I am finally back from New York City, where I attended the official Oracle 11g launch.
The question that everyone is asking is, “When can I download it?”. The Linux release will be probably available towards the end of August, according to Oracle president Charles Phillips’s opening speech. 11g for other systems should arrive this quarter.
Now that availability of the download is out of the way, let’s focus on what 11g is all about.
The main message I got is that Oracle 11g is the consumer release. According to Mr. Phillips, what this means is that Oracle has listened to its clients and has worked in the areas that the consumers needed the most. The fact that Ari Kaplan, the president of the IOUG, was on stage during the launch speaks for itself. I see this as a major change in how Oracle is developing its database product, another proof that Oracle is serious about getting involved and listening to its user community.
As for what’s new in 11g, three major features come to mind:
- True Online Upgrades. Finally, patches can be applied online in a rolling upgrade fashion when running RAC (Real Application Clusters). This feature, as well as improvements in other online operations (such as building indexes), will help the growing 24/7 requirements for data availability.
- RAT — Real Application Testing. This feature allows you to capture all activity on a production system, and then replay it on a test system.This so important because it will make much more sense now to actually have a test system. Many Oracle shops do not have a test system because testing is so complex — you need to duplicate your front/back end and develop test procedures. With this extra work gone, there is no excuse not to have a test database. No other database product has this feature. Oracle will look more and more attractive to small enterprises, where the cost of having proper testing environments was too high.
- Real Time Read-Only Physical Standby. Although we have had this functionality since 10g, we have had to choose between “database in recovery mode” and “database in read-only mode”. At first, this feature doesn’t look all that important, but it will forever change how Oracle databases run — until now, the cost of running a standby was too high, compared to the actual benefits. It was like very high insurance rates. Not any more.This is far more than having an up-to-date reporting system. Today, not many shops use a standby database. This will change. It will start as a standby database for reporting, then the backups will be moved to the standby server (new features here as well), then it will become a scalability solution. You don’t need a RAC license for your 11g standby system, so it will be possible to have one “writer” system and as many “reading” systems as you wish. A data warehouse with a standby? This will no longer sound absurd.
You may wonder, from all the new features in 11g, why did I pick only three? And why these three? Let’s review them:
- Online upgrades in RAC — more reasons to run RAC, more customers will upgrade to RAC. More servers will run Oracle.
- RAT — more reasons to have a test system. More customers will have one now. More servers will run Oracle.
- Real Time read only Standby — more reasons to have a standby database. More servers will run Oracle.
These features will make customers already running Oracle servers want to run even more of them, without the need to convince them how good Oracle is. Expect a growing population of Oracle database servers across datacenters worldwide. Talk about boosting sales!