Database, SQL and PL/SQL

Your Move

Go cloud-first with Oracle Database 12c Release 2.

By Jeff Erickson and John Soat

November/December 2016

The launch of Oracle Database 12c Release 2 gives organizations of all sizes access to the world’s fastest, most scalable, and most reliable database in a cost-effective, secure, and open cloud environment—one that’s fully compatible with on-premises environments.

The Oracle Database 12c multitenant container architecture provides the agility and low operational cost required of databases in the cloud. In Oracle Database 12c Release 2, the number of pluggable databases per container database increases to 4,096, while isolation between tenants in the same container is strengthened. The release also adds new features and capabilities, including hot cloning, online refresh, and pluggable database relocation.

More Oracle Database 12c
Release 2 in This Issue

For more on new Oracle Database 12c Release 2 features in this issue, check out the following hands-on, how-to technical articles:

“Now you can unplug a database from one container and plug it into another with no downtime to the application. It’s that simple,” says Andy Mendelsohn, executive vice president of database server technologies at Oracle. “That could move a database from one data center to another, or in a hybrid cloud environment you could be moving a database from on premises to Oracle Cloud. So it’s a very agile, mobile infrastructure. This is what customers have told us they need in the cloud.”

Memorable Analytics

The Oracle Database In-Memory option was first available for Oracle Database 12c. In-memory technology increases performance by storing data in processor memory, avoiding the usual I/O bottleneck to disk storage. Oracle’s in-memory technology is “dual format”—a row format for processing transactions and a column format for high-speed data analytics. Analytics run incredibly fast in Oracle Database In-Memory, and Oracle Database 12c Release 2 makes in-memory joins and complex queries even faster.

Some organizations don’t like the idea of running transactions and analytics in the same system, however. So Oracle Database 12c Release 2 adds the ability to use Oracle Active Data Guard to run Oracle Database In-Memory analytics on a standby database rather than in the production transaction system. It’s “a key innovation other vendors don’t support in their in-memory database technologies,” Mendelsohn says. “This is the most requested enhancement from users of earlier versions of Oracle Database 12c.”

Express Cloud
We’re going to preserve the investments people have made in the applications they’ve written around Oracle Database.”
–Andy Mendelsohn, Executive Vice President, Database Server Technologies, Oracle

The first place you can run Oracle Database 12c Release 2 is in the new Oracle Database Exadata Express Cloud Service (Exadata Express). Starting at just US$175 per month for a 20 GB database, it’s a great entry-level database cloud service for DevTest or production databases. Exadata Express runs Oracle Database 12c Release 2 Enterprise Edition with most options and runs on Oracle’s database-optimized Oracle Exadata infrastructure. Customers can start with a small deployment on Exadata Express and scale to large database deployments on Oracle Database Cloud Service and Oracle Database Exadata Cloud Service.

All Oracle Database cloud services are compatible with Oracle databases running on premises, so customers can easily transition on-premises workloads to the cloud and back again. “As we’ve done over the past 30-plus years, we’re going to preserve the investments people have made in the applications they’ve written around Oracle Database,” Mendelsohn says. “We do this while pushing forward aggressively into the new technologies our customers need to outperform their competitors.”

For more information on Oracle Database Exadata Express Cloud Service, see the “Expressly Oracle” sidebar.

Ongoing Refinement and Coverage

Another new feature in Oracle Database 12c Release 2 is support for cloud-scale automated database sharding—slicing up a database workload, such as a global ecommerce system, and running it across hundreds of disparate databases.

Referring to the manual sharding process in use with databases today, Mendelsohn says: “It gives you highly reliable, highly scalable infrastructure. The problem is, you have to design your applications for this kind of environment.” That work results in significant operational expenses, which can be prohibitive for many organizations. It’s why, he says, “customers asked us to help them automate the sharding process. And that’s what we delivered in Oracle Database 12c Release 2.”

Still, the paradigm-shifting cloud-first Oracle Database 12c Release 2 is about more than the cloud, the multitenant architecture, in-memory computing, and sharding.

It includes a variety of new security, high-availability, scalability, performance, and manageability features. Look for coverage of these features in future issues of Oracle Magazine.

For application developers, Oracle Database 12c Release 2 also enhances key programming language and framework support. This issue of Oracle Magazine, for example, includes deep dives into how to use new PL/SQL and JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) support in Oracle Database 12c Release 2, and future issues will explore other new database features.

Next Steps

 LEARN more about Oracle Database 12c Release 2.

 LEARN more about Oracle Database Exadata Express Cloud Service.


Photography by Gioia Fabbri, Unsplash