Oracle OpenWorld 2012


At ESTI, we strive to be on top of the latest happenings in the IT world ensuring we provide the best services and solutions to our valued clients.  With a strategic focus on database technology, data integration, customized and tailored applications, and hardware solutions, Oracle has always been a key partner for us.  And there is no better place to know about the latest developments in Oracle technology than at Oracle OpenWorld.  Similar to previous years, the beautiful city of San Francisco was host to OpenWorld 2012.  With 50,000 attendees from 123 countries, over 1 million online attendees, and 3,750 speakers, OpenWorld2012 was the biggest gathering yet.

Figure 1: City of San Francisco

The conference was kicked off with a keynote speech by Oracle's leader: Larry Ellison.  In his keynote Mr. Ellison set the theme for OpenWorld 2012: Could Computing and Big Data.  He went on to make three major announcements about speed, cost savings, and accommodation of large-scale data.

  1. Introduction of Oracle Private Cloud, which is designed for clients who are nervous about putting their data in the public cloud.  Essentially, Oracle installs the same servers that it would use in the Public Cloud, but in your data centre, within your firewall.  Oracle will install, manage, maintain, and upgrade the hardware.  They will also install increased capacity, where you will only pay for what you use.
  1. Introduction of the multi-tenancy feature in the 12c database which allows you to create multiple pluggable databases within a container database (think of it as database virtualization) which allows for efficient use of hardware, and also provides enhanced security.  It makes administration tasks such as backup, restore, and patching simpler and quicker as they can be applied to many pluggable databases within a container database at once.
  1. New Exadata X3 system with 23 Terabytes of memory which, with compression, can store up to 220 TB of data in a single X3 RAC. This means that the entire database can run from memory without ever needing to access the disk drive.

OpenWorld 2012 keynote speeches were delivered by the leaders of some of the largest powerhouses in the industry including EMC, Intel and Fujitsu.

Noriyuki Toyoki, senior vice president at Fujitsu, announced that its next-generation server architecture optimized for Big Data, Project Athena, is up and running, promising dramatically increased performance by offloading the database number and crypto functions into hardware.  Athena will have up to 16 cores, with up to 512 GB per CPU.  When a four-core processor is installed, up to 2 terabytes of memory can be configured.

Figure 2: Fujitsu's Athena CPU

Besides the keynotes there were numerous conferences, demos, and lab sessions showcasing the latest and greatest features in various technologies.  Some of them are described below.

Oracle Database 12c

The centerpiece of OpenWorld 2012 was the Oracle 12c database.  Although there are very few details out there, and Oracle is tight-lipped when it comes to database 12c, we were able to gather the following set of (promised) features by going into different sessions.

Pluggable and Container based database

The radical new feature of the 12c database is the notion of pluggable and container databases. There can be multiple pluggable databases hosted under a single container database ' a feature known as multi-tenancy.  In the existing architecture each database's memory, processes, data files, and the core Oracle data dictionary (metadata) is tightly coupled with the application data dictionary.  In the 12c architecture, the container database (CDB) holds the system metadata, memory, and process management functionalities required for running multiple pluggable databases. The pluggable database only contains user application data and user specific data dictionaries.  Compared to the existing database architecture, the pluggable database uses 6 times less hardware resources and is 5 times more scalable.

Figure 3 Existing Database Architecture

Figure 4: 12c Database Architecture


Upgrade, Migration, Patching, Backup, and Restore

With the new architecture administration tasks such as upgrade, patching, and migration become simple and quick:

  • Apply the patch to the container database and all pluggable databases running under it will be patched up. It doesn't need to be applied to each database.
  • PDBs can be cloned under the same container and moved to a different container easily, so provisioning becomes effortless.  Think 'test' and 'development' database provisioning.
  • PDBs can be unplugged and moved to a different container database running on a different platform making redeployment and migration quick and simple.
  • Introduction of this new architecture means the exiting BACKUP, RESTORE and RECOVERY commands are also enhanced. It enables customers to efficiently backup or restore the complete CDB, including all PDBs, or just one or more PDBs, or even backup or restore one or more tablespaces from a PDB.

Other Features

  • 32K VARCHAR2 support at the database level. Previously it was limited to 4K.
  • The 12c database will have the Hadoop framework built-in. This means that setting up and maintaining separate Hadoop clusters is not necessary. It is more secure as data will not need to be shipped from the database to a Hadoop cluster. The map reduction functionalities can be accessed from both PL/SQL and Java.
  • As well as more fine-grained access control. For example, a role can be granted to a PL/SQL code unit. Table/object specific privileges will be granted to the role enabling the code unit to access the table/object as specified.
  • With 12c a sequence value can be used as a default value for a column.

Oracle GoldenGate

The following new fetaures of the latest 11gR2 realease of Oracle Goldengate were showcased:

  • The data change capture process is tightly integrated with the database allowing increase in performance and support for a greater array of database objects.
  • Advanced compression allows the capture and delivery of compressed objects within Oracle Database 11g and Oracle Exadata environments.
  • Unicode support allows Goldengate to capture data from databases using multi-byte/Unicode character sets.
  • Support for the Federal Information Protection Standard (FIPS) encryption algorithms enables secure data movement across systems and regions.
  • Enhanced Conflict Detection & Resolution, increases speed and simplifies the conflict detection and resolution process for Active-Active deployments.
  • Integrates with Enterprise Manager 12c allowing a standard, centralized location for administration and monitoring.

Oracle Solaris 11.1

The announced release of the Solaris 11.1 Operating System with the following key enhancements.

  • Allows the online resizing of the database SGA space thus minimizing downtime.
  • Improve Real Application Cluster performance.
  • Improve database startup and shutdown operation performance by 8 times.
  • Allows Solaris Zones to reside on shared storage such as iSCSI and fibre channels, and allows customers to easily move Solaris Zones between different systems.

With the plethora of sessions, exhibitions, speeches, and other events throughout the conference, Oracle OpenWorld was a truly fulfilling experience, both in terms of knowledge and entertainment.