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Comment Re:Incredible (Score 3, Interesting) 297

Oracle is expensive, but if it were really overpriced then you'd see lots of cheaper alternatives. For a lot of workloads, something like PostgreSQL will get the job done for a fraction of the price. When you really need something at the high end, however, Oracle or a small handful of other companies will charge you similar amounts. The real problem for a company like Oracle is the same as the problem for SGI. In the '90s, a database with a few GBs of data was something you needed Oracle (or similar) and a lot of hardware for. Now, a cheap commodity machine can keep the whole thing in RAM for read-only queries and can write to an SSD (or a few in RAID-1) for a few thousand dollars, including the time it takes someone to set it up. The number of companies that have data of a size where an Oracle DB will work is increasingly small: at the very high end, you have companies like Google and Facebook that can't use any off-the-shelf solution, and at the other you have companies that can get away with cheap commodity hardware and an open source RDBMS.

This is why companies like IBM and Oracle are focussing heavily on business applications and vertical integration. They may be expensive, but there's a whole class of medium sized enterprises for whom it's a lot cheaper to periodically give a huge pile of money to Oracle periodically than it is to have a large in-house IT staff.

Comment Re:impossible (Score 1) 297

Companies have no incentive to invest in infrastructure if most of the benefits will be reaped by other companies. If one company owns an entire campus, town, or island, then they are generally good at improving the infrastructure. If such an area is owned by a diverse set of companies and individuals, then good infrastructure is rarely an emergent phenomenon, unless some organisation is responsible for collecting money to pay for it and for providing it. This organisation is traditionally referred to as a government...

Comment Re:Price (Score 1) 172

Even for sequential reads, SSDs can be an improvement. My laptop's SSD can easily handle 200MB/s sequential reads, and you'd need more than one spinning disk to handle that. And a lot of things that seem like sequential reads at a high level turn out not to be. Netflix's streaming boxes, for example, sound like a poster child for sequential reads, but once you factor in the number of clients connected to each one, you end up with a large number of 1MB random reads, which means your IOPS numbers translate directly to throughput.

Spinning disks are still best where capacity is more important than access times. For example, hosting a lot of VMs where each one is typically accessing a small amount of live data (which can be cached in RAM or SSD) but has several GBs of inactive data.

Comment Re:SAS SSD (Score 2) 172

SAS doesn't really get you anything useful with an SSD. The extra chaining isn't that important, because it's easy to get enough SATA sockets to put one in each drive bay. There's no mSATA equivalent for denser storage, and if you really need the extra speed then why not go all the way and get something like FusionIO cards that hang directly off the PCIe bus?

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