Business benefits are at the core of Oracle's latest database release.
by David A. Kelly, May 2008
Your IT staff may get excited about the nuts and bolts of a new software release, but the ultimate success of an upgrade is based on the benefit it delivers to the business. Profit took a look at Oracle's new database—Oracle Database 11g—to get an executive's take on it. Here are five ways it will benefit your enterprise:
Protect and manage unstructured data. Unstructured data—the volumes of information stored outside the database—is the fastest-growing type of enterprise data. From XML datatypes to geospatial objects, organizations are storing and managing more large data files—without the added protection, security, and management capabilities associated with traditional database solutions.
Oracle SecureFiles, a new feature in Oracle Database 11g, allows you to deliver this information from the database with the same speed and performance of a file system. But SecureFiles allows you to compress (for reduced storage requirements), encrypt, (for greater security) and deduplicate (for greater information accuracy) this data. By moving unstructured data into databases, you can better track and secure important data that is currently spread around your enterprise.
"We think this is the last remaining piece to really help nudge customers to move more and more of their high-value business documents out of file systems into databases, and get all the benefits of a database—the reliability, availability, security," says Andy Mendelsohn, Oracle's senior vice president of database server technologies. "It makes it easier for them to deal with their auditors who are always auditing them against compliance requirements."
Simplify compliance. For added compliance support, Oracle Total Recall, a feature in Oracle Database 11g, allows you to essentially "rewind" a database—to take it back to before a change was made, an error occurred, or a transaction was completed.
"[Oracle] Total Recall is helpful for auditing and compliance situations where an organization needs to find out what a hacker, or a DBA, was doing at a certain time," says Mendelsohn. "Using [Oracle] Total Recall, you can very easily go back in time—six months or a year or whatever period you need—and track down exactly what changes were made to the database, and who made them."
Reduce the risk of change. In business, managing change effectively is a critical component of staying competitive. But change isn't easy—particularly when you're talking about software upgrades. "Every organization needs to change because they need to keep up with their competitors," says Mendelsohn. "Businesses need to respond to change. But every IT shop knows that change also brings instability."
Oracle Database 11g reduces the risk of technology change, allowing you to give users the best software without unnecessary complications. Oracle Real Application Testing tests software upgrades against new versions of a database or operating system, making it easier to identify and fix problems before they go live. Oracle Database 11g's database replay captures actual database production workloads and replays them on a test system to identify the full impact of system changes. In addition, Oracle Database 11g makes it easier to apply one-off database patches with no downtime.
Improve visibility. Access to good information gives business managers the insight they need to make business decisions. Enhanced data warehousing and business intelligence in Oracle Database 11g makes data mining and analytics easily accessible to end users. Improved support for online analytical processing improves query performance and alerts users when important changes are made to data. As a result, end users are closer to critical information.
Reduce downtime and meet user expectations. Oracle Database 11g makes it easier to reduce downtime and meet user expectations for system performance and functionality. Oracle Active Data Guard—an option in Oracle Database 11g Enterprise Edition—allows organizations to run real-time queries on a physical standby system for reporting and other purposes—resulting in faster business results and a greater optimization of resources. In addition, Oracle Database 11g's automatic storage management mirrors and balances data across available storage devices, increasing data protection and optimizing performance while requiring fewer IT resources.