Oracle's Multitenant Database 12c Released

Monday Jul 1st 2013 by Pedro Hernandez
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The 'c' may stand for cloud, but DBAs will find plenty of improvements for down-to-earth enterprise workloads.

Oracle Database 12c is now generally available, announced the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based business software maker today. Organizations that download it from the Oracle Technology Network can expect 12c to provide the database foundation for their enterprise cloud environments, according to Andrew Mendelsohn, senior vice president of Database Server Technologies for Oracle.

"The innovations in Oracle Database 12c were developed with our customers' cloud requirements very much in mind. The new multitenant architecture makes it easier for customers to consolidate their databases and securely manage many as one," stated Mendelsohn in a statement.

"It also offers customers other capabilities for cloud computing such as simplified provisioning, cloning and resource prioritization without resorting to major application changes," added Mendelsohn.

To erase any doubts about 12c's cloud-readiness, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison unambiguously laid out the technology's purpose during a recent fourth quarter fiscal 2013 earnings call. "12c stands for the cloud, it’s the first time a database converts multi-tenancy to the applications that run on the database," he said.

The company's approach makes it easier for independent software vendors (ISV) to cloudify their applications, argues Oracle. "By supporting multi-tenancy in the database tier, rather than the application tier, Oracle Multitenant makes all ISV applications that run on the Oracle Database ready for SaaS," stated the company.

Among the updates is an increase in size for the VARCHAR2 column to 32767, matching the size of VARCHAR2 variables in PL/SQL, and an increase in dynamic sampling levels to 11. Also new is data optimization, or 'heat map' tech, that allows DBAs to track down access bottlenecks.

Transaction guard extends automatic failover capabilities to certain types of transactions. However, the biggest advancement comes from an OS-inspired technology, according to Database Journal's David Fitzjarrell.

In his roundup of Oracle Database 12c's new features, Fitzjarrell wrote, "The really BIG news, however, was the revelation that Oracle Release 12c will offer pluggable databases. This places technology once only available at the operating system level (virtual partitions, logical partitions, containers depending on the UNIX vendor) in the database."

Pluggable databases can be a boon for database administration, added Fitzjarrell. "Multiple databases can then 'share' a master LGWR process, for example, but have their own dedicated LGWR process within the container. This offers the possibility of making database migrations from one server to another easier and consolidation of multiple databases to a single server less troublesome as resources should be easier to manage."

Oracle Database 12c will offer relief for businesses that are stymied by the cost, complexity and management hurdles DBAs face when moving databases, asserts IDC research vice president Carl Olofson. "It is in the nature of most enterprise database server software that those databases cannot be moved about or redeployed easily," he said in company remarks.

Oracle's latest release "offers an elegant solution" added Olofson that "enables deployment flexibility and eases the administration of multiple databases, but does so in a way that requires neither changes to applications nor a steep learning curve for DBAs."

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Database Journal and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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