Oracle Database 11g Release 2 Hits the Street

Oracle made 11g Release 2 generally available today for Linux. The new version of the database includes a number of enhancements to boost performance, especially involving Oracle RAC.

Oracle pulled the covers off Oracle Database 11g Release 2 today, bringing a host of new features around performance and management.

A year ago, just what would be included in 11g Release 2 was the subject of intense speculation at the Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco. Now, roughly a month before the 2009 conference is set to begin, Oracle is addressing that speculation with the delivery of several new features. Chief among them are enhancements to Oracle's Real Application Clusters ( RAC) technology.

In Release 2, Oracle RAC delivers new server pooling capabilities that enable organizations to reduce their server costs by streamlining the provisioning and management of consolidated database grids.

"We made it much easier to configure the grid environment," said Marc Townsend, vice president of database product management at Oracle. "We have a plug-and-play capability that allows the clusters to be set up more easily."

Release 2 also features Oracle RACOne Node, a new database option that enables users to consolidate their less mission-critical database environments on the grid with all of the redundancy and availability provided by Oracle Real Application Clusters.

"This allows a single instance database, a database that runs on one machine in the cluster, to be set up with RAC," Townsend said.

The capability means that if administrators want to perform maintenance on hardware or the software itself, they can temporarily start another instance of that database and migrate users back and forth, he said.

Oracle also enhanced its Automatic Storage Management technology to add new cluster file system capabilities and added a new in-parallel query feature that boosts performance by allowing users to execute a query against data stored in memory across all servers in the grid.

"If you have a table that's on disk and you have a number of different nodes in your cluster, then there's quite a bit of memory accrued across that cluster...if you have compression around your data, maybe you're getting a five to one or 10 to one compression ratio, you can load half a terabyte to a terabyte of data into that memory," Townsend said.

The initial release supports Linux, with support for other platforms forthcoming.

"As organizations face exponential information growth and complexity throughout the data center, they are seeking to minimize IT costs and increase administrative efficiencies," said Carl Olofson, an analyst with IDC, in a statement. "Oracle Database 11g Release 2 features enhancements to grid computing, storage management and administration capabilities that are designed to help users achieve greater resource utilization of their information management systems while making the related system infrastructure and storage easier to manage and more affordable."