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September 03, 2009

What's new in Oracle's 11g release?

As probably most of you are already aware, Oracle have just released the second version of Oracle 11g ( known as 11gR2 in Oracle circles) for Linux. Solaris and Windows versions will follow later this year. This is no surprise for me as I was informed about this event almost one year ago in the Oracle Partner Network newsletter.

It is great news for all administrators who complained that Oracle took a step backwards when it released 11gR1, citing that the previous version (Oracle 10gR2) had better stability and faster performance in some functionality as explained here.

Right now, administrators can start testing the new release and the initial signs are good, with almost all informed sources claiming that the new version is faster than the previous one. Besides that, Oracle 11g R2 has some key new functionality which catches my eye:

  • Intelligent data placement is a feature for Automatic Storage Management. It enables placing the most used data in disks' outer rings which have greater speed and higher bandwidth. Additionally, files with similar access patterns are located close together. Both these mechanisms increase the speed of data reads and writes.

  • Advanced data partitioning capabilities for easier management of large data sets and a mechanism for compressing data as much as possible (even 4x) helping to reduce storage costs.

  • Completely new database option called Oracle RAC One Node which is a one-node version of Real Application Cluster. As we can read in the documentation it makes “database highly available in the presence of computer hardware failures, software failures, or planned software maintenance events.". Importantly, pricing for Oracle RAC One Node has yet to be finalized.

Forrester Research analyst James Kobielus, quoted here, that the features in Oracle 11gR2 are "at the heart of what customers need". I want to believe this, but I am always slightly skeptical about how the marketed features perform in practice. My suspicions are always raised when I read posts such as in Tanel Poder's blog where he finds a feature described in the documentation, but was unable to get to function correctly.

In the near future I will test Oracle 11gR2 myself and update you with my findings. Until then, if you have already run some tests of your own, please share them.

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