Encryption, Nanda said, is a requirement for many regulations, such as Payment Card Industry rules and Sarbanes-Oxley. In the past, the issue with encryption was regarding performance. If a field is encrypted, it does not use index scanning, which degrades performance, he said. In 11g, the encryption happens at the disk level, which satisfies the regulations, but the matching occurs in the memory, which doesnt impact performance, he said. "So we can now encrypt more stuff without impacting performance," he said. "CIOs love to hear that stuff.""Most of these will reduce our administrative costs and allow us to spend time on other database tasks," Mulheren said. "We will be looking more into Real Application Testing to see if it will allow us to build more reliable applications." With 52 Oracle DBAs spread across the companys various business units, Mulheren said he expects Wachovia will begin planning for the upgrades this fall after conducting an internal certification process. Meanwhile, Nanda said Starwood will be slower to upgrade because it runs an HP-UX operating system on top of Itanium-powered computers from Hewlett-Packard, and the initial release of 11g-slated for August-will be for Linux. Oracle has not said when versions for other platforms will be available. However, Feinberg speculated the version for Windows will probably come out a month later. "I think the bulk, the majority, of the Oracle clients will seriously start looking at [11g] more toward the end of 2008, and in 2009 is when I think they will start to really be implementing 11g in big numbers," Feinberg said. "But thats not bad." Then there is the question of just when Oracle rival SAP, of Waldorff, Germany, will certify 11g. There is no love lost between the two companies, hardly a secret given their recent legal bout. Steve Bauer, vice president of global communications at SAP, said that will happen after 11g is tested and the market demands it. "It is important to note that SAPs customers decide the databases on which they want our applications to run," Bauer said. "SAP is driven by customer demand, and we will support whatever database decision our customers make. We will add support for 11g as part of our overall product road map and development. As with any new database, the exact timing of when SAP will add support for 11g will depend on customer adoption of, and demand for, the new Oracle release." Gartners Feinberg called SAP database-agnostic, and described Oracle and SAP as the two biggest major competitors in the packaged application space. "I do not believe they are going to do it quickly, which is going to be a telling factor in this war between Oracle and SAP," he said. Another unknown that will affect adoption is what features Oracle will charge for, and whether customers will buy them, Feinberg said. Still, making the business case to corporate executives for 11g means understanding their needs, which Hardie said comes down to reaching business goals as effectively while controlling costs. Oracle is banking on a combination of sample case studies, planning reviews and customer testimonials to help C-level audiences appreciate why they should use 11g, he said. "CIOs and CEOs are challenged with meeting business requirements and keeping costs down," Hardie said. "Oracle Database 11g addresses both these challenges by providing an infrastructure that uses grids of low-cost servers and storage in an extremely efficient manner to support all types of business applications." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.
Ed Mulheren, senior database administrator at Wachovia, a St. Louis-based financial services company, counts the automated storage management, partition management, virtual columns and stronger password management capabilities as the most impressive features of 11g. In particular, some features related to the automation for portioning should save time administering monthly data loads, he said.