5 Years of Delphix

September 22nd, 2015

Wow – 5 years have flown by. Five years ago I joined Delphix and five years ago Delphix began the virtual data industry. Like all successful technologies many other vendors have come into the domain.  Delphix for me is amazing compared to other virtual data solutions. Delphix is easy, fast and powerful. Check out this video of linking to a RAC database and provisioning a thin clone RAC database. How much work would it take to do the same on technologies? Can one even sync and provision from RAC on other technologies? Its the only Data as a Service thin cloning solution that you can download and try  (put “express” as your title form and I’ll send you the free version of Delphix instead of the 30 day demo)

Delphix is doing powerful things that others might never do. Delphix is the only one (AFAIK) to share not only data blocks on disk, but also in memory, meaning that if I have 10 virtual databases of the same 300GB database and 300GB  of memory, then all the data will be cached for all the virtual databases – its’ like 3 TB of memory in 300 GB of RAM. On top of that, Delphix compresses memory as well with 1/3 compression meaning that we can cache that 300 GB database in around 100 GB of memory, so you can get those 3TB  of memory in 100 GB of RAM !! We have lots of back end innovation that no one else has and it comes from the architects and creators of RMAN, ZFS, DTrace, flash back database, active dataguard who we have all hired. ( Not to mention half a dozen Oaktable members and numerous Oracle Aces).

Other technologies are limited to saving some storage and doing backups.

Delphix power is accelerating application development. What Delphix has that others  don’t:

  • Self Service for developers.
    • Rollback – recover a virtual database to any point in time
    • Refresh – refresh to most recent source database data
    • Bookmark – mark data versions. Bookmarks can be shared with other developers
    • Branch – branch an existing data version or booked mark data version to  give QA specific versions/schemas environment in minutes
    • Synchronize – refresh, rollback, branch multiple data sources together, for example the Oracle installation, the application stack and the database can all be refreshed, book marked or rolled back together, or even more powerful multiple databases can be tracked together for those applications that depend on more than one database.
  • Cloud enabled –  Delphix runs in AWS and we have partnerships VMware vCloud, IBM cloud and Dell cloud
  • Download and try – wow, who wants a technology that requires sales guys and consultants in order to try it? Not me! With Delphix you can download and try  and even run it for free   (Hint – Put “Express” as your title on the Download and try form and I’ll send you the free version of Delphix instead of the 30 day demo)
  • All major database: Oracle, SQL Server, Postgres, Sybase, DB2, MySQL etc
  • Supports any data  – application stacks, EBS stack, SAP stack etc
  • Source syncing – allowing any point in time virtual database versions
  • Open Stack –  software solution independent of specialized hardware
  • Continuous Integration – Delphix ability to provision from any point in time and branch virtual database from virtual database is about the only way to do continuos integration when  continuous integration involves a large database
  • Five years track record – other solutions have few customers of any size using their solutions. Delphix has a 100 of the Fortune 500 heavily using Delphix as well as many more in the Fortune 2000
  • Best support in the industry I’ve ever seen.  Delphix has an amazing team that has gotten accolade after accolade not to mention easy access to the engineers who built the system. I worked a Oracle support for years and was a customer of Oracle at time as well trying to use Oracle and know how challenging support can be. I also know that it’s almost impossible to get support on new technologies that are not central to a company. Our data virtualization is our company and our company is the architects and leaders in the industry who built all the underlying technologies used to implement data virtualization.


With Oracle EM Snap Clone, you have to set up a test master yourself. The default with Oracle is that the test master is a copy of the source database that a DBA makes manually,  and in that case you can’t get a copy of tomorrows source database unless you take a whole new copy. To get around this probem you can setup a dataguard which runs another $47,500K per core for the dataguard instance  not to mention getting the cloud management pack $5,000/core , data lifecycle management pack $12,000 /core, masking pack $11,500/core , plus you  have to get specialized hardware being either EMC Symmetrix, Netapp or ZFS appliance.

