After months of forecasting its release, Oracle is out with database in-memory for its Database 12c. The company said the new capability will help organizations increase transactional performance and uncover insights in real-time.
The new offering was presented by CEO Larry Ellison Tuesday at Oracle's headquarters in Redwood Shores, California. Juan Loaiza, Oracle's senior vice president for Systems Technology, who participated in the launch event with Ellison, described the difference between database performance with and without in-memory as "like the difference between walking and flying in a plane."
For compatible Oracle Database versions, the in-memory feature is available as a fully integrated function, and the company described it as "the most industrial-strength offering in the industry."
Oracle: 100 to 1,000 Times Faster
The dual-format in-memory architecture is designed to combine row format and column format for delivery of efficient online transaction processing. Oracle's in-memory implementation can be used without limits to the size of the database, it supports data tiering, and it does not require special adaption of applications or the funneling of data to a separate database.
In performance tests, Oracle said, in-memory showed speedups of 100 to 1,000 times faster for application modules. The new capability is scheduled for general availability in July. Pricing has not yet been made public, although it is expected to be priced by processor.
This move is being seen by Oracle-watchers as an effort to keep its customers in the fold rather than have them flock to such competitors as SAP HANA. In fact, the company specifically posted a comparison chart between its database in-memory and SAP HANA, showing a half-dozen differences.
Comparison with HANA
On the business need of working "transparently with existing applications, BI [business intelligence], and reporting tools," for instance, the chart notes the Oracle is "100 percent compatible" with all Oracle and independent- vendor applications, as well as with custom-written ones, while SAP HANA is said to require "new applications or recoding of existing applications."
Oracle will now be able to offer additional products and services that are optimized for in-memory use. The company also plans to implement a partner program for independent software vendors that are optimizing their products and services around database in-memory.
"There is a radical uptick in performance when you move an application into memory," said Charles King, an analyst with industry research firm Pund-IT.
He said that, in addition to Oracle's key rivalry with SAP HANA, IBM also offers its own in-memory database solutions, notably BLU Accelerator for DB2. King said Oracle also offered some in-memory functions through its Exalytics solution.
"The bottom line," King told us, "is that in-memory database technology has become such an elemental part of the business technology landscape that it was important for Oracle to deliver a solution specifically branded as in-memory."