

Regards,

Jeff

8 Krypton

Re: Oracle-related questions for a refresh..

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Great point Jeff.. I think a lot of SEs may not be aware of the advantages (perceived or otherwise) of having NFS mounted directories for Oracle, or shared NFS (single-code base) for Oracle.. Now of course there's disadvantages of having a single Oracle home (code tree) for a RAC environment as well..

But from a IP vs SAN perspective, or ASM vs ext or 3rd party FS, these are areas we & the account SEs should be finding out more about as well..

Thanks

-Saty

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8 Krypton

Re: Oracle-related questions for a refresh..

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Saty:

I am not sure the advantages are that compelling any more. But at the time (late 90s and early 2000s), NFS was a killer feature, and when 10g shipped with dNFS it was officially over: NFS was mainstream.

The advantages (at the time) were:

  • Reduced port cost vs. FC (i.e., switches, HBAs, etc. were more expensive than equivalent ethernet gear). Is that still true? Barely. I would say in an era of 10 GbE / 16 Gb FC, we are about to get to a point where the wire really doesn't matter. And many switches allow you to install a port module with either ethernet or FC ports on it.
  • Snapshots were very popular with NetApp early on. The perception was that NetApp snaps were somehow better than ours. Hogwash. I had to laugh when NetApp finally came out with read / write snaps, as if that was something great. Our snaps were always read / write. Yes, NetApp's snaps have no write performance penalty. But they have (effectively) a big sequential read penalty, and so, bottom line, it's about even in my view. No advantage for NFS there either, now.
  • Perceived simplicity / ease of management of IP vs. FC. Again, is this really true now? I don't see any significant difference between administering an FC port vs. an ethernet port on a switch (say Cisco MDS) which allows either one.

Oracle has muddied the waters a bit by adding features to dNFS which ASM lacks. Arguably, ASM is falling behind in that area. dNFS clonedb is an utterly charming feature, for example, that ASM presently does not have.

Having said that, at least in an EMC-centric view, FC is way cooler. On FC you can do VPLEX, RecoverPoint, Timefinder, etc. On NFS, you have the old Celerra Replicator and Celerra Snapsure checkpoint stuff. Which is just not as cool as VPLEX or RecoverPoint. Not even close.

Eventually, once we get to software defined networking, the network protocol no longer matters. And we are very close to that point.

Regards,

Jeff

8 Krypton

Re: Oracle-related questions for a refresh..

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All great points!

I would like to recommend our Oracle Sales Playbook with a list of comprehensive questions to end users, application owners and CXOs from high level messages to technical details.

8 Krypton

Re: Oracle-related questions for a refresh..

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I have really enjoyed reading this discussion and believe there is an ongoing race between FC and Gigabit ethernet. At the moment I would give the edge towards gigabit ethernet and believe in the near future we will see 100 GbE ethernet in data centers. A very good question to ask customers could be, "Are you considering 40 for 100 Gigabit Ethernet in your datacenter?" Not a question that applies directly to storage but play an important role is discussing storage solutions but not only with storage! Faster ethernet is changing how we architect virtualization, databases, storage and online gaming! I've been through many distruptive waves of technology and I'm watching ethernet as another game changer.

8 Krypton

Re: Oracle-related questions for a refresh..

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Great idea Simon..

Let's collect these responses and add others..

Thanks

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Re: Oracle-related questions for a refresh..

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Hi Sam,

I agree with you but I think it does apply to storage, more and more I see startups trying to work on this space and they are starting to see un uptick on smaller accounts, yes SuperFast Ethernet is coming and sooner than we all expect...

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8 Krypton

Re: Oracle-related questions for a refresh..

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I would like to add some more questions here :-

1) What should be the difference in the time lag between the Primary and the DR ?

2) What is the maximum possible time that the downtime can be allowd ?

3) What will be the recovery stategy ? How frequently the DR test will be performed ?

Based on the input we can strategise the oracle solutions.


8 Krypton

Re: Oracle-related questions for a refresh..

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Saty,

Good set of questions to get the conversation going with customers and very similar to what I have been asking. How about posting this to the Oracle PreSales Minors site?

Yes folks, EMC is actively training its presales technical teams on the Oracle stack and on Oracle and EMC integration. The goal is for EMC to fully engage the Oracle owners and expand EMC's existing global Oracle Specialists team.

bg