Profit Opinion

John Matelski - October 2007

It's said that the way to a person's heart is through the stomach, but not if you're a CIO. With IT executives, the sure way to gain appreciation is through the wallet. Anything that is going to lop money off the budget, through direct savings or decreasing IT staff support responsibilities, is sure to land you on my Christmas card list.

With the debut of Oracle Database 11g, Oracle has sent customers a release that will increase organizational efficiencies and create excellent goodwill. Oracle has done a lot of smart things with their first database release in several years that should save the City of Orlando money—and my staff some headaches.

Oracle went in the right direction here, stressing manageability over new features and functions. Companies are less likely to move data off a database that's already performing well to take advantage of new features. But if the new version can free up disk space or run faster, that's a different story.

Moreover, the palpable excitement I'm getting from the beta test community is alluring. These are people who are not going to sugarcoat things, but I haven't heard many complaints. Instead, the feedback I've heard is positive. The numbers I've been hearing are quite frankly staggering—a 25 percent increase in performance, 70 percent faster in an Oracle Real Application Clusters environment. That's very cool, to put it mildly.

What in particular about Oracle Database 11g do I think will prove to be the big selling points? Speaking for myself, here are the items that really caught my attention:

Oracle Advanced Compression and Oracle Partitioning. Disk space is getting cheaper all the time, but data growth remains explosive, making storage costs an issue regardless of disk price. Big global corporations are running databases with hundreds of thousands of terabytes of data, and that can get pricey. Oracle Database 11g's compression and partitioning features will help CIOs save money because they can use multiple storage tiers. The numbers I've seen cite a savings of up to three times the disk capacity with compression alone. Score one for the budget.

Overall performance. Everything I've seen about performance suggests that Oracle Database 11g really screams. For example, one number has the database backing up 25 percent more quickly than its predecessors, which will not only reduce downtime but also save staff time on backups.

Oracle Real Application Testing. This is the ability to capture and replay using real data rather than dummy numbers. This should cut testing time down significantly. In a typical scenario, it could take four or five weeks for testing, and real application testing could narrow it down to a couple of days. Something like this just improves the whole total ownership experience. Anything I can do to get systems up and running more quickly with less staff saves money. Another budget pleaser here.

Oracle Active Data Guard. Standby databases are traditionally a business continuity feature, but Oracle Active Data Guard lets me configure the database to offload actual live data activities to the standby database. This increases performance and lessens the time it takes to do queries. Looking at the big picture, it also means that you don't require as many resources for the production database. Again, a money- and time-saver.

Oracle Total Recall. This lets me go back in time to do a query for any particular date. If I want to do a query search on something from five months ago to compare it to how we do the process today, this feature makes it easy to do. I don't know of any other database that does this.

High software quality. From what I hear in the testing community, this is a very high-quality release with very few bugs. This means a number of good things for the CIO. Other companies that sell applications with Oracle as the back-end database will be able to certify more quickly, allowing CIOs to leverage these new features more quickly. If you're a non-Oracle application user, shortening the lag time between the database release and support for your application allows you to get the cost savings and better performance that much faster.

The bottom line with Oracle Database 11g for many CIOs, including myself, is that it should save our organizations money and perform at a higher level than previous incarnations. Translating that into business results should be a slam dunk, and I think we'll see many people moving to the latest release fairly quickly as a result.


John Matelski is chairman of the International Oracle Users Group Community (IOUC) and a member of the board of directors of Quest International Users Group. He has been chief security officer and deputy CIO for the City of Orlando, Florida, for the past 10 years.


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