There does not seem to be anything different between previously getting just the additional Storage Servers vs. now buying a Storage Expansion Rack. I see this announcement as just Oracle making official or public the fact that you can get the Storage Servers without the compute nodes. As can be expected, the racks are available in the same configurations as the database machine itself, i.e. quarter, half, and full rack, and include IB switches and cables. Since these are the standard configurations, it is a bit curious as to why Oracle choose to nonetheless license the Storage Software separately. Everyone knows the Storage Software costs, and the configuration is fixed so why bother? Sure, you can negotiate discounts for the software costs (as everyone does), but why not just give the full starting price without asking me to go calculate it?
- Full rack: 18 Oracle Exadata Storage Servers with up to 6.75 TB of smart flash cache, 432 TB of raw disk storage and 216 CPU cores, will run you $750,000 a box.
- Half rack: 9 Exadata Storage Servers has 3.4 TB of smart flash cache, 216 TB of raw disk storage and 108 CPUs will run you $425,000.
- Quarter rack: system has 1.5 TB of flash cache, 96 TB of disk storage and 48 CPU cores costs $225,000.
Another point of note is that this is really for backup, storage archival, or low bandwidth processing as only the high capacity or HC disks (7.2K rpm, 2TB) are used in the current expansion racks. Sorry, no high performance (HP) or 15K rpm SAS disks (600GB) yet. Considering this is an expansion rack to augment storage and not necessarily for primary usage this is not to be totally unexpected though it would be nice to have that option also available in case you are in the situation of requiring additional HP storage. Yes, you still get the TB of Smart Flash Cache and the Storage Software but it's still not as fast when you need 15K rpm and true SAS. Maybe this might be a future standard offering as well with enough customer demand.
If you want to read more you can head over to the Oracle Exadata website which has the full details, a direct link to the PDF data sheet is here as well. But happy times are ahead. My prediction is that we will also see some sort of Exadata announcement at OpenWorld 2011 (where's my blogger approval Oracle?) perhaps newer Intel CPUs and faster/more storage and/or a MySQL machine.