A number of audience members at the panel session brought up Exadata's sizable price tag, which can easily run into the millions of dollars once software license fees are added to the hardware.
It's important, however, for customers to "define what you mean by affordable," said panelist Sridhar Avantsa, associate practice director with systems integrator Rolta.
First, many Exadata sales so far are for quarter-rack systems, Avantsa said. Those currently list for $330,000 for the hardware.
Second, customers may find that they can condense many existing databases down to "a single source of truth" running on the Exadata box and even end up with excess capacity once that's done, allowing them to save on licensing and storage, he said.
Haval offered a measured response to the affordability question.
"Is Exadata expensive? Yes, there's no doubt that it is," he said. "But fit it to the purpose. Find out exactly how it fits, then build the business case."
That business case's success or failure is "65 percent sensitive to the storage," Haval said. It's crucial that customers take advantage of Exadata's storage features, particularly the hybrid columnar compression, according to Haval.
Panelists also discussed the Exadata hardware and mixed messages customers have received over whether components in older versions can be swapped for newer ones in order to maintain performance.
Overall, not much can be done to hold off the inevitable, Avantsa said. "Bottom line, any hardware, at the end of five years, it's a paperweight."
Collaborate is jointly sponsored by three independent Oracle user groups.
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com