Delphix CEO: Why database virtualization matters

Creating a copy of a core database is typically a painful job. The CEO of Delphix, a database virtualization startup, claims it doesn't have to be that way

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Knorr: What are some of the differences in virtualizing an Oracle database versus a MySQL database?

Yueh: For one thing, a lot of high-end enterprise features require some degree of customization to support. In our last release of Delphix Enterprise, we started supporting Oracle [X/EX] data, Oracle RAC, Oracle Data Guard, the stand-by kind of database copies, so we can connect to all of those and create virtual copies of all of those. In the Microsoft SQL world, for instance, you won't present data files via the same protocols. You'll use iSCSI or you might use Fibre Channel. You probably won't use NFS, like you would in the Oracle world. There are some things that are protocol and some things that are kind of feature-specific. But that really becomes a lot of the kind of key differentiators as you roll out into the market to support all those features.

Knorr: I guess because you're talking about the data layer here, there is no additional licensing cost?

Yueh: Not for what we create, but Oracle will still charge you the same for virtual or physical. What we really do is take out hardware infrastructure costs and IT complexity. The software charge is still what Oracle charges everybody, so that's left alone.

Knorr: Right, and the customers need to make these duplicates anyway. They'd be paying that additional licensing fee anyway.

Yueh: They already have these servers sitting around that they're paying for. We just provision to them quickly and efficiently.

Knorr: Although use of your product might encourage them to do this more often, I suppose.

Yueh: Yeah. It's kind of like the VMware agility angle. VMware enables you to roll out more projects, create more virtual machines, more small isolated sandboxes for developers. The same thing happens with Delphix, so instead of having monolithic databases with 5 or 10 developers sharing them, now each developer gets their own virtual sandbox and they can work at their own pace. It's just basically part of that overall trend of taking really inflexible, rigid, hard-to-provision systems and turning them into software that happens faster, smaller, and in a more agile fashion.

Knorr: How exactly does that play out in the real world?

Yueh: One of the things that you'll want to do is to instantly create a virtual copy of your production environment. Another thing you might want to do, because your production environment keeps changing ... is refresh the data. In Delphix we allow you to refresh data in place. We've created this virtual copy, but we can swap it out with fresh data from production in just a couple of clicks.

Or let's say you're rolling out your BI environment or rolling out a new set of features for SAP. A lot of times when you're testing the code changes you're making, you'll change the makeup of the data in the data files, in the tables, as well as maybe make changes to schema. Then you find that -- well no, that really didn't work. I need to try something different.

Another thing that happens is not just the need to refresh, but also the need to roll back, to get data at an older point in time, because otherwise you just can't move forward in development. You've already changed the makeup with your new code, so our product allows you to roll back that data.

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