Delphix is cheaper than the required Oracle Snap Clone packs and Delphix doesn’t need dataguard as we sync directly with the source databases (or standby).  Delphix runs on any storage. No limitations. No manual work. All automated, synchronized and optimized. The price of Delphix vs Oracle Snap Clone doesn’t even matter as numerous of Delphix customers have Unlimited License Agreement (ULA ) that cover Snap Clone and they still buy Delphix. Why? Because Delphix works. It’s automated, easy and addresses the top industry concerns which are

  • providing functionality faster
  • providing better functionality
  • providing higher quality functionality with less bugs
  • doing it all securely

Self Service:

Competitors say you can give developers access to to them, but their tools are DBA or storage admin tools, not tools for developers.

Delphix has a safe, secure and easy developer specific interface that allows them to bookmark, branch, refresh, rollback their virtual databases as well as restrict what they can do and access. The developer interface, called Jetstream, also has cool things like allowing developers to make a data version and share it with another developer with bookmarking and branching.

Source Syncing

The biggest flaw with some competitors, and it’s a huge flaw, is that they can’t sync with the source database. It only works once the DBA manually copies a clone of the source onto the EMC storage, Netapp or ZFS storage at a single point in time. There is no time flow. No way to use the data for backup and recovery at various points in time.  To improve the other solutions  requires the DBA to set  up dataguard for Oracle for each source and have the data guard datafile stored on the thin clone storage. From there the DBA has to manage taking snapshots, collecting archive logs, purging old data and keeping track of which snapshots are used by what thin clones.

Also  the competitors have no automated time flow on the virtual databases(VDB). No refresh, rollback, tagging or branching of VDBs. Oracle can take snapshots of virtual databases but they have to be manually run and don’t have point in time recovery. With Delphix, out of the box virtual databases can be recovered down to the second to any point in time over the last 2 weeks.


Branching is power. On Delphix one can make a virtual database from a virtual database. This is really cool. For example if QA person who finds a bug and logs it yet development can’t reproduce it then often the bug languishes or the developer has to come over and use the QA person’s system and the QA person has to wait. Now with branching, the QA person can just bookmark the problem data set and the developer can branch off a thin clone of that data set in minutes and reproduce the problem without every interrupting the QA person and without any waiting. Branching has many powerful uses. Branching brings the equivalent of code source control to data. With Delphix it’s now data control!


The future of Delphix is exciting. I’m loving all the DevOps and Continuous Integration work being done with Delphix from integration with Ansible, Chef and Puppet to providing data containers to Docker.



photo by Sherri Lynn Wood


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  2. | #1

    Kyle, this is a helpful article for me. I am in the process of selling an expansion of our use of Delphix to my own management and I’m thinking about how to explain it. I think of it in terms of fast physical clones. You can make a physical clone of a 6 terabyte production database in minutes. But your article does a good job talking about branching. We have used that a lot. Take your clone of production, apply a new release – table and package changes, and then make a clone of that for testing. There are lots of ways to use it. The challenge is to help my management understand how this differs from other tools and the value of it to our company. Your article does a good job putting these ideas into words. And, congrats on 5 years!

  3. khailey
    | #2

    HI Bobby,

    Thanks for your comments. Yes, it can be difficult for management to understand the power of Delphix and the differences with other technologies. The best way is to hear the impact of one verses the other. Every Delphix customer has file system snapshot technology be they bought Delphix and after buying Delphix they have seen a 20% – 80% increase in development productivity. For me analogies help. For example the internet has was around for over a decade before web browsers came out but before web browsers came out the only people that used the web were academics, typically people at university or labs. Once the web browser came out everyone used it. Similarly, file system snapshots have been around for almost 20 years, but it wasn’t until Delphix, that “thin cloning” became common. Another analogy is Blockbuster vs Netflix. Netflix eliminated the bottleneck around limited copies available Blockbuster and having to drive to Blockbuster only to be not be able to get the movie one wanted. With Netflix there was no driving and movies were always available and now with streaming movies on demand it’s even easier. Delphix is like streaming data on demand and as many copies as you want :)

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