Oracle Releases NoSQL Database Linked to 2012 Big Data Appliance Launch

Oracle is moving fast after its Oracle Open World announcement, releasing its NoSQL Database software and promising the Big Data Appliance in early 2012.

Oracle released its own NoSQL database and said the planned Big Data Appliance was poised to launch in the first quarter of 2012.

The Oracle NoSQL database is available for download on the Oracle Technology Network, Oracle said Oct. 24. The new database software will also be a key component of the Oracle Big Data Appliance, which will be shipped in the first three months of 2012, Oracle said.

The Oracle NoSQL Database is based in part on the open-source BerkeleyDB database, which Oracle gained through its Sleepycat Software acquisition in 2006. Oracle NoSQL includes a new programming interface and support for partitioning for highly distributed processing. Oracle said its new NoSQL database will be easier to install, configure and manage than competitive offerings.

"As customers look to manage the huge explosion in data from new and evolving sources, such as the Web, sensors, social networks and mobile applications, Oracle is helping them unlock the value of this data by providing a highly available, reliable and scalable NoSQL database environment," said Andrew Mendelsohn, senior vice president of Oracle.

Both a free community version of the database and a commercial version with additional features will be available. Full enterprise support will be offered only for the paid versions, Oracle said.

Less than a month after announcing the Oracle NoSQL database and Big Data Appliance at Oracle Open World in San Francisco, Oracle has moved aggressively to push forward its large-scale data processing platform. The database giant is investing in NoSQL databases because of their scalability and flexibility.

"Oracle NoSQL database is a key component of Oracle's big data strategy," said Mendelsohn.

The Oracle NoSQL database would allow customers to manage large amounts of data with dynamic schemas such as Web log data, sensors and smart meters, the company said. Oracle's Big Data Appliance is expected to include both the NoSQL database as well as an Oracle distribution of Apache Hadoop. Oracle will also bundle in Oracle Linux and the Oracle Java HotSpot Virtual Machine, and it will license a new Oracle Data Integrator that will tap into Hadoop.

Large-scale e-commerce companies and social networking providers rely heavily on NoSQL products to support applications that deal with dynamic changes in large amounts of data. Facebook runs open-source Cassandra, a transactional NoSQL database that can handle frequent schema changes and allows the developers to add new attributes and features to profiles and social network interactions rapidly. Cassandra and other products are also designed to scale out on commodity hardware.

NoSQL allows organizations to easily add and exploit new data attributes within the database schema as needed, unlike conventional relational databases, such as Oracle's flagship database, IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server and MySQL, that have to be revised to accommodate each new type of data.

"NoSQL in general deserves a place in Oracle shops, so it makes sense for Oracle to try to co-opt it," wrote Curt Monash, an analyst with Monash Research. A NoSQL database would be a good addition for large organizations that are already using Oracle databases, especially in cases where relational databases aren't the best option, such as tracking Web interactions, according to Monash.

NoSQL would also play a large role in splitting out essential systems from nonessential data collection, Monash said. "If a better architecture is to dump the clicks into some NoSQL store, massage the information and eventually put some derived data into a relational DBMS, then Oracle will naturally try to own each step of the data pipeline," Monash said.

Open-source vendors aren't the only ones embracing the new ways to process large amounts of data. Oracle's rivals have big data plans of their own, as Microsoft on Oct. 12 announced plans to release software based on the open-source Apache Hadoop. IBM and EMC released their own Hadoop-based applications earlier this year.