My Brief Review of “Expert Oracle Exadata”
Posted by Tyler Muth on August 12, 2011
I purchased the Alpha version of Expert Oracle Exadata (amazon link) several months ago, written by Kerry Osborne, Tanel Poder and Randy Johnson. The print copy is still in pre-order (shipping very soon), but you can order the ebook from apress here. My primary role these days is talking about and working with Exadata in customer presentations, classes, and POVs. While I’m not in the same league as the real Exadata experts such as the authors, I’ve worked with Exadata enough over the past year or so to have a good sense about what you need to know.
This book is simply outstanding. The concepts are clear and concise, and ordered in a nice logical progression. The language has a very approachable, conversational tone. Most importantly, the book is filled with examples that serve to either reinforce or prove the concept of that section. In case you are concerned that there is a lot of marketing “fluff”, forget it. None of the authors work for Oracle and are completely free to speak their minds (so are Oracle employees, just emphasizing the point here). Their primary motivation is to educate and they clearly highlight some of the “issues” you can encounter in the real world with Exadata (yes, they exist).
Additionally, the comments from Kevin Closson that appear throughout the production release of the book as “Kevin Says” are worth the cost of the book alone. Kevin was one of the architects of Exadata and there are very few people (if any) that know more about Exadata from the high level concepts down to the code itself. He also tends to tell it like it is, keeping the facts paramount, and all other considerations secondary. On a related note, Kevin was a great mentor to me over the last year or so when I got thrown into the Exadata world. I had no clue about hardware (“what’s an HBA?”), nor much experience with data warehousing. I can’t thank him enough for his time and efforts.
In my opinion, this is by far the best source of information out there on Exadata. Actually, I usually reccomend that people watch Kevin’s webcast entitled “Oracle Exadata Storage Server Technical Deep Dive. Part I” (I also made an iPhone friendly version of it here with chapter markers) first, as it gives you a 1 hour intro to the concepts. After watching that, buy (and read) the book.
To the authors, thank you for thanking me! They added a nice thank you section to the “Unofficial Editors” in which I was mentioned by name. This was a very nice touch and I sincerely appreciate it. They helped me a whole lot more than I helped them.