Oracle Update in the Wings

Database administrators committed to Oracle Corp.'s namesake database gathered last week at the International Oracle User Group conference in Orlando, Fla.

Database administrators committed to Oracle Corp.s namesake database gathered last week at the International Oracle User Group conference in Orlando, Fla., and discussed the impending beta release of the companys next big database upgrade.

Oracle officials declined to comment on the update, which is provisionally known as Oracle10i, although the Redwood Shores, Calif., company said that name has not been selected. But Oracle users said they have seen documentation for the beta and expect the software any day.

Donald Burleson, CEO of Burleson Oracle Consulting, said that a note sent to subscribers of OracleMetaLink, an online support feature for Oracle customers, outlined planned de-support of the RBO (rule-based optimizer) in 10i. The RBO determines the best way to execute complex SQL statements and is in wide use, Burleson said. Many enterprises are slowly migrating off RBO and onto the CBO (cost-based optimizer). Oracle10i will support only CBO, he said.

The note does not say if 10i will continue to support Rule hints, which would enable customers to defer SQL changes and continue to use RBO. If Oracle10i does drop systemwide RBO and Rule hints, customers are in for a load of work, Burleson said. "Companies will have to save their existing SQL execution plans with the Oracle Optimizer plan stability feature," said Burleson, in Raleigh, N.C. "For companies with tens of thousands of SQL statements, this could be a major undertaking."

Other features likely to make it into an upcoming version of the Oracle database will provide much closer integration with the Oracle Collaboration Suite, according to Bill Maguire, CIO of Legato Systems Inc., an Oracle partner.

"Oracle has decided to integrate all their business components into a nice, seamless solution," said Maguire, in Mountain View, Calif. "Theyre trying to build the next-generation platform that makes it so I can lay module after module on there, so I can provide the corporation a total solution."

Other users look for features around Linux clustering and grid computing technologies in 10i.

Data warehousing is likely to be a major target of improvement in 10i, particularly when it comes to metadata—an area sorely in need of innovation, said David Stanford, senior vice president of consulting services at Entigy Group, in Toronto. He said he expects to see enhancements in the databases transformation logic.

"Oracles been putting out considerable effort in consolidating the different areas [addressed with metadata]," Stanford said. "It still isnt there, but I know theyre going to improve that in 10i."