So, if I would wonder what is the purpose of this almost "hidden" feature called flash cache and were this came from (also see my post Oracle RDBMS 11gR2 – Flash Cache), now I know. I didn’t have the chance to follow Mr. Ellison’s launch event, but reading Alex Gorbatchev’s blog post on the Pythian web site Unveiling the OLTP Oracle Database Machine & Exadata v2 is enough explanation in the "why" and "how". Flash cache is one of the pillars that make the synergy with the Sun Exadata machine.
As Alex stated:
Exadata Storage Servers
Storage Servers are based on Sun Fire X4275. Again top of the shelf Intel Xeon 5500 Nehalem processors.
Capacity increased — SAS disks are 600 GB (+33%) and SATA disks are 2 TB which doubles what ODBM v1 offered. We all know that big disks are bad but that’s where Sun FlashWire technology comes into play with flash cache on the controllers (5+TB for the full ODBM).
This is what Ellison said about Flash cache:
“These are not Flash disks. Make no mistake — these are no Flash disks. This is a memory hierarchy made up of DRAM in our database servers and Flash in our storage servers with very sophisticated algorithms, not simple LRU — we know for doing a sequential scan, we don’t blow out the cache.”
I will be interested in what Larry has to say on his "traditional" Oracle Open World Thursday speech this year. Exadata on Sun will probably be "old news" on that date/day. No need for hidden secrets to be announced via big "X" banners. The topic should be good for a 15 minutes or so to fill his speech and I still keep thinking, that on that day, Larry at least will pull one big "fresh rabbit" out of his magical hat.
In the meantime: "Wow, 5TB of flash cache to play with…"