One of the biggest performance bottlenecks in any application pipeline is the time it takes for the application to read and write data to a spinning disk-based database. Oracle is now trying to remove that bottleneck with the in-memory feature that is set to become part of the Oracle 12c database.
Oracle has been talking about adding in-memory capabilities to its database since OracleWorld in September 2013. At an event this week, the company once again was talking about the impact that in-memory will provide to its database and more importantly, to the applications that run on top of it.
Tim Shetler, Oracle vice president of product management, told Enterprise Apps Today that the in-memory database feature for the Oracle 12c database is set to be generally available in the next 60 days. The in-memory capability will be a licensed feature that users will need to pay for. Shetler noted that Oracle has not yet formally announced pricing for the in-memory feature.
What Oracle has announced is why and how the in-memory features will impact application performance. The key is the fact that with the in-memory feature , the database now stores data in both column and row formats. The bits for the columnar database are stored in memory, which eliminates the need for the on-disk database to store certain classes of index files.
Shetler explained that the overall impact is that the transactional piece of the database is accelerated, while there is still consistency between the column and row database formats.
One of the primary use-cases for the in-memory database is for analytics. Shetler said that for business analytics applications, traditionally organizations have made copies of the database in order to analyze the data. That has resulted in data being stale and not analyzed in real-time. With both column and row formats, business analytics applications can be run against the live database for a fresh data view.
Oracle is also improving its business suite of applications, including PeopleSoft and JD Edwards, to leverage the in-memory functionality. Though the performance gains vary, Shetler said that speedups are very significant.
Existing applications will also be able to benefit from the in-memory feature, though not as much as those that have been specifically optimized to use the technology. Oracle is now also building a partner program to help other software development organization include optimization for the Oracle 12 in-memory database.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Apps Today and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist