SAN FRANCISCO:Oracle launched an in-memory option for its Database 12c on Sunday, and rivals have been quick to round on the technology as long overdue and ignorant of the trend towards commodity hardware.
The in-memory option for Oracle Database 12c is designed to ramp up the speeds of data queries by 100 times, and according to Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison, will be available to current 12c users with just the flick of a switch, with no coding or data migration required. However, the firm was very quiet on pricing and availability for the new option.
SAP, which launched its HANA in-memory platform back in late 2011, took the opportunity to point out the advantages of its own offering over its rival’s.
“Welcome to the in-memory database party!” the firm quipped. “We are glad the DB leader joins the new category pioneered by SAP.”
Amit Sinha, senior vice president of database and technology marketing at SAP, elaborated on this. “We expected more simplicity in their architecture. SAP HANA has one columnar store for both transactions and analytics, Oracle has two and is hence bloated,” he told V3.
“While Oracle was catching up in renewing their database, SAP HANA matured from a database to a platform to perform application functions close to the database. So existing applications run on HANA just as Exadata without change, but we are ready for the next generation apps that will need these application management capabilities natively in database.”
However, Dennis Gaughan, managing vice president of research at analyst Gartner, agreed with Oracle president Mark Hurd’s point that the firm has had in-memory technology before the 12c addition and that it is not comparable to SAP HANA, adding that both firms’ in-memory approaches are valid.
“In-memory technology isn’t just one thing,” he told V3. “There are different aspects to it, databases, data grids, and so on. For SAP, it’s purely a column-based data store, whereas Oracle is bringing together row-based databases with the column store. Fundamentally it’s about how to move the processing into the memory.”
Gaughan pointed out that for Oracle E-Business Suite customers, HANA is not available as a standalone product, meaning they would be more likely to stay with Oracle if they wanted in-memory technology. Conversely, many SAP customers are running Oracle databases.
“For SAP customers, they’ll be wondering whether to move their database from Oracle to HANA, or look at the in-memory option from Oracle in the future,” he explained. “Oracle has a better chance of preserving its customers with the in-memory option.”
Other rivals have been quick to round on Oracle over the reliance on hardware of its in-memory offerings, which include its Exalytics appliance. The CTO of real-time analytics specialist MemSQL, Nikita Shamgunov, claims that Oracle’s focus on expensive engineered systems is against the industry trend of commodity hardware.
“If you look at Google and Facebook data centres you’ll find that everything is engineered around commodity hardware,” he said. “It applies even more so for in-memory technology. The reason is that in-memory stores eliminate I/O costs, which enables incredible performance on commodity servers where DRAM is just as fast.
"With technologies like Amazon Web Services (AWS), as well as private cloud offerings from VMware and OpenStack, the world is moving towards elastic computing. Just like mainframes, appliances don’t fit in the new world where customers think in terms of nodes in data centres, availability zones, and geographically distributed storage and compute. The new world is being built on distributed systems.”
SQL database provider Clustrix supported this view. Chief executive Robin Purohit noted: “The expensive hardware tricks we heard about again from Oracle are really only about extending the life of its scale-up database architecture for its top customers. Over 20 years of engineering have gone into optimisations for SMP [symmetric multi-processing] architectures with local memory so it makes sense for some to throw hardware and money at the problem.
"But it is clear by now that distributed scale-out databases are the right answer for any new hyper-scale data-rich application.”
While the criticisms from Oracle’s rivals are predictable, they raise fair points around Oracle’s reliance on hardware appliances as many enterprise customers look to divulge themselves of hardware responsibilities. Although according to Hurd’s numbers, the firm is seeing huge returns from its engineered systems at present, meaning it is unlikely to change tack any time soon.
J1043+2408 was observed for more than 10 years, and its radio light curve exhibited a periodic signal repeating in about 563 days
Success of Unity's test flight means Virgin Galactic is now close to taking its first paying tourist into space
V3 puts the pro-level football GPS tracker through its paces, and asks if it's more than a gimmick
Finding refutes many earlier studies that suggest that galaxies don't have much dark matter at the time of their birth