Oracle?s labour of love, the Oracle 8 database, is already several years late and even now, six weeks before shipment, the company is wary of revealing details.
The database supplier agreed to disclose selected aspects of the new system today - but by word of mouth, with Oracle refusing to commit itself to the written word until the system is ready to ship.
Nick Gregory and Bob Barker, Oracle UK?s technical marketing manager and enterprise systems marketing manager, said: ?Version 8 concentrates on scaling up to enable very large databases (VLDB). Version 8 is capable of consuming the new power and managability of new hardware architectures like SMP and NUMA. The key features are the capability to handle more users and to store more data, tens of Terabytes in practice, 512Petabytes in theory.?
More extensive data partitioning means tables can be divided, taken offline for maintenance, and backed up at the level of partitioning. Dynamic parallel partitioning provides for better management and availability, they claim, and loading data should be easier and more flexible than previously, not limited to a specific load window. Server managed back-up and recovery reduces human intervention and there is a new facility to define an automatic back-up strategy.
Oracle 8 uses a new combination of old warehousing technologies - star schemas, bit-mapping, star join, star query and query optimiser - familiar stuff to companies like Sybase and Red Brick, but implemented in new way, claim Gregory and Barker.
?The partitioning enables the warehouse to hold more raw data than previously, and there is less aggregation and indexing.? Both of which are points in Oracle?s favour since it is summaries and aggregations that drive up the volumes and subsequent storage demands, which can be exponential and hugely expensive.
Oracle doesn?t go a bundle on establishing the lifecycle costs of warehousing, with the managers arguing it?s impossible to judge. ?It?s the equivalent of trying to establish the long term investment in desktop systems, it?s impossible.?
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