Oracle Database 11g announced

12 July, 2007
By Chris Talbot

Oracle has announced the next version of Oracle Database. The upcoming Oracle Database 11g was developed with the idea of meeting the new requirement of data and database management while also making a further push on the adoption of grid computing.

The newest version of Oracle Database contains more than 400 new features, with some of the most important revolving around the growth of grid computing, addressing needs of different types of data (all of which is becoming more complex) and increased efficiency, said Charles Phillips, president of Oracle.

"It's also the highest quality release we've ever done," Phillips said at the official unveiling in New York City.

Oracle Database 11g is backed by 15 million test hours and 36,000 person-months of development, much of which was based on customer feedback and requests from Oracle Database 10g. Over the last few years, Oracle Database has become cheaper, faster and easier to install, and it's also been developed for Linux environments, Phillips said.

Additionally, the company has had a greater focus on value-added distributors, which have gone to Oracle with interest in carrying the product, he said.

"This is going well. We have a big business here, and we're very happy to be working with these new partners," Phillips said.

With the development of Oracle Database 11g, there were several key challenges that Oracle was hearing about from its customers, he explained. The goal was to address those challenges in the new edition of the database platform. While Oracle Database 10g was all about getting grid computing out there and getting businesses to adopt it, 11g focuses more on the continuing growth of grid computing, as well as addressing the needs of an ever-changing data environment.

Information needs are changing, Phillips said. Data needs are becoming more complex, and businesses need to take different types of data into account. For instance, Oracle Database 11g supports RFID tags, the first time the platform has supposed them.

Additionally, businesses need to search and correlate images in the database, which 11g is also capable of doing. Customers also need to have more relationships across their data, Phillips said.

"There are always things that are going to be changing," he said.

The ever-changing and increasingly-complex data also comes with the nightmare of more and more people having access to that data. Although data used to be contained within the firewall, it now has to be accessible to customers, Phillips said. Additionally, that data has to be accuracy and as up to date as possible. Accuracy has to be ensured constantly instead of just once a month, he said.

"Security and compliance issues are much larger than people recognize," Phillips said, adding that there needs to be a way to separate roles in the database so that only those who need access to information can get access to it.

At the same time, businesses are struggling with skyrocketing storage costs. Oracle Database 11g will offer greater ROI at the same time as it's using its new advanced compression technologies to reduce the amount of storage needed for data. In fact, the advanced compression mixed with the new partitioning tools could significantly reduce the amount of storage a business needs (possibly one-fifth or even less of what it's using now), said Andy Mendelsohn, senior vice president of database server technologies at Oracle.

"In general, what we're seeing is the amount of storage underneath Database is tripling every couple of years. The cost of this is exploding," Mendelsohn said. Oracle Database 11g will not only meet new database requirements, but it will also help to contain some of those costs.

After all, cost of the storage necessary for data is second only to rate of change in terms of top of mind concerns, Phillips said.

"Change is constant, but it's also increasing," he said.

Another key feature in Oracle Database 11g is the ability to do online upgrades and patches without taking down the database, Phillips said.

"That is a breakthrough. No one else does that," he said.

Oracle Database 11g was developed to help businesses take control of their enterprise information, gain better business insight and quickly adapt to an increasingly-changing competitive environment. The new release extends Oracle's database clustering, data center automation and workload management capabilities.

"These are features that customers have been asking for -- in some cases, demanding," said Ari Kaplan, president of the Independent Oracle Users Group.

According to Kaplan, 35 per cent of the Independent Oracle Users Group's members plan to upgrade to Oracle Database 11g within the first year after release, which he described as "tremendous."

"There's a lot of functionality that customers are looking for in the immediate term to implement in their environments," said Kaplan, who said his favorite feature in the new version of Oracle Database is the audit vault, which was designed to help businesses deal with all of the compliance regulations.

"There's a lot of technology in this product. It's been customer-driven, but if I had to put one overall theme on this release, it's all about growing the grid," said Chuck Rozwat, executive vice president of server technologies at Oracle.

Oracle Database 11g will start shipping in August.

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