Oracle Exadata is the most expensive, over-engineered, and difficult-to-manage way to run Oracle database software.
First, a bit of history. Oracle enabled a database to span multiple servers in the 1990s. The next generation, branded Real Application Clusters (RAC), was marketed as an 80% reduction in hardware costs given an expensive Unix server could be replaced with interconnected x86 servers. Exadata expanded on this by adding memory, networking, and storage using HP gear in 2008. Quickly ditching HP in 2009, Oracle populated the frame with its own hardware after acquiring Sun. Finally, Oracle implemented Exadata as a cloud service in 2016.
The problem is Exadata runs RAC, which is an expensive extra-cost option that requires two or three times more Enterprise Database than single instances. RAC’s original value proposition is eroded insomuch as Oracle’s x86 hardware comes at a premium, the chips are high core-count (to inflate licensing), and closer attention must be paid to patching.
Oracle has always been its own biggest competitor. This is obvious when millions of dollars separate a simple database implementation from its byzantine big brother. As a cloud solution, Exadata requires the Extreme Performance subscription level in OCI. This is not to say Exadata does not have a use case; speeds and feeds continue to increase and customers are typically pleased with its performance.