Oracle unveils database to rival SAP HANA

By Anne Widjaja

Last week, Oracle announced the latest release of its application in-tier in-memory database, Oracle TimesTen In-Memory Database.

Like SAP HANA, Oracle TimesTen In-Memory Database is a full-featured in-memory database, designed to run in the application tier to provide users with rapid transaction response time and high throughput for mission-critical applications.

According to Oracle, the new Release 2 supports more concurrent users, higher volumes of requests and more sessions.

The latest release delivers performance and scalability improvements for real-time online transaction processing (OLTP) applications, and also supports analytic applications with ‘adaptive’ caching capabilities. Oracle claims TimesTen is the only in-memory database capable of handling both OLTP and analytic applications, without being constrained by the amount of physical memory available.

According to Oracle, the database overcomes this constraint by moving data to the large RAM capacity available in its hardware.

Working in conjunction with the Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition (OBIEE), the TimesTen adaptive cache is also capable of monitoring analytic workloads generated by different dashboards and queries.

Doug Henschen reported on InformationWeek.com that the adaptive nature of these capabilities means that “they continually optimise as query and dashboarding demands change, relying on Exalytics in-memory speeds”.

TimesTen also provides customers with in-memory columnar compression capabilities. According to Henschen, this means that the entire data store is equivalent to about five terabytes of addressable storage, and can be scanned by users in roughly five seconds.

The Oracle TimesTen In-memory database is also a key component of Oracle’s Exalytics In-Memory Machine. Both products function together to provide users with in-memory analytics, and are in direct competition with SAP HANA. Oracle revealed its pricing for Exalytics last week, which has led commentators to believe that a release date for the product is not far away.

Consequently, the competition between Oracle and SAP is becoming more intense as both companies race to dominate the in-memory application marketplace.

Since SAP HANA’s release in June last year, SAP has fast become a threat to Oracle’s market share. SAP HANA has always been promoted to the 15,000 users of Business Warehouse as a replacement for Oracle databases. Henschen highlighted in his article that approximately 60 per cent of SAP’s applications and Business Warehouse customers were believed to be running on Oracle databases.

SAP therefore remains the largest provider of third-party apps running on Oracle databases, which means that the losses that Oracle may suffer as a result of users switching to SAP HANA could be quite damaging.

But Oracle is now fighting back – the newest release of TimesTen only marks the beginning of Oracle’s development of other related TimesTen applications. TimesTen is already currently shipping with Oracle Communications Billing and Revenue Management.

“This is just the beginning of having TimesTen used by Oracle apps,” Marie-Anne Neimat, vice president, development for Oracle’s Embedded Databases told InformationWeek.com.

“We’re working with other application groups within Oracle, so there is more to come.”

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