Database Vendors Embrace 64-Bit

Oracle, CA both announce support for AMD's 64-bit architecture in their flagship databases; Microsoft expected to announce support for 64-bit in SQL Server 2000.

Database vendors are all over 64-bit. Oracle Corp. and Computer Associates International Inc. on Tuesday embraced Advanced Micro Devices Inc.s release of its new 64-bit Opteron chip, with each company separately announcing support for the 64-bit architecture in their flagship databases. Meanwhile, Microsoft Corp. on Thursday is expected to announce support for 64-bit in SQL Server 2000, and IBM demonstrated DB2 for Linux running on Opteron at AMDs Tuesday launch of the chip.

Oracle, of Redwood Shores, Calif., announced general availability of its Oracle9i database on Opteron running 32-bit Linux. Company officials said that support for 32-bit Linux and Windows will be available in coming months on Oracle9i Application Server, Oracle Collaboration Suite and Oracle E-Business Suite.

Oracle also announced that it has posted on its Oracle Technology Networka developer release of Oracle9i for 64-bit Linux on Opteron processors.

Opteron can be run on both 32-bit and 64-bit applications on a single platform, thus offering users an easy migration path, officials said. "Opteron gives customers the flexibility to start with a 32-bit stack without changing their investment," said Brom Mahbod, vice president of Oracles Enterprise Platform Division. "When theyre ready with their internal applications, they can then migrate to 64-bit."

"One thing thats unique to Opteron is that customers can get this increased performance just by installing Opteron 64-bit in the background, even running in 32-bit mode," added Adele Evans, senior manager for Oracles Technology Group. "At their own pace they can migrate and take advantage of 64-bit computing. They can run 32-bit, get the performance gain at a good price, and when theyre ready they can migrate."

Oracle officials said that internal testing of the Oracle9i database on Opteron running 32-bit Linux showed a performance gain of 10 to 15 percent compared with 32-bit support on two-processor systems running on chips similar to Intel Corp.s upcoming 3.06GHz Xeon chip.

Separately, CA, of Islandia, N.Y., announced general availability of its Advantage Ingres II relational database management system for the 64-bit Opteron processor.

Officials said that the move will quench customers thirst for more memory. "Now that AMD and Intel are getting into producing desktop PCs with 64-bit chips in them, we see a lot more interest, primarily because the cost of memory is very low," said Emma McGrattan, divisional vice president of Ingres II.

Whereas Ingres previously has been limited to accessing 2 gigabytes of RAM, the database will now be able to chew on hundreds of gigabytes in cache. Indeed, CAs internal tests have shown performance enhancements of as much as a factor of 10, officials said. That will be a boon to enterprises that need to process huge volumes of data rapidly, as is the case with companies running business intelligence, customer relationship management and financial transaction operations, officials said.