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Steve Woody, Senior VP Ross Group Inc

Oracle Open World 2013 - Top Five Database Takeaways

Steve Woody, CommitDBA Director

December 15, 2014

Oracle Open World was held in San Francisco from September 22nd through the 26th with a reported 60,000 in attendance. There has been a significant evolution from Oracle 11g to 12c. Oracle 12c went Production in July 2013 and is currently at version 12.1. Although there were many sessions and presentations on various 12c components, these are my Top Five takeaways.

1. Oracle Database In-Memory Option

Every year Oracle announces something grand and flashy during the first Keynote Speaker event. This year it was the In-Memory Option (not yet available) presented by Larry Ellison. This option will enable column level in-memory data cache instead of row in-memory data cache. What is the difference? In-memory column caching significantly increases query performance specifically with data warehouse environments for data mining, analytics and business intelligence. The database stores data in both the traditional relational row format and the new column format while both formats remain consistent for data accuracy. However, what’s very interesting and appealing is that OLTP runs well with the column in-memory option therefor providing the ability to run Data Warehouse and OLTP in the same Oracle Instance and co-exist. This is highly irregular, unproductive and contention prohibitive in current database best practice configurations. However, the removal of previous traditional query indexes in OLTP databases reduces the transactional overhead cost for database Inserts and Updates and increases OLTP performance. In addition, applications do not have to be modified and retain full functionality. As hardware speeds grow exponentially each year and memory is constantly becoming cheaper, the ability for many organizations to implement this option increases significantly. Of course there is much more “under the hood” to understand and the In-Memory Option may not be a compatible or practical solution for many organizations but it does provide an interesting solution for firms with explosive data growth requiring best-possible performance. A release date has not been set yet but an announcement should come most likely early in 2014 and it will only be available with Enterprise Edition (EE).

2. Multitenant Database

Oracle, since its inception, was designed to have one database per Instance although there can be many schemas allocated. Due to this dedicated database architecture, many times disparate applications (schemas) were bottled into one Instance making it difficult to fine-tune for each specific application while generating server contention. In addition, some application environments are segregated by creating many Instances or dedicated databases and the DBA was able to configure and tune for each particular database, based on its characteristics. However this model worked only if implemented correctly and hardware was scalable and plentiful. In this configuration, large organizations could have hundreds or thousands of Oracle Instances and dedicated databases making administration a nightmare and cost prohibitive.

Today, with emerging high performance hardware, cheaper memory, virtualization and other technology gains, servers can handle much more in processing requirements than in the past. The result is that the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is diminishing via consolidation. With the 12c Oracle Multitenant Option (EE), any number Instances can now be combined to share resources. The mother ship database (container) is named the Container Database (CDB) while the satellite databases are referred to as Pluggable Database (PDB). Currently the limit for PDBs within a CDB is 252. The advantages of this new architecture are numerous and at a high level include: consolidated database management, extreme flexibility with hot-pluggable databases when appropriate, shared resources, simplified DBA maintenance, improved development/test environments, streamlined backups, and many more enhancements. The Multitenant option should be considered as viable business solution for those organizations that have the capacity to scale hardware and take advantage of Oracle consolidation.

3. Oracle Database in Azure Cloud?

Can this be true? After decades of posturing between Oracle and Microsoft on database supremacy between the Oracle database and SQL Server database, a new day has come. During one of the keynote sessions at Open World, Microsoft executive Brad Anderson made the announcement. Of course, Oracle has run on Windows servers for years out of necessity but why would Oracle partner with Microsoft on their Cloud platform? Both sides see this as an opportunity to grow revenue while Java applications can now be expanded to run on Azure. However, there are inevitable limitations in that the Oracle 12c database (non-clustered), OEM, Web Logic Server and Java Platform come included as part of the VM images. Time will tell if this unlikely arrangement will work to both parties satisfaction.

4. Oracle SuperCluster and Exadata

Oracle’s top two high performance and high capacity engineered systems are integrated with Oracle 12c, RAC and other components geared toward database consolidation with cutting edge integration between hardware, software and database. This architecture allows the installation of Development, Test and Production on the same system which can be siloed or isolated by various business units with each possibly requiring different Oracle software and hardware stacks. The upgraded Oracle SuperCluster is a beast with SPARC T5-8 (16 cores per processor with 1TB for each 30 x 2-Node RAC or 32T RAM) and provides the ultimate capacity for large SUN environments for consolidation. The Oracle Exadata X3 series while having less capacity than the SuperCluster, includes tightly integrated hardware and database infrastructure stacks (2-Node RAC, with 2T RAM each, two 6-core Intel Xeon processors) provides best-possible performance for many larger organizations. Both systems can be minimally sized to customer requirements and scaled up as needed.

5. Oracle 12c High Availability (HA) Improvements

Oracle database 12c has a myriad amount of new features, enhancements and architectural improvements. In addition, there are a number of high availability upgrades that provide for greater sustainment of enterprise-wide Oracle database environments. Improved HA components include Application Continuity, Global Data Services, Data Guard, RMAN, Flex ASM and others. For complete details, please see Open World Session Document #GEN8548 “Oracle Database 12 High Availability Key New Features

For additional fact gathering on Oracle Open World 2013, please contact us at 800.734.9304.

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