The title of this blog entry contains a direct quote from Larry Ellison, Oracle CEO. See: www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WPOrdUGteE (50-54 seconds into the clip) and deserves investigation considering Oracle also claims its Exadata appliance provides “Extreme Performance” (see: www.oracle.com/us/products/database/exadata/index.html).
Offhand, one could ask to whom has Oracle been selling its database software? One might wonder what credit card, supply chain, etc., OLTP database systems have been doing the past 20 or 30 years!
Given Ellison's theatrics and hyperbole, it is worth a peruse of industry standard On Line Transaction Processing (OLTP) as well as Data Warehousing benchmark results to determine at least the relative “extreme performance” of Oracle's Exadata product
The accepted independent industry standard benchmark for OLTP database systems is the Transaction Processing Performance Council's TPC-C benchmark. TPC-C is one of two TPC's OLTP benchmarks. “TPC-C simulates a complete computing environment where a population of users executes transactions against a database. The benchmark is centered around the principal activities (transactions) of an order-entry environment. These transactions include entering and delivering orders, recording payments, checking the status of orders, and monitoring the level of stock at the warehouses. While the benchmark portrays the activity of a wholesale supplier, TPC-C is not limited to the activity of any particular business segment, but, rather represents any industry that must manage, sell, or distribute a product or service.” (see: http://tpc.org/tpcc/default.asp).
TPC-C results are categorized as follows:
Considering Oracle claims Exadata is characterized by “extreme performance”, one would expect to see Exadata results among the Top Ten Results by Performance. However, Oracle as no published TPC-C Exadata results. Looking at All Results, under Oracle, again, there are no Exadata results. The only Oracle or Sun-related TPC-C result in almost a decade is for a Sun SPARC Enterprise T5440 Server Cluster – no Exadata TPC-C results. In contrast, however, IBM has over 50 published benchmark results.
Sun Microsystems, sold to Oracle last year, rejected the applicability of TPC-C in representing real OLTP a decade ago. It championed the development of an alternative OLTP database benchmark, the TPC-E. “The TPC-E benchmark uses a database to model a brokerage firm with customers who generate transactions related to trades, account inquiries, and market research. The brokerage firm in turn interacts with financial markets to execute orders on behalf of the customers and updates relevant account information.
The benchmark is “scalable,” meaning that the number of customers defined for the brokerage firm can be varied to represent the workloads of different-size businesses. The benchmark defines the required mix of transactions the benchmark must maintain. The TPC-E metric is given in transactions per second (tps). It specifically refers to the number of Trade-Result transactions the server can sustain over a period of time.” (see: http://tpc.org/tpce/default.asp). Oracle has no published TPC-E Exadata results either. IBM has 9 results out of a total of 39 published TPC-E results.
There is no relative measure of Oracle's OLTP claims.
The independent TPC also provides the industry standard Data Warehousing benchmark, TPC-H. “The TPC Benchmark™H (TPC-H) is a decision support benchmark. It consists of a suite of business oriented ad-hoc queries and concurrent data modifications. The queries and the data populating the database have been chosen to have broad industry-wide relevance. This benchmark illustrates decision support systems that examine large volumes of data, execute queries with a high degree of complexity, and give answers to critical business questions.” (see: http://tpc.org/tpch/default.asp)
Since the TPC-H benchmark tests Data Warehousing characteristics, there are multiple database size results, ranging from 100GB to 30,000GB. (see: http://tpc.org/tpch/results/tpch_results.asp?orderby=hardware). Oracle has no published Exadata TPC-H results. The latest Oracle (Sun) result was published over a year ago, and that was for a single Sun Fire x4600.
Even looking at Oracle Benchmark Results (see: http://www.oracle.com/us/solutions/performance-scalability/benchmark-results-063877.html), there is no mention of Exadata Oracle Benchmark results in either Data Warehousing section or Online Transaction Processing sections. There are no Exadata results for Oracle SAP or Oracle Application Server benchmarks.
While not having published industry standard database benchmarks for Oracle's Exadata does not preclude this server and storage combination from having “extreme performance”, it is just that we have to take Ellison's word for it!
IBM’s POWER7-based 780 has the current TPC-C world’s record of
10,366,254 tpmC (see:
IBM holds six of the Top Ten positions. 
 Results current as of August 17, 2010. TPC, TPC Benchmark, TPC-C and tpmC are trademarks of the Transaction Processing Performance Council.