Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Oracle OpenWorld 2012: Monday

Database 12c Features

Following yesterday's big announcements and new rumors I made a few schedule changes ensuring I allotted more time in the demo grounds to talk to various Oracle specialists concerning Database 12c. The demo grounds are truly amazing with a wealth of contacts to be made and things to be learnt from talking to the various "informed" vendors (including Oracle). Even more amazing are the large number of people that come solely for the purpose of winning free stuff - not that I'd complain if I won one of the numerous iPads on offer or even better the $10,000 offered by EMC (good to know where my companies money is going). I'm curious if any of these vendors do any analysis on the "real" contacts made vs. just those looking for stuff and follow-up sales made.

There are many new and usable features with 12c, and I would argue this will be the biggest release Oracle will have done to date (when it ships) in terms of changes and features. The upgrade process via DBUA has been given some attention with parallelism during the upgrade itself, fix-it scripts, resumption from some failures (instead of starting from scratch for everything) and a post-upgrade health check. Transportable Tablespaces (TTS) via Data Pump will be more efficient by automatically running all pre-requisite checks, and doing the full export and import. Meaning it figures out all the metadata dependencies, creates all the users, objects, grants, etc. from the source unto the target then copies across all the data and viola!

Some questions (but not all) surrounding Pluggable Databases (PDB), which I've mentioned yesterday, were  answered today as well. It will support pre-12.1 databases (only is my guess and based on the slides used) which will plug into a 12.1 container database (the housing or hypervisor database if you will). All databases can be backed up as one and recovered separately including point-in-time (PIT). PDB can also be run in standby setups though I'm still left wondering how PDB works exactly in a RAC environment. Migration into this architecture appears to be done via Data Pump (I'm guessing TTS since otherwise it would be long migration). Resource utilization is handled by Resource Manager (DBRM) so processor (and other settings?) usage can be allocated to each database. Patching/upgrades can be done separately to each database though I'd imagine the container DB must always be at the highest release (similar to Grid Infrastructure). A question, out of many I have, is how does affect Oracle VPD and will it be a paid feature? (we all know the answer is yes)

Another very interesting and immediately usable feature is "Automatic Usage Based Compression". Essentially a heat map of table partitions is used to compress various partitions based on usage/activity (INSERT, UPDATE and DELETE statements) using some user defined policies. Compression is done online, in the background. Does this mean HCC is open to all now? Is this using DBMS_REDEFINITION under the covers for the online compression change? What about compressing table blocks and not just partitions? Will the threshold for hot, warm and cold be adjustable (there is always some hidden parameter)? Is this part of the compression package/option and how much will it cost?

Redaction of Sensitive Data is another big feature. This moves the masking of sensitive data from the application level to the database level where the DBA does this change online and immediately (no logoff/logon required) based on set policies. I'm left wondering how this affects the Data Masking Pack and Label Security? (and again, how much?)

A new feature (which is actually available now supported for Exadata) is RMAN Cross Platform  Incremental Backups. This is using RMAN to do a platform conversion from a big endian platform such as Solaris SPARC, IBM AIX and HP-UX to Linux using backups/restores where the incrementals can be applied to the target until ready to switch platforms at which point the actual switch over is considerably less time (and effort). Note 1389592.1 explains this with greater details.

The Jimmy Cliff Experience

Whomever thought up the Oracle Music Festival deserves a raise, and even better, the party responsible for bringing in Jimmy Cliff deserves a promotion! The man, Jimmy Cliff, must be in his 60's at least but has more energy than a 20 year old! He completely rocked the house with his energy, song arrangements and charisma. The crowd (including myself) was completely involved and so much so enjoyed his performance that an encore was demanded, and graciously accepted.

I had another big day ahead of me and so left during his encore. I can already feel the pain in various body parts following my "dancing" (I use the term loosely). I good end to another great day at OpenWorld...