October 01, 2012, 4:32 PM — Oracle on Monday gave attendees of the OpenWorld conference in San Francisco a deeper look at its new 12c database and Exadata X3 machine, which were initially announced Sunday by CEO Larry Ellison .
The key feature of 12c, which is set for release sometime next year, is multitenancy, which enables users, if they desire, to create multiple "pluggable" databases that reside within a single database container, senior vice president Andy Mendelsohn said during a keynote address.
This constitutes "a fundamental re-architecture of the database," Mendelsohn added. "Now if I'm an administrator, I have one database overall to administer."
The pluggable database concept is "sort of like a Swiss Army knife," giving DBAs a flexible tool to run their environments, he said.
Database 12c also makes much more efficient use of hardware resources, saving companies money, Mendelsohn said.
For example, it incorporates a "heat map" feature that tracks how frequently different chunks of data are used, allowing customers to archive rarely accessed information on lower-cost mediums.
Database upgrades and patches are made simpler than in the past thanks to the pluggable database concept, Mendelsohn said. "When you [patch] that one container database, you effectively patch all of them."
Backup and recovery efforts benefit as well, allowing administrators to back up the system as one unit but recover at the pluggable database level.
Pluggable databases are also ideal for creating development and test environments, and are "perfect" for SaaS (software as a service) applications since they keep each customer's data private, Mendelsohn said.
"Each one of these pluggable databases is an entity that stands alone. It has all its own metadata and private data files," and as a result can be moved easily from one database system to another, Mendelsohn added in a follow-up session.
One key question Mendelsohn left unanswered was whether the multitenancy features will mean changes to Oracle's licensing model for the database; currently customers pay according to the number of processors the software runs on.
Prior to Mendelsohn's appearance, Oracle senior vice president Juan Loaiza took the stage to provide more details of the next-generation Exadata X3 database machine, which Ellison also announced Sunday.
The X3 systems contain large amounts of DRAM and flash cache, allowing data to be held in-memory versus read off disks, increasing performance dramatically, according to Oracle.
Loaiza also provided a sense of the market uptake for Exadata, which was first introduced in 2008.