Oracle promises 100x faster queries with new in-memory option for databases

Ellison declared that this in-memory option means databases can process billions of rows and columns at "ungodly speeds."
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

SAN FRANCISCO -- CEO Larry Ellison must have been in a good mood while kicking off Oracle OpenWorld 2013 on Sunday evening.

Part of that is likely thanks to Team USA's back-to-back wins in some nail-biting final races during the ongoing America's Cup on the San Francisco Bay earlier in the day. Oracle is the primary sponsor for Team USA.

And despite being absent from Wednesday's conference call, Ellison was also likely eager to unveil some of the developments under wraps that were hinted at in the first quarter earnings report.

That would be the In-Memory Option for Oracle Database, intended to compete with in-memory options such as SAP's HANA flagship product, among other smaller offerings in enterprise IT.

Ellison didn't waste time with going into the specifics, so here's the rundown:

  • Touted to be 100 times faster queries with real-time analytics querying OTLP database or data warehouse batches
  • Two times increase in transaction processing rates
  • Transactions are promised to run faster on row formats while analytics do better on column formats
  • Supports inserting rows three to four times faster
  • Promised to be fully compatible, meaning no changes to SQL or existing applications
  • Cloud-ready without data migration
  • Scale-out architecture across servers to grow memory and CPUs
  • In-memory queries are set up in parallel form across servers to access local column data
  • Linked together via direct-to-wire Infiniband protocol speeds

That 100x speed-up is being delivered by what Ellison boasted as a "breakthrough," or a "dual format" for both row and column in-memory formats for the same data and table.

"Maintaining those indexes is expensive and slows down transaction processing. Let's get rid of them," Ellison remarked.

"This is pure in-memory columnar technology," Ellison continued, explaining that means no logging and very little overhead on data changes while the CPU core scans local in-memory columns.

Bottom line: Ellison declared that this in-memory option means databases can process billions of rows and columns at "ungodly speeds."

Demonstrating a real world result of what this kind of technology means, Ellison suggested that the in-memory option could display sales trends for footwear with a given retailer within seconds.

"Maintaining those indexes is expensive and slows down transaction processing. Let's get rid of them," Ellison remarked. "Let's throw all of those analytic indexes away and replace the indexes with in-memory column sort."

The hyperbole didn't end there as Ellison followed up with the introduction of Oracle's new M6-32 "Big Memory Machine," touted to be the fastest in-memory machine in the world.

Available immediately, the M6 holds double the cores of the M5 it replaces, hosting 32 terabytes of DRAM memory.

"This thing moves data very fast, processes data in-memory very fast," Ellison said plainly, asserting that the M6 has double the system bandwidth than the biggest IBM system on the planet, the P795. Ellison added that M6 costs less than a third of IBM's entry as well.

"I see the IBM partners not applauding back there," he quipped, pointing into the packed cavernous keynote hall at Moscone Center.

Oracle is also rolling out the M6-32 in-memory database and application system, described to be the fastest database machine worldwide with a three terabyte silicon network and integrated Exadata storage.

The last introduction of the evening was the Oracle Database Backup Logging Recovery Appliance.

Acknowledging the verbose moniker, Ellison joked, "Who was the genius who named this product? You're looking at him. That's why they pay me the big bucks."

He continued that the appliance was developed to address the problem that backup appliances typically aren't designed for databases, treating them as "just more files to copy."

Oracle's remedy is set up to ship the update and transactional logs to the backup appliance while the database is running normally. Thus, the changes should be in place while the backup was underway -- meaning that the customer doesn't lose any data.

Supporting restoration to virtually any point in time logged, the appliance can backup "thousands" of databases. There is also an option to backup databases directly to Oracle's public cloud, and appliances can also replicate to each other.

As for Team USA's speedy and (somewhat miraculous) comeback thus far, Ellison summed up, "We won a couple races. Nice job."

Oracle Team USA trails Emirates Team New Zealand by 8-5 in the finales. Nine first-place finishes are required to clinch the Cup.

OpenWorld 2013 will continue on Monday morning from San Francisco's Moscone Center with a keynote from Oracle president Mark Hurd.

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