Oracle has just released what it is calling middleware in a box, which it unveiled at the Oracle Open World in San Francisco. Known more precisely as the Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud, it is a combination of software, servers, storage and networking that acts as a middleware engine in order to run Java and other applications.

“Exalogic is the only middleware machine on the market and is tuned for extreme middleware performance,” said Rick Schultz, vice president of product marketing at Oracle.

Let's Get Technical

The hardware side consists of up to 30 64-bit Intel multi-core processor-based servers, an InfiniBand-based I/O fabric (running at 40 Gb/sec), 40 TB of SAN disk, 1 TB of solid state drives (SSD) and 3 TB of memory.

But it’s the core middleware stack that makes it tick -- Oracle WebLogic Server, Coherence software for distributed Java caching, Oracle JRockit and HotSpot middleware for the fastest Java Virtual Machines (VMs), Java middleware, Exalogic software, Virtual Machines (VMs) and a choice of Solaris or Linux OSes. Oracle calls its Coherence software the secret sauce that brings it all together. For example, it synchs the memory of all 30 servers to create the illusion of one virtual pool.

Mike Lehmann, senior director of product management for Oracle Fusion Middleware went into more detail about Exalogic’s high-performance inter-process communications. “We tuned WebLogic and JRockit for InfiniBand to create larger message sizes, parallel communications and latency reduction,” said Lehmann.

Oracle developers got rid of buffer copies and designed Exalogic to run with packets that are 16 times larger. Throughput has also been raised by three times compared to Ethernet based networks and latency reduced by 10 times (application latency is now down to 1.2 microseconds).

Tough Enough for Facebook

Take the case of social networking sites such as Facebook. Hosted on this box, performance jumps by 12 times over traditional approaches. It is capable of processing over 1 million HTTP requests per second. All the Facebook Web traffic currently generated by hundreds of millions of users worldwide can be supported on two full Exalogic racks. Alternatively, messaging apps using the system could transmit 1.8 million messages per second -- an increase of about 4.5 times.

The Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud has been tailored to run applications such as Oracle 11g, Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC), Oracle E-Business Suite, Siebel CRM, PeopleSoft Enterprise and JD Edwards.

“The Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud is hardware and software engineered to work together,” said Schultz. “It offers the faster Java performance available.”

Read more: Oracle Introduces Exalogic Elastic Cloud, Outlines Cloud Strategy