Oracle pushes into database-as-a-service

But an in-memory database option announced Sunday won't be out until next year

By , IDG News Service |  Hardware

Oracle has hyped its new 12c database as faster and more powerful than ones that have come before, and now it's highlighting the release's ability to easily serve up multiple databases of varying size and scope according to a particular user's needs.

Many Oracle customers are excited about 12c, and for a particular reason, said Andy Mendelsohn, senior vice president of database server technologies, during a keynote Monday at the OpenWorld conference in San Francisco.

"Customers are telling us they want to go to database-as-a-service, on-premise," he said.

Version 12c, which became generally available in June, includes an already well-publicized feature called "pluggable" databases, where many discrete databases sit inside a single container database, an approach that Oracle says can radically reduce operational overhead.

Mendelsohn described a scenario in which an IT department could offer end users a menu of database options.

A bronze tier would be for simple backups of less important databases, while a silver level would add in Oracle's Data Guard for additional security. A top-level gold tier could include Real Application Clusters along with Data Guard. Users would also choose from standard database sizes from the menu.

Mendelsohn and another Oracle employee demonstrated a new self-service provisioning tool that is being released along with 12c.

"In a couple seconds you're up and running," Mendelsohn said, as the demo showed the selection of a database was possible with a few clicks. "Pretty amazing, right?"

Meanwhile, databases could also be easily "unplugged" from various tiers and moved to others as priorities change, Mendelsohn added.

The pluggable database architecture also offers a new take on multitenancy, a feature used in SaaS (software-as-a-service). Rather than have all customers share a single application instance, they would each get a pluggable database, Mendelsohn said.

"This huge barrier of entry for people to become SaaS providers is all gone," he added.

That said, Oracle's technology stack has already served as a foundation for many SaaS vendors, and presumably Oracle will look to move them all onto the latest releases, including Database 12c.

One such vendor is Salesforce.com, which recently announced it would commit long term to Oracle technologies. The pact also publicly buried the hatchet between Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.

Elsewhere in his keynote, Mendelsohn provided further details on the Oracle Database Backup Logging Recovery Appliance, which was unveiled briefly by Ellison on Sunday.

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