Oracle Announces New Software for Database Appliance

Managing high availability database environments can be time-consuming and costly. To simplify the management of database environments, Oracle has introduced the latest release of Appliance Manager software for Oracle Database Appliance, a complete engineered system based on Intel Xeon processors. The integrated platform features support for the latest version of Oracle Database 12c, allowing organizations to benefit from major Oracle Database 12c features such as in-memory and multitenancy. As a result, the platform is capable of much more,  according to Sohan DeMel, vice president, product strategy and business development, Oracle.

With this update, Oracle has built in database specific IP with the notion of a "dev/test appliance," said DeMel. Oracle has found that customers use five, six, or as many as seven times as many systems for their test and development functions because there are so many different aspects to testing – such as integration testing, user acceptance testing, and stress testing. Depending on the mission-criticality of the deployment, testing and creation of test environments with representative workloads can cause a significant burden in terms of time and expense on IT, DeMel said.

The new Appliance Manager software provides support for rapid snapshots of both databases and virtual machines (VMs), allowing customers to more quickly create and provision full-stack development and test environments, resulting in higher quality applications and faster time to market. Appliance Manager also uses disk space efficiently by implementing snapshots using copy-on-write technology, where only the changes consume storage space.

While the dev/testing capability is not new to the market, DeMel points out that what is different about the Database Appliance approach to dev/test is that Oracle has essentially commoditized this capability and is providing it as a core platform feature and not something that it is up-selling and charging customers more for. The objective with the Database Appliance is to drive a broader market adoption and enable more customers to adopt Oracle Database.

Continuing Oracle's Engineered Systems Approach for Different Requirements

The innovations in the Oracle Database Appliance are part of Oracle's larger approach to offer engineered systems geared for a range of customers needs, said DeMel.

The Database Appliance is aimed at the broad market, including green-field accounts that don’t have Oracle Database. The goal is to drive simplicity and cost reduction and make it easier for customers to consume Oracle Database technology. Similarly, the Exadata Database Machine for traditional relational data starts with an attractively priced eighth-rack model to make it easy to get started, and expands to multiple racks. In addition the Big Data Appliance is aggressively priced so a customer can search for their needle in a haystack with unstructured data that is typically stored in a Hadoop environment and apply the MapReduce functions to get the most value from the data, said DeMel.

Beyond those, there is Big Data SQL that sits on top of both the relational and unstructured repositories, and can provide a single interface. This is directional for Oracle, said DeMel.  

It is important to be able to query data sources in a standard, consistent way. “Hadoop is great, but Hadoop in and of itself is not good enough,” he said. Customers need NoSQL data stores, relational data stores, and they need to be able to aggregate data across all these different types of data stores, he said. Big Data SQL is Oracle's answer, providing a solution enabling result sets from Hadoop, NoSQL, and relational databases to be joined and allowing customers can have a single unified interface to all their data sources.

Purpose-Built and Converged-System Approaches

Beyond Oracle’s purpose-built approach, with for example Exadata, a purpose-built database machine, Exalytics, a purpose-built analytics machine, and Exalogic, a purpose-built middleware machine, Oracle also supports a more converged-system approach with general-purpose appliances, including the Virtual Compute Appliance, and SuperCluster. With the totality of engineered systems options, “Customers get to pick and choose and we don’t force them into one format,” said DeMel.