By Jeff Erickson
Oracle Database 19c has arrived, with new features that make Oracle Database even more useful for the daily work of running a digital business. Released on Oracle Live SQL in January 2019, Oracle Database 19c delivers long-term stability and an impressive set of innovations. There’s something here for developers, DBAs, data analysts, and security experts alike.
Oracle Magazine asked Dominic Giles, a master product manager for Oracle Database at Oracle, to share a few of his top features in Oracle Database 19c.
The Automatic Indexing feature uses machine learning algorithms to create and constantly adjust indexes to improve performance and cost savings. “For the first time ever, a database can determine for itself the optimal set of indexes for your dataset,” Giles says. That means “you can start the database without any, or with very few, indexes, and over a short period of time, the database will look at the way the data is queried and build indexes to provide efficient access plans for that dataset.”
The feature works equally well with an existing database, where Automatic Indexing can help fine-tune the collection of indexes in the database. The database can implement indexes and then continually validate them. It can also remove unnecessary indexes, Giles says. This is important, because over time indexes pile up, “often for reports or batch jobs that are no longer needed,” he says. That can be expensive, because those indexes can increase the compute and I/O resources needed for the database, adds Giles, who notes that large commercial applications running on top of Oracle Database can build up thousands of indexes over years of use.
This new capability in Oracle Database 19c helps you get more value from a standby database—which is a mirror copy of a production database meant for disaster recovery. “That’s an expensive piece of infrastructure for our enterprise customers,” he says. “It’s just sitting there consuming space and electricity.”
In Oracle Database 11g, Oracle launched Oracle Active Data Guard to help customers get more use from that standby database by running reports and backups against it.
Stability is a core aim for Oracle Database 19c—it’s a long-term-support release.”—Dominic Giles, Master Product Manager, Oracle
In Oracle Database 19c, Oracle adds an important twist on this feature called Active Data Guard DML Redirect, which enables you to do transactions against the standby database. One reason for this, says Giles, is that “a lot of reporting applications don’t just report or flag or retrieve information from the database; they also write lightweight transactions. With Active Data Guard DML Redirect, those transactions are immediately and transparently redirected back to the primary database, and once committed on the primary, they are made available on the standby. From the user’s perspective, it’s as if they were writing to a standard Oracle Database.”
Active Data Guard DML Redirect works equally well, he says, whether the backup is running on premises or in the cloud or whether both primary and standby databases are running in the cloud. “This will give customers more flexibility to creatively use that additional asset,” says Giles.
Oracle knows that its customers are often caught between exploding data volumes and regulations that require them to keep data on hand for years, says Giles. Hybrid Partitioned Tables in Oracle Database 19c will help address this situation.
Hybrid Partitioned Tables enables database administrators to manage a table between partitions inside the database and partitions held on low-cost read-only datastores outside the database.
“This means you can use all of the core analytics features of Oracle Database, even when you place data in low-cost read-only storage,” says Giles.
These datastores can reside on premises or in the cloud.
“The beauty of this model is that a table running at the customer’s site could effectively be stretched to the cloud,” he says.
And read-only data outside of Oracle Database doesn’t require regular database backups but is still accessible from Oracle Database. “It’s a very attractive solution for data lifecycle management, and the customers I’ve spoken to are very excited about this technology,” says Giles.
JSON support in Oracle Database began back in Oracle Database 12c, with native JSON document storage and SQL access, and continued in 18c, with high-performance analytics on JSON documents—just as if the JSON data had been ingested into database table rows and columns, says Giles. “That’s a very fast means of doing analytics on JSON documents,” he adds.
In Oracle Database 19c, Oracle improved its support for JSON—making things even easier for traditional developers.
We’ve improved and simplified the syntax for our JSON functions and introduced the capability to do a partial JSON update.”—Dominic Giles, Master Product Manager, Oracle
“We’ve improved and simplified the syntax for our JSON functions and introduced the capability to do a partial JSON update, so you can go in and update one attribute of a large JSON document, instead of updating the whole thing,” Giles says.
In addition, Oracle Database 19c includes new Simple Oracle Document Access (SODA) APIs for Java, Python, C, and Node.js.
“You can work with a broad range of lightweight NoSQL APIs that get rows from JSON documents in the database,” says Giles.
The overall performance of a data mart or a data warehouse can suffer when a user runs a query that consumes an excessive amount of I/O and compute resources, explains Giles. Oracle Database 19c “can automatically quarantine those queries and ensure that they don’t run again.” This, he says, results in consistent performance for all database users.
New features are important in every Oracle Database release. Stability for on-premises database installations and applications is important too, and Oracle Database 19c has that as well.
“Stability is a core aim for Oracle Database 19c—it’s a long-term-support release,” says Giles. “Our on-premises customers go through lengthy upgrade cycles, and this release, Oracle Database 19c, is the one that a lot of our customers have been waiting to upgrade to from Oracle Database 11g or Oracle Database 12c.”
For more information on the features described here and other new features in Oracle Database 19c, check out the full new features list in the Oracle Database documentation. And for more from Dominic Giles on more features, check out his Oracle Database 19c features post.
You can try Oracle Database 19c today at livesql.oracle.com. On-premises database customers can get more information on the availability of Oracle Database 19c for their platforms at My Oracle Support, Document ID 742060.1.
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Illustration by Pedro Murteira
Jeff Erickson is director of tech content at Oracle, as well as an avid open water swimmer and student of Zen meditation. Erickson has more than 15 years of experience writing for and about the smart, curious people who keep our digital world humming.