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Ranko Mosic

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Oracle 12c In-Memory, Columnar Database & How It Relates to SAP Hana

All major relational database vendors are developing or already shipping in-memory, columnar databases.

All major relational database vendors are developing or already shipping  in-memory, columnar databases.

The next release of Oracle 12c - an in-memory, columnar database, will be available next year. It will feature simultaneous transaction-level updates to both  row and column stores i.e. data will be stored in both formats at the same time, in the same transaction. This is quite an improvement over SAP Hana's awfully clumsy delta merge process ( data changes in SAP Hana are first accumulated in delta store, then periodically merged into column store - process which locks target tables and is quite resource intensive ).

Another major announcement - the new M6-32 Oracle Database Machine ( available now ) offers single Solaris operating system image that can scale up to 32TB of DRAM - sufficient for in-memory storage of most of contemporary corporate databases. SAP Hana's is not able to transparently scale over 1TB DRAM single node limit ( if table is bigger than 1TB then it must be paritioned over multiple nodes, which all but nullifies in-memory speed gains since inter-node network communication is much slower than direct memory access; joins between tables on separate nodes will also suffer from same limitation ). M6-32 is ideally suited for in-memory databases since it provides very large, more or less directly accessible memory ( hybrid NUMA/SAN over silicon based Bixby switches ). M6-32 hardware, combined with the next release of Oracle 12c software is DBA's dream as it will effortlessly reduce severe performance problems Oracle RDBMS is experiencing today. No doubt companies will pile up even more data and queries to take advantage of new capabilities, but this is next generation and next level of data processing.

Oracle's ability to control complete hardware and software stack is a good example of effective synergy in action.  From what looked like peddling disjointed, expensive software and hardware ( read Exa* line of products ) to powerful, synchronized technological and marketing blitzkrieg, this is  Oracle's trademark last minute one-two punch that both fends off and leapfrogs competition.  We think that latest announcements from Oracle ( OOW 2013 ) will at least prevent Oracle customer base attrition and perhaps even increase Oracle RDBMS lead over competition in enterprise class market segment.

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Ranko Mosic, BScEng, is specializing in Big Data/Data Architecture consulting services ( database/data architecture, machine learning ). His clients are in finance, retail, telecommunications industries. Ranko is welcoming inquiries about his availability for consulting engagements and can be reached at 408-757-0053 or