July 2011 UPDATE

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Trends and Applications

Given all of the recent discussion around big data, NoSQL and NewSQL, this is a good opportunity to visit a topic I believe will be (or should be) forefront in our minds for the next several years - high velocity transactional systems. Let's start with a description of the problem. High velocity transactional applications have input streams that can reach millions of database operations per second under load. To complicate the problem, many of these systems simply cannot tolerate data inconsistencies.

There is no doubt that virtualization is radically changing the shape of IT infrastructure, transforming the way applications are deployed and services delivered. Databases are among the last of the tier 1 applications to be hosted on virtual servers, but the past year has seen a huge wave of increase for production Oracle, SQL Server and other databases on VMware platforms. For all the benefits of virtualization, including cost-effectiveness, there are some impacts on the IT staff involved. Unfortunately for the DBAs virtualization often means losing control and visibility of their systems, which can ultimately hinder their ability to deliver database-oriented business solutions. While in the past DBAs had perfect visibility to the physical servers hosting the databases, the virtualization layers and the tools to manage them are typically out of bounds to them. While all the excitement of late has centered on VMware and other virtual machine systems, the DBAs have a valid reason for skepticism.

The big data playing field grew larger with the formation of Hortonworks and HPCC Systems. Hortonworks is a new company consisting of key architects and core contributors to the Apache Hadoop technology pioneered by Yahoo. In addition, HPCC Systems, which has been launched by LexisNexis Risk Solutions, aims to offer a high performance computing cluster technology as an alternative to Hadoop.

Sybase, an SAP company, has announced the general availability of Sybase IQ 15.3, which aims to help enterprise IT departments overcome the scalability limitations of many data warehouse approaches. By implementing a business analytics information platform that allows sharing of computing and data resources through the new Sybase IQ PlexQ technology, the company says enterprises can break down user and information silos to increase analytics adoption throughout their entire organization. There is a lot of talk about big data, but how to manage it and analyze it is only half the problem, observes David Jonker, senior product marketing manager of Sybase IQ. "The other half is how do you make it more pervasive throughout the enterprise and from our perspective that is where a lot of the existing data warehousing solutions fall down."

Oracle has introduced the Oracle Exadata Storage Expansion Rack to offer customers a cost-effective way to add storage to an Oracle Exadata Database Machine. "There are customers, earlier Exadata Database Machine customers, that have now started to fill up the disks that they have on the Database Machine and they are starting to look for ways to expand their storage capacity, and so this is going to be really welcome for them," says Tim Shetler, vice president of Product Management, Oracle.