Oracle leapfrogs petabyte barrier with release 8

Oracle databases can balloon up to 500 petabytes-500,000 terabytes-before they hit the
ceiling of Oracle Corp.'s new object-relational database management system.


Current federal Oracle users should see immediate performance and scalability
improvements when they upgrade to Oracle8, even if they don't need its object features,
said Tim Hoechst, vice president of technology for the Oracle public sector group.


Oracle8's partitioning tools can manage larger tables than previousversions. Hoechst
said petabyte table sizes up to now "defied physics" by being too large to
manage, back up and keep online.


Partitioning takes parts of the tables off line. A data warehouse administrator could
partition a table of monthly budget data into 12 chunks, taking one-twelfth off line and
adding a month on the other end. To users, Hoescht said, it still looks like one big
table.


Besides partitioning, Oracle has built some transaction processing monitor functions
into Oracle8 to handle a higher volume of connected users than with previous versions.


The company recently demonstrated Oracle8 Parallel Server on a two-node Unix cluster
supporting 50,000 concurrent users and 17,000 e-mail messages per minute.


Oracle8's ability to multiplex CPU processes across multiple computers gets around a
universal limitation of open operating systems in managing many resources, Hoechst said.


A feature called Object Views lets users build applications in which they can treat
relational data as objects. For example, IRS could use Structured Query Language to build
an application that joins all tables with information about an individual taxpayer.


Conventional relational database management systems store that information in many
different tables, "which is OK when you're looking across taxpayers, but not as
efficient when looking at a particular taxpayer," Hoechst said.


Oracle8 has built-in backup capability and accepts several new data types. Its price is
the same as the previous Oracle7.3 release, starting at $1,475 for a concurrent five-user
license. Migration tools are included to move Oracle7 applications forward to the new
release without taking down databases. But because the Oracle8 file format is different,
users cannot change their minds and undo the migration process.


Contact the Oracle public sector group at 301-657-7860.

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