Faster Answers, Faster Business

Oracle Database In-Memory option speeds queries 100 times and transactions 2 times, with no changes to applications.

By Curran Mahowald

September/October 2014

Information technology is constantly evolving. Server CPUs, networks, and memory get faster while memory prices continue to drop. As hardware gets more powerful and memory more cost-effective, the cloud database is getting even better for business. In 2013, Oracle Database 12c introduced a new multitenant architecture, and on June 10, 2014, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison introduced the latest innovation for Oracle Database 12c: the Oracle Database In-Memory option. “[It’s] the ability to run all the data you frequently access in-memory and access that data basically instantaneously,” explained Ellison at the launch event.

Mixed Workload

The database row format is ideal for application transaction processing, and the database column format is better for analytical queries. What if you could perform both types of operations quickly without compromise? “The innovation of the Oracle [Database] In-Memory option is that we store the data both ways. We store it both in row format and in memory, in columnar format,” said Ellison. With Oracle Database 12c and Oracle Database In-Memory, the row and column formats are simultaneously active and transactionally consistent. Companies no longer need to choose between optimal transaction performance and high-speed analytics.

Oracle Database In-Memory not only increases the speed of queries and analytics, but it also increases the speed of online transaction processing (OLTP). “We have a lot of customers using our database for transaction processing. We cannot compromise transaction processing,” said Ellison. Using Oracle Database In-Memory, OLTP that was slowed by analytic indexes can now run at twice the speed, because indexes can be dropped.

Minimum Disruption, Maximum Impact

Ellison emphasized the fact that organizations using Oracle Database In-Memory do not need to make any changes to their SQL code or their applications. It is not necessary to unload or reload any data, and no functions are restricted. To deploy Oracle Database In Memory, organizations simply need to configure the memory capacity, configure tables (or partitions) to be in memory, and delete the old indexes that they don’t need anymore. The Oracle Database In-Memory option is also deployed completely transparently. “It just works,” said Ellison.

The DBA can now focus not so much on database performance, per se, but on making the database more useful to the business.”–Larry Ellison, CEO, Oracle

Although the column format is new in Oracle Database In-Memory, the Oracle Database row format works the same as before. “Just keep doing what you’re doing. Logging works, backup works, recovery works; everything works unchanged,” Ellison said.

Ellison sees this new technology reducing the workload of DBAs and enabling them to perform higher-level functions. “The DBA can now focus not so much on database performance, per se, but on making the database more useful to the business,” he added.

A Solid Base

Oracle Database In-Memory is built on Oracle Database, which means IT professionals can expect the same maturity and reliability that are part of the proven Oracle Database. All the advanced technologies for storage tiering, database scale-up and scale-out, recovery, and integrated security that Oracle has spent decades developing work transparently with Oracle Database In-Memory.

Software engineered with hardware delivers even better performance, and Ellison discussed the ways in which the new Oracle Database In-Memory software leverages Oracle’s engineered systems. He described the combination and performance of Oracle Database In-Memory with Oracle Exadata and SPARC M6-32 systems. Referring to the SPARC M6-32 big memory machine, its 32 TB of memory, and Oracle Database In-Memory, Ellison explained what the combination of technologies means for business. “This is the world’s fastest computer for business,” said Ellison of the SPARC M6-32. “You can store all your data in memory; get all of your answers instantaneously.”

In-Memory, In Practice

Oracle Senior Vice President Juan Loaiza joined Ellison on stage to show an application running Oracle Database In-Memory. First, Loaiza demonstrated running a query two different ways: by creating indexes and by using Oracle Database In-Memory. Both got virtually instantaneous results, but with Oracle Database In-Memory it was not necessary to figure out what queries would be run or to map the indexes. “One of the nice things about [Oracle Database] In-Memory is you don’t have to create the indexes,” explained Loaiza. “You don’t have to know the queries ahead of time. You just place all this data in the [Oracle Database] In-Memory columnar store, and then all the queries run fast, no matter what you query on.”

Ellison and Loaiza assured the event crowd that even though the data lives in memory, it is still protected with the strength and reliability of Oracle Database 12c. “You’ve never seen anything like this before; an in-memory database with full fault tolerance, the memory duplicated across nodes,” said Loaiza.

Organizations will do business differently once they have access to information at the speed in which Oracle Database In-Memory delivers it. “You’re going to ask more-frequent questions,” Ellison said. “You’re going to ask more-complicated questions.”

With its extreme performance, availability, and simplicity, the Oracle Database In-Memory option certainly makes a difference in the speed of analytic queries and business answers. It’s the difference between walking and flying. It’s the difference between getting answers in hours and getting them in seconds.

“You’re going to change business processes as a result of having this information so quickly; being able to recompute this information so quickly,” concluded Ellison. “You’re going to become a real-time enterprise.”

Memorable Numbers

“The column store is a cache, so it keeps all of your active data in memory,” said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison at the June 10, 2014, Oracle Database In-Memory event. “So since all your active data’s in memory, the database runs at the speed of memory.”

What is the speed of memory? Ellison presented several examples of Oracle Database In-Memory real-world testing that demonstrated significant query processing speed and acceleration. Here are some of those results:

Product Change in Time Acceleration
JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Sales Order Management From 22.5 minutes to less than 1 second 1,700x faster
Oracle E-Business Suite’s Oracle Transportation Management From 16 minutes to less than 1 second 1,030x faster
Oracle E-Business Suite From 58 hours to 13.5 minutes 257x faster
Oracle Fusion Financials Cloud Service From 10 minutes to 3 seconds 210x faster


Next Steps

LEARN about Oracle Database In-Memory

WATCH the Oracle Database In-Memory Webcast

Photography by Fabian Fauth, Unsplash