As Published In
Oracle Magazine
November/December 2013



Information Acceleration

by Fred Sandsmark


The Oracle Database In-Memory option redefines speed.

In his opening night keynote address at Oracle OpenWorld 2013 in San Francisco, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison announced the Oracle Database In-Memory option for Oracle Database 12c, which dramatically accelerates database performance.

The Oracle Database In-Memory option accelerates queries on data warehouses and online transaction processing (OLTP) databases such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Furthermore, it accelerates queries on live transactional data without compromising transaction processing speed. “We figured out a way to not only speed up query processing by a couple of orders of magnitude but at the same time at least double your transaction processing rates,” Ellison said.

Once we have the column store, we can process data at ungodly speeds.
Larry Ellison,
CEO, Oracle

Combining existing in-memory row and new in-memory column data formats is key to this dramatic improvement in performance. Oracle Database can now maintain data in both row and column formats simultaneously, storing the column data in memory with high compression. Transactional logging (for rollback and other purposes) is done only on the row store. “There’s actually very little overhead in maintaining the column store in memory in addition to Oracle’s traditional row store,” Ellison explained. “Once we have the column store, we can process data at ungodly speeds.”

The new in-memory columnar format in the Oracle Database In-Memory option eliminates the need for analytic indexes. This makes analytic queries 100 times faster and OLTP and batch processing two to three times faster than queries and processes executed without the Oracle Database In-Memory option, Ellison said. “The DBA doesn’t have to figure out what to index and what not to index,” he explained. “The column store covers all the data—everything runs fast. This makes database design much easier, and makes tuning, in this case, unnecessary.”

Turning on the Oracle Database In-Memory option requires just three simple steps: one that specifies how much memory will be used by the in-memory column store, one that says which tables or partitions should reside in the column store, and one that drops the existing analytic indexes.

Next Steps

 WATCH highlights of Larry Ellison’s keynote address

 Oracle Database In-Memory option
 Oracle In-Memory Applications

And as simple as it is to activate the Oracle Database In-Memory option, activation is also the end of the configuration process. “Flip a switch, and all your existing applications run much faster,” Ellison said. “There are no changes to SQL. There are no changes to your applications. There are no functions that are restricted. Everything that works today works with the Oracle Database In-Memory option turned on. There’s no unloading and reloading of data.

“Every application that you wrote, every application that you bought—everything—runs without a single change to the application,” Ellison emphasized.

“And the Oracle Database In-Memory option works beautifully with the Oracle Multitenant option in Oracle Database 12c, so all of this technology is cloud-ready,” Ellison concluded. “Every database that you have now will be easier to tune, it will run faster, it will be just as reliable and just as secure as it is today.”


Fred Sandsmark is a freelance technology writer in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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