New Tools, Services Rev Up Oracle

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2003-09-04

New Tools, Services Rev Up Oracle

Oracle Corp. partners including InfoCyclone, XIOTech Corp. and SofTrek are unleashing a torrent of products and services to speed Oracle databases, whether youre talking query speeds, technology to hasten cluster rollouts or outsourcing to quickly get Oracle work out of your hair.

Israel-based InfoCyclone will launch the latest version of its self-named database acceleration appliance on Tuesday at OracleWorld in San Francisco. This gadget sits between the application and database servers in a three-tier architecture and between the database client and database server in a client/server setup.

From there, InfoCyclone scrutinizes incoming queries to determine what should be sent to the production database and what can be handled by the appliance. The device sniffs Oracle log files to seek out so-called hot spots in the database, working off the adage that 90 percent of database queries use only 10 percent of the available data. It sends along transactional queries to the database, but it handles read queries itself by processing them on memory within the appliance.

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That clears a lot of traffic off the database. InfoCyclone has other features that speed data retrieval, including partial replication, proprietary SQL engine algorithms, the ability to select the quickest path to data, automatic response to changed usage patterns, and the indexing of replicated data.

According to officials, those technologies augment data retrieval speeds by 10 times or more, with some clients experiencing 30 to 60 times faster query response times.

Jeff Cordeiro, CTO and CIO of Blue Dolphin Group—a dot-com that sells subscriptions to more than 1,000 magazines—started using the appliance about four months ago. Hes using it to speed reporting on online e-mail campaigns. Companies like his need up-to-the-hour information on how an e-mail campaign is doing vis-à-vis data points such as traffic spikes and the ways in which visitors are using the site. With a need to know within 2 hours how a campaign is doing, 10- to 30-minute or longer response times for queries were unacceptable.

The use of InfoCyclone is in fact cutting response time by orders of magnitude, he said. "The queries are all much better than what we were getting," said Cordeiro, in Sudbury, Mass., with some queries hitting response times that are up to 50 times faster than pre-appliance times.

New features revolve around manageability. A new management tool gives DBAs the ability to monitor not only queries handled by InfoCyclone but also those passed along to the database. This allows users to flag hot spots that are choking up the production database, executives said.

The new version will also automatically learn as new queries are written, according to Cordeiro, who has been working with InfoCyclone on the update. This capability will enable the appliance to build queries directly within the device, instead of going through the work of running a query against the database.

InfoCyclone is shipping now. It runs on a Linux operating system. The entry-level device contains 4GB and two CPUs and starts at about $50,000. A 16GB, four-CPU device starts at about $149,000.

Next page: XIOtech Slashes Linux Server Configuration.

Page Two

For its part, XIOtech, of Eden Prairie, Minn., on Monday at OracleWorld is rolling out technology that promises to hack the two- to three-days-long configuring of each Linux server that supports an Oracle9i RAC (Real Application Clusters) setup. With clusters typically relying on some eight to 10 servers, enterprises can be looking at a 24- to 30-day rollout, according to XIOtech officials.

The company is pledging that its new product, Magnitude RAC Pack, will get an eight-server cluster up and running within 24 hours of initial deployment.

Rebel Brown, the companys executive vice president of marketing, said that MRP slashes deployment time because its preconfigured for Linux servers. That preconfiguration is tuned for specific customers and copied for as many servers as are involved. She pointed to a recent six-server RAC deployment at W.L. Gore & Associates Inc.—a manufacturer best known for its GORETEX fabrics—that took less than 6 hours to deploy, including unboxing and setting up cables.

Pricing depends on an enterprises capacity and the number of servers involved.

Separately, SofTrek—maker of fundraising software—is launching Appitat, a division that will deliver hosted, Web-based IT outsourcing and applications using Oracle9iAS technology, the company announced on Wednesday. The services will include programming, Web services, integration, reporting and e-commerce.

Appitat will host the services in a facility that features 24-hour monitoring, 128-bit encryption and SSL, redundant Internet connections, and redundant power supplies and system backups, said officials of the Buffalo, N.Y., company.

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