Oracle debuts 10g release 2

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Oracle unveiled release 2 of its 10g database at OracleWorld in San Francisco yesterday, adding higher levels of availability, manageability, performance and security to the database it claims is unbreakable.

Andy Mendelsohn, senior VP of product development at Oracle, says the 10g release 2 will be available by mid-2005. He expects 85% of Oracle`s current 10g customer base to adopt the new version maintenance release, with the balance remaining on release 1.

"This is because the new release has a couple of really interesting features our 10g customers have been asking for," Mendelsohn explained at a press conference yesterday.

Storage enhancements

Oracle`s Advanced Storage Manager, which allays the need for third-party tools to manage SAN and NAS devices and was introduced with release 1, will be enhanced to include storage virtualisation functionality.

"We also allowed customers access to a flash recovery area on their pooled storage resources when we brought 10g release 1 to market, essentially allowing for automated backups of database information to disk. In release 2 we will increase this functionality to disk and tape, making third-party tools unnecessary," said Mendelsohn.

"Adding additional reliability to 10g, we are also adding automated failover functionality to Dataguard, allowing customers to host an exact replica of their database off-site and have the solution automatically switch to this copy if an error is detected on a remote primary site."

Oracle says customers will benefit from more secure database information with release 2.

"Release 2 will see the arrival of transparent data encryption, allowing for encryption to take place at the database level on critical and confidential information, independent of the application residing above the database.

"Before, with release 1, changes needed to be effected in specific applications for this functionality to exist. Now, the application can be oblivious to the encryption at database level, allaying the need for customised changes and reducing the time to implement high levels of security," Mendelsohn said.

The last area in the storage space addresses migration and interoperability, allowing entire databases to be moved from one platform to another, for example from Windows to Linux, as opposed to only being able to move portions of the database on release 1.

Cluster view

The enhancements with release 2 also reach into the server part of infrastructure.

Mendelsohn explains: "Because clusters are built and not bought out of the box by default, customers need a high level of expertise to ensure things work the first time. With release 1 of 10g, customers would only know whether a mistake was made in the initial cluster configuration once they began rolling the software down to the infrastructure level. If an error were detected, the user would have to go back and try to reconfigure the cluster correctly, wasting time and effort.

"Release 2 benefits from CView, a tool which allows customers to inspect a just-built cluster to ensure it passes the relevant requirements, and not waste precious time and effort installing and configuring software on incorrectly configured clusters."

In terms of cluster reliability and size, Oracle will allow for software mirroring of information and the accommodation of 100 nodes instead of the 64 nodes release 1 supported.

"Rounding out the major additions to 10g, Oracle has also improved management capabilities. We are doing some serious work around making 10g more self-managed."

Mendelsohn said the features of the new release answer many questions customers have raised about the viability of moving to grid computing.

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