Built on the features of Oracle Database 10g, Oracle Database 11g is designed to be effectively deployed on everything from small blade servers to large SMP servers and clusters of all sizes. It features automated management capabilities for easy, cost-effective operation, with the capability to manage various data types, from traditional business information to XML and 3D spatial information. Such features make Oracle Database 11g's a highly attractive choice for power transaction processing, data warehousing, and content management applications. This latest release extends Oracle's propriety database clustering, data centre automation, and workload management capabilities with secure, highly available and scalable grids of low-cost servers and storage. The company affirmed that Oracle Database 11g can help organizations take control of their enterprise information, gain better business insight, and quickly and confidently adapt to an increasingly changing competitive environment.
"Oracle Database 11g, built on 30 years of design experience, delivers the next generation of enterprise information management," said Andy Mendelsohn, senior vice president of Database Server Technologies at Oracle. "More than ever, [users and organizations] are facing the challenges of, rapid data growth, increased data integration, and data connectivity IT cost pressures. Oracle Database 10g pioneered grid computing, and more than half of Oracle customers have moved to that release. Oracle Database 11g delivers the key features our customers have asked for to accelerate broad adoption and growth of Oracle grids; representing real innovation, that addresses real challenges, as told to us by real customers."
Oracle Database 11g ships with advanced self-management and automation features to assist organizations in meeting service level agreements. For example, with organizations facing regular database and operating system software upgrades, and hardware and system changes, Oracle Database 11g comes with Oracle Real Application Testing, making it the first database to assist users in testing and managing changes to their IT environments quickly and in a controlled, cost effective approach.
Furthermore, the new system contains Oracle Data Guard which enables users and organizations to utilize their standby database to improve performance in their production environments as well as provide protection from system failures and site-wide disasters. Oracle Data Guard enables simultaneous read and recovery of a single standby database making it available for reporting, backup, testing and 'rolling' upgrades to production databases. By offloading workloads from production to a standby system, Oracle Data Guard can enhance the performance of production systems and provides a cost-effective disaster recovery solution.
One of the other key features of Oracle Database 11g is its enhanced information lifecycle management and storage management through its new data partitioning and compression capabilities. Oracle Database 11g automates many manual data partitioning operations and extends existing range, hash and list partitioning to include interval, reference and virtual column partitioning. Also, it provides a complete set of composite partitioning options, allowing storage management that is driven by business rules.
Building on its long-standing data compression features, Oracle Database 11g offers advanced data compression for both structured and unstructured data managed in transaction processing, data warehousing, and content management environments. Compression ratios of two to three times, or above for all data can be achieved with the new advanced compression capabilities in Oracle Database 11g. The new release also features "Oracle Total Recall," enabling administrators to query data in designated tables "as of" earlier times in the past. This offers an easy, practical way to add a time dimension to data for change tracking, auditing, and compliance.
Enhanced Self-Management, Automation and Application Development
The manageability features in Oracle Database 11g are designed to help organizations manage enterprise grids and deliver on their users' service level needs seamlessly. Oracle Database 11g introduces additional self-management and automation that enables users and organizations to reduce their system management costs, while increasing performance, scalability, availability and security of their database applications. New manageability tools in Oracle Database 11g include Automatic SQL and memory tuning, a new Partitioning Advisor which automatically advises administrators on how to partition tables and indexes in order to improve performance, and enhanced performance diagnostics for database clusters. In addition, Oracle Database 11g ships with a new Support Workbench which provides an easy-to-use interface that presents database health-related incidents to administrators along with information on how to quickly manage the resolution of incidents.
For developers, Oracle Database 11g offers a selection of development tools, and a streamlined application development process that takes full advantage of key Oracle Database 11g capabilities. These include new features such as Client Side Caching, Binary XML for faster application performance, XML processing, and the storing and retrieving of files. In addition, Oracle Database 11g also includes a new Java just-in-time Compiler to execute database Java procedures faster without the need for a third party compiler; native integration with Visual Studio 2005 for developing .NET applications on Oracle; Access migration tools with Oracle Application Express; and SQL Developer easy query building feature for fast coding of SQL and PL/SQL routines.
Maximum Data Availability and Oracle Fast Files
Oracle Database 11g enables administrators to meet their users' availability needs through new availability tools, including Oracle Flashback Transaction, which makes it easy to back out a transaction made in error, as well as any dependent transactions; Parallel Backup and Restore which helps improve the backup and restore performance of very large databases; and 'hot patching,' which improves system availability by allowing database patches to be applied without the need to shut databases down. Additionally, a new advisor - Data Recovery Advisor - helps administrators significantly reduce recovery downtime by automating problem investigation, intelligently determining recovery plan and handling multiple failure situations.
An attractive feature of Oracle Database 11g is Oracle Fast Files. With Oracle Fast Files, the system is capable of storing large objects (LOBs) such as images, large text objects, or advanced data types, including XML, medical imaging, and three-dimensional objects - within the database. Oracle Fast Files offers database applications performance fully comparable to file systems. By storing a wider range of enterprise information and retrieving it quickly and easily, enterprises can know more about their business and adapt more rapidly.
Enhanced and Faster XML
Oracle Database 11g includes significant performance enhancements to XML DB, a feature of Oracle database that enables users to natively store, and manipulate XML data. Support for binary XML has been added offering users a choice of XML storage options to match their specific application and performance requirements. XML DB also enables manipulation of XML data using industry standard interfaces with support for XQuery, Java Specification Requests (JSR)-170 and SQL/XML standards.
The new release features improved Oracle Transparent Data Encryption capabilities beyond column level encryption. Oracle Database 11g offers tablespace encryption that can be utilized to encrypt entire tables, indexes, and other data storage. Encryption is also provided for LOBs stored in the database.
Embedded OLAP Cubes for Data Warehousing
OLAP cubes are enhanced to behave as materialized views in the database. This allows developers to use industry standard SQL for data query, but still benefit from the high performance delivered by an OLAP cube. New Continuous Query Notification features allow applications to be immediately notified when important changes are made to database data without burdening the database with constant polling.
Connection Pooling and Query Result Caches
The performance and scalability features in Oracle Database 11g are designed to help organizations maintain a highly performant, scalable infrastructure to provide users' with the best quality of service. Oracle Database 11g further enhances Oracle's leading position in the industry in terms of performance and scalability with such new features as Query Result Caches which improves application performance and scalability by caching and reusing the results of often called database queries and functions in database and application tiers, and Database Resident Connection Pooling which improves the scalability of web-based systems by providing connection pooling for non-multi-threaded applications.
Analyst Views and Recommendations
According to the analyst firm, Gartner, due to the new and enhanced functionality and features of Oracle 11g, Oracle will likely witness increased revenue from sales of optional features and additional licenses as the size of the databases grows. Gartner expects between 15% and 20% of the Oracle customer base to begin using Oracle Database 11g during the initial 12 months. Due to this “higher-than-normal” early adoption rate, Gartner also expects many software vendors to certify Oracle Database 11g early, and accelerating in 2008.
For current Oracle Database users, it is possible to begin to evaluate Oracle Database 11g when it becomes generally available. However, Gartner suggested that evaluation should be performed if users and organisations are willing to accept some degree of risk. If the new features introduced in Oracle Database 11g are needed, then the risk vs. reward may be worthwhile for many of these features, said Gartner.
Gartner also suggested that the average Oracle customer should wait about 12 months before evaluation and testing, allowing the early adopters to "work out the kinks" associated with new releases. Prospective users, on the other hand, should consider Oracle Database 10g Release 2 for the initial implementation through mid-2008 prior to complete adoption of Oracle Database 11g.