Oracle has just announced the latest version of what they once called the Oracle Sun ZFS Storage Appliance.  The new name to replace that mouthful is “Oracle ZS3”.  As the storage world moves from a purely hardware-focused approach towards the current crop of “software-defined” solutions, Oracle is placing the emphasis on applications and data, coining the “Application Engineered Storage” moniker.

The new version loses none of the base capabilities of its predecessors, and adds performance, scalability and application integration to make a very compelling statement.  In this world of increasing virtualisation, application demands and high user expectations, Oracle has blended manageability, performance and automation into an efficient and expandable package.

Taking advantage of Oracle’s 11G and 12C database Hybrid Columnar Compression (HCC) capabilities, the ZS3 is more space-efficient for data than other storage systems, and also aids in the speed of queries.  Automatic Data Optimisation (ADO) also assesses data and determines which are the best candidates for higher compression ratios (eg for Archive), saving even more space, or are left uncompressed for faster access.

The ZS3 also uses a software facility called “Oracle Intelligent Storage Protocol” (OISP) to self-tune the storage by providing metadata hints from the database to the storage, dramatically reducing the tuning duties normally associated with other advanced storage systems.

Outside of pure database use, the ZS3 supports both file and block data, and the granular analytics allow administrators to easily drill down and evaluate – in real time – which VM or user is utilising storage resources.  Whether hosting dozens of virtual machines, databases or a mix of other data types, the ZS3 has the flexibility and performance to be the cornerstone of your storage environment.

Scaling well beyond 3 Petabytes, the Oracle ZS3 stacks up favourably against other major manufacturer’s, and should be on the eval list, especially for mixed workload environments or Oracle 11/12 database customers.

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