Software Puts Database Backups to Use

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2002-04-15

Oracle Corp., Quest Software Inc. and Solid Information Technology Corp. are each rolling out software that not only enhances database backup but also helps make the stored data more useful.

Oracles Release 2 of its 9i database will include the capability to use previously idle backup data. The upgrade, due June 1, features an enhanced Data Guard function that lets businesses use the secondary data for read-only procedures such as reporting.

That could also reduce the load on the main database during times of heavy reporting activity, such as the end of a quarter, according to Oracle officials in Redwood Shores, Calif.

In addition to Data Guard, Oracle9i Release 2 will make the transfer of data more efficient by shipping SQL statements, rather than logs of data, from primary to backup databases, thus saving bandwidth.

Separately, Quest this week will announce an upgrade to its SharePlex for Oracle software, which already lets IT departments set up secondary databases to perform reporting. New in Version 4.0 are features that reduce the latency between updates from a primary to a backup database, speed failover when a disaster occurs and enable multiple transactions to be updated at once.

For its part, Solid Information next week will release the third generation of its distributed data management software, Solid FlowEngine, which will let networking software and hardware makers add database replication and failover capabilities to their products.

Enterprises that have increased their focus on disaster recovery since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are now looking to go beyond simple backup and restore to make use of their backup databases. Being able to use a secondary database to offload reporting that can often slow performance on a production database is compelling, said Kimberly Floss, database administrator team leader at Quaker Food and Beverage, a division of PepsiCo Inc.

"[Having] multiple purposes helps you cost-justify [your database]," said Floss, in Chicago. "For someone who is looking for this functionality, it would be a key reason to upgrade."

Despite all the improvements to database disaster recovery, Steve Rin said he isnt likely to rush to upgrade from Oracle8i to 9i.

"With the economy the way it is, theres not the resources we had before," said Rin, a database administrator at manufacturer Indian Motorcycle Co., of Gilroy, Calif. "So [real time] is nice to have, and we wish we could have it, but we cant."

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