Oracle Database 11g to Get Boost from Real Application Testing

Oracle Database 11g could get a bounce from Oracle Database 10g and Oracle Database 9i support for Real Application Testing. Real Application Testing is an option in the enterprise edition of Oracle Database 11g.

Oracle has extended support for its Real Application Testing technology to earlier database systems in a move partly intended to speed upgrades to Oracle Database 11g.

Real Application Testing is an option in the enterprise edition of 11g that combines a workload capture and replay feature with a SQL Performance Analyzer to help organizations test and fine-tune changes against real-life workloads. The idea is to enable organizations to reduce the cost and risk associated with making system changes.

In backporting the capability to the Oracle 10g and 9i Release 2 databases, Oracle is expecting the option to help ease the upgrade process for customers looking to migrate to 11g, said Willie Hardie, vice president of database marketing at Oracle.

"You can't just go taking your hundreds, your thousands of users off your production systems and have them sit on your test systems for 3 or 4 hours to get that rigorous testing ... a lot of organizations have developed their own in-house testing scripts to try and simulate, where best you can, production workloads and that's had limited success," Hardie said.

There have been mixed opinions about how fast organizations have been upgrading to 11g. The Pythian Group, a global provider of remote database administration, reported this spring that uptake of Oracle 11g among Pythian customers has been very slow. While Oracle has been hesitant to release any specific numbers related to 11g adoption, the company has consistently said many customers are indeed upgrading. Oracle also reported a 24 percent growth in new licenses for database and middleware in fiscal year 2008. The company does not separate out middleware and database licenses in its earning reports.

In any case, Oracle remains atop of the market for relational database management systems, gobbling some 44 percent of market revenues in 2007, according to recent figures from analyst firm IDC. For those organizations that are looking to upgrade to 11g, Real Application Testing may speed the upgrade process by making it easier to test changes.

The technology works by recording a workload from a production system and replaying it with all of its original characteristics to see that any changes work properly. The software also identifies degraded SQL statements and advises on how to fix them.

"What you have with Real Application Testing is a workload capture that captures the exact timing, concurrency and transaction dependencies in your product environments," explained Moe Fardoost, director of product marketing at Oracle. "The normal [third-party] solution out there is just getting 5 percent. You're testing 5 percent, you're hoping you're going to get all the errors and often you find that you did not."