Senior Director, Virtual Operating Systems Group, Database Server Technologies
Location: Redwood City, California
Product: Oracle Database 11g
Q: Why is Oracle Database innovative?
A: Traditionally, database configuration consists of a monolithic SMP compute server that is connected via a SAN switch to a monolithic storage array. At the server end, there is a high-cost, limited scalability compute server, and at the storage end there is high-cost storage. The worst aspect of this model is the narrow pipes that join the compute servers to the storage arrays. For years we have encouraged our hardware partners to address the performance bottlenecks and high costs. This led Juan Loaiza, Senior Vice President in the Database Server Technologies Group, to invent the Sun Oracle Database Machine. By every measure, the Sun Oracle Database Machine is a huge success for the performance that it provides to our customers. Many customers have reported 10 to 20 times-plus performance improvement with it. Several groups in Database Development participated to bring this truly innovative product to market in a record time.
It is the individual Oracle developer who makes our database innovative. For example, consider the online patching feature. Generally, in this era of 7x24 availability, a database instance at a customer site might stay up and operational for many months or years. Therefore, any downtime of the database instance is inconvenient for the customer. However, the database might need a patch to repair a problem or troubleshoot a unique customer problem. Normally, this would mean downtime. A developer in the Oracle Virtual Operating Systems group decided to remedy the situation and invented online patching so that patches can be applied while the database instance is up. This is a huge benefit for our customers and a great high-availability story for our product.
Q: What makes it unique?
A: The Sun Oracle Database Machine and online patching are just two of the features that set Oracle Database apart from its competitors. Oracle is the #1 relational database with 48.6% market share. No one can match us across the board for features or performance. We are constantly evolving our code to be more efficient and more robust. In the database group, every developer is an inventor. Ideas bubble up. We are constantly reflecting on ways to keep Oracle Database as the premier choice for all customers across the globe.
Q: How do you define innovation?
A: Taking a problem that may have many dimensions, making the effort to understand the multivariate issues, thinking about the problem, and finding a way to solve the problem that hasn't been thought of before. The process for me is deep introspection, much analysis and many corrections. The trajectory is hardly ever a straight line.
Q: What's the most innovative project or product you've ever worked on?
A: Over the years, I have participated in building many innovative features of Oracle Database. Recently, in building the Sun Oracle Database Machine, my group worked on developing the Infiniband infrastructure and a brand new network protocol. In addition, we built a unique Exadata feature called I/O resource manager. I believe our contributions have made a difference to the final Sun Oracle Database Machine.
Q: Who would you say is the most innovative person at Oracle? Why?
A: I would say my manager, Juan Loaiza, is the most innovative person at Oracle who I know. Starting from his early days, Juan has made many contributions: He invented the way tests are written, memory is managed, and performance is measured. Literally hundreds of projects, large and small, have benefited from Juan's deep insights and advice.
Q: What innovative technology are you excited about right now?
A: We are working on developing technologies to make our clusters more efficient. I am also looking into taking advantage of the advances in processors and memory. We are living in a time in which there is a confluence of many innovative hardware products. We need to harness these to our advantage.