TimesTen In-Memory Database
for Extreme Performance

Is TimesTen an RDBMS or a Cache for Oracle 11g/12c?

Doug Hood
Evangelist for Oracle TimesTen, Oracle In-Memory and Oracle NoSQL

A question that many customers have asked me is whether TimesTen is just a cache for their Oracle database or an (RDBMS) system of record. TimesTen can be configured to be either a read/write cache for Oracle databases, or act as a system of record.

TimesTen as an RDBMS system of record

TimesTen is a low latency In-Memory RDBMS which persists data to disk and supports ACID transactions.

TimesTen Checkpoint files and Transaction Logs

The checkpoint files and transaction logs persist the data to enable database recovery in the unlikely event of hardware or software failure. TimesTen uses the transaction logs files to support persistent ACID transactions with COMMIT and ROLLBACK operations. TimesTen also supports many replication configurations to enable high availability and online upgrades. 

TimesTen uses SQL and PLSQL and supports many runtime environments:

Supported APIs

TimesTen In-Memory Database is a transactional, recoverable, RDBMS for SQL and PLSQL applications which acts as a system of record for most of our customers.

TimesTen as a Cache for Oracle Database

Tables in the TimesTen In-Memory RDBMS can be configured to act as read only or read/write caches for the corresponding tables in an Oracle database. When TimesTen is caching tables from Oracle, the data is still persistent and recoverable.  Both cached and non-cache [local] tables can exist in a TimesTen database at the same time.  Applications can do SQL joins between cache and non cache tables :

TimesTen Application Tier Database Cache

Applications that connect to the TimesTen (cache) tables benefit from the lower latency that TimesTen provides.  Using TimesTen Application Tier Cache with for Oracle 12c Exadata gives you the best of both - low latency from TimesTen and massive scalability from Exadata.  This white paper gives more details on TimesTen Caching.

The benefits of using TimesTen Application Tier Database Cache

This Telecommunications benchmark (TATP HLR) shows dramatic reductions in response times when the Oracle Database uses TimesTen Application Tier Database Cache. This benchmark is an apples to apple comparison:

  • The exact same HLR workload is used in both cases
  • The exact same JDBC code is used for the benchmark, only the connect strings are different
  • The exact same data is used on both cases
  • The exact same and hardware and OS is used for TimesTen and Oracle:
    • Intel® Xeon CPU E5-2680 @2.7GHz
    • 2 sockets 8 cores/socket
    • 2 hyper-threads/core 32 vCPU
    • Oracle Enterprise Linux 5

In summary, TimesTen can be configured as either a system of record or as a Read/Write Cache for Oracle 11g/12c. 

Disclaimer: these are my personal thoughts and do not represent Oracle's official viewpoint in any way, shape, or form. 

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