By: John Foley, Oracle Voice
CEOs know that raw speed brings business advantages. Blink-of-an-eye analytics and split-second transactions make companies more agile and better able to engage today’s on-the-go customers.
But how do companies accelerate those two vital functions—analytics and transactions? The answer is new database technology that takes advantage of computer system memory to execute faster than ever.
Databases are the nerve center of businesses—the place where data on customers, products, inventory, supply chains, and finance gets stored and managed. Accelerate database performance and the gains will be reflected in the business itself.
“Light bulbs are going off when we start thinking about what kind of apps we can write,” says Lyle Ekdahl, Senior VP and General Manager of Oracle’s JD Edwards. “We get to take it to the next level and start to solve problems that we couldn’t solve before.”
To do so, IT teams must contend with what I call Rule #1 of database management: The amount of data pouring into databases keeps growing and growing. Terabytes swell into petabytes, and petabytes into exabytes. Whether this is a problem or an opportunity is a matter of strategy and execution—and having the right IT infrastructure to not merely support the workload, but exploit it.
In-memory is the perfect solution. The basic idea is that the database does more of its work in system memory than on disk drives, eliminating all of those trips back and forth to disk. It’s like the difference between walking out your front door and driving down the street to get the newspaper (disk drive) or picking up the newspaper from the table in front of you (in-memory).
In-memory technology has been available for a while from a variety of vendors, primarily as a high performance solution for specific requirements. Oracle, for example, offers the Oracle TimesTen In-Memory Database and Oracle Exalytics In-Memory Machine.
Now, in-memory is about to jump the divide into the mainstream. Businesses of all sizes and across industries will soon be able to capitalize on the performance gains that have been enjoyed by early adopters.
On June 10, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison will introduce software that supercharges the performance of Oracle Databases by applying an in-memory column store format. The software is called Oracle Database In-Memory, and it will be made available as an option to the widely used Oracle Database.
You can register for Larry Ellison’s June 10 webcast here.
Oracle Database In-Memory will run on the same computer systems that companies use today with their Oracle Databases and support the business applications they currently use without modification. That means CIOs can leverage their existing IT infrastructures and investments to get the advantages of an in-memory database environment.
“Flip a switch and it just works faster,” Ellison said in September, when he previewed the forthcoming capabilities at Oracle OpenWorld 2013 in San Francisco.
Oracle Database In-Memory will boost query performance by orders of magnitude. Database queries are the foot soldiers of analytics and, by extension, of corporate decision making.
“Your results are instantaneous,” Ellison said. “You’re getting results at the speed of thought. The answers are coming back faster than you can come up with the questions.”
Oracle Database In-Memory will accelerate transactions, too. It does that through a dual-format approach that simultaneously organizes data in both rows, for optimal transaction performance, and columns, for high speed analytics. Juan Loaiza, Oracle Senior VP of Systems Technology, will delve into this unique architectural approach in a subsequent column here on Forbes.
Faster Decision Making
These new capabilities enable what has long been a goal for many organizations: the ability to act and react in real time. And faster decision-making means you can run the business better.
As a consumer, I’ve begun to appreciate how real-time responsiveness translates into a better customer experience. When I make an ATM withdrawal, I now get a text alert from the bank in seconds. And the last time my flight landed in New York, I got a welcome message from the airline as the plane touched down on the runway.
Here’s how one Oracle customer describes the challenge/opportunity: “Our business users are now facing customers whose expectations are set by an always-on, always-connected omni-channel world. The need for immediate answers is imperative in an increasingly impatient world. We now aspire to having all of the data at our fingertips, so our business users can develop higher quality insights and deliver more personalized experiences.”
Ultimately, real-time processes will reach into every nook and cranny of the business, as enterprise applications such as Oracle’s JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, and Siebel take advantage of the in-memory performance gains